Vina tames Cougars 24-13, earn region's last playoff spot

By Staff
Scot Beard
VINA – The celebration on the field was subdued, but loud cheers could be heard from the Vina locker room following the Red Devils' 24-13 victory against Waterloo to clinch the school's first playoff berth since the 1998 season.
Vina trailed twice during the game, but rallied to pull away in the second half to secure the win.
The last time the Red Devils were in the post season, this year's seniors were in the first grade.
"The group that's been here so long knew what they had to do (to reach the playoffs)," said Vina coach Bill Smith. "I've been wanting it for a long time for them."
Vina got off to a quick start.
The Red Devils scored on the first play of the game when quarterback Morgan McCarley scrambled for a 63-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion failed, leaving Vina with a 6-0 lead.
Waterloo answered with an eight play, 63-yard drive capped off with a 9-yard touchdown pass. The Cougars got the extra point to take a 7-6 lead.
Vina turned the ball over on the first play of its next possession, but Waterloo could not take advantage and had to punt back to the Red Devils.
Brent Townsend ended a five-play drive with a 34-yard touchdown run to regain the lead for the Red Devils. The 2-point conversion failed again, but Vina had a 12-7 advantage.
Waterloo added a touchdown early in the second quarter to go ahead 13-12, but Vina answered with a 24-yard touchdown run by McCarley to take an 18-12 lead into halftime.
Townsend extended the lead for the Red Devils with an 8-yard touchdown run with 3:56 remaining in the game to push the score to 24-13.
"I was thinking 'I've got to score,'" Townsend said. "There was some good blocking on that play."
McCarley intercepted a pass on the ensuing Waterloo possession and returned it for a touchdown, but a roughing the passer call against Vina negated the score. Waterloo drove to the Red Devil 8-yard line to set up first-and-goal, but a sack by Ethan McInnis pushed the Cougars back the 15-yard line.
Waterloo could not score and Vina was able to run out the rest of the clock to secure the win and the playoff berth.
"It feels pretty good," Townsend said. "It's a pretty big honor."
Vina finished the game with 275 yards of total offense – all from rushing plays. McCarley led the Red Devils with 175 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. Townsend had 10 carries for 70 yards and a pair of scored while Ethan Hammock had 35 yards on six carries.
Now that the Red Devils are in the playoffs, Smith wants his team to work hard during the remaining regular season games to prepare for the post season.
The Red Devils will get another shot at Waterloo Friday before returning home the final two weeks of the season to play Tharptown and Hubbertville. Vina has already defeated Tharptown once this year.
The game at Waterloo will begin at 7 p.m.