CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — So many times, Logan-Magnolia was so close.
Trailing by seven with momentum on their side, the No. 7 Panthers drove into Hinton territory three times in the second half only to be turned away by the Blackhawk defense.
A broken-play touchdown and an offensive interference penalty eventually sealed unranked Hinton’s 28-21 win Friday in the Class A semifinals in its first trip to the UNI-Dome.
It also ended Lo-Ma’s championship hopes in its first semifinal appearance in 22 years.
“They had all the momentum,” Hinton co-coach Bruce Held said. “They were the better team in the second half. ... We expected nothing less. We knew what we were in for.”
After trailing 21-6 at the half, the Panthers (11-2) were sparked by a 47-yard run by Brady Charbonneau midway through the third quarter. A Caden McDonald touchdown and 2-point run by Paul Hutson a short time later pulled Lo-Ma within 21-14.
The Panthers’ defense made a stop. And late in the third, their offense had a first-and-goal at the Hinton 8.
Then Logan Jurgensmeier forced a McDonald fumble, and Hinton’s Dalton Becker recovered at the 4.
That was the first near-miss by the Panthers. It wasn’t the last.
On the next series, Hutson was stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Hinton 21. He then threw a halfback pass that was intercepted by Jake Hasselquist at the 32 with 3:18 remaining in the game.
Three plays later, Blackhawk quarterback Morgan Wenzel lofted a pass over the head of intended receiver Becker. Teammate Hasselquist jumped, caught the ball and raced 65 yards to score.
“It was on a broken play,” Hasselquist said. “He overthrew Dalton, and I was right there. I caught it and took a run for it.”
The touchdown with 2:19 left seemed to put Hinton, up 28-14, over the top.
The Panthers, however, made a final surge.
Hutson gained 51 yards on a pass from Nick Knudsen one play after the ensuing kickoff. Two plays later, McDonald scored from the 5 to cut Lo-Ma’s deficit to seven with 1:45 left.
Lo-Ma’s McDonald then recovered Hutson’s onside kick at midfield. After a first-down incompletion, the Panthers were hit with an offensive interference penalty that cost them yards and a down.
Jason Vander Kooi knocked away Knudsen’s final pass as Hinton (10-3) celebrated.
Lo-Ma’s comeback and 10-game winning streak were over.
“The kids did a nice job, whenever there were low points during that game, to fight back,” Panthers coach Matt Straight said. “Even after they went up two touchdowns, they showed a little funk in coming back. ... There’s no regrets on the field today.”
Hinton went 68 yards on its opening drive to move in front on a 6-yard run by Becker. His 27-yard scoring reception early in the second quarter made it 13-0.
Lo-Ma answered with a 70-yard drive, capped by a Hutson touchdown, for its first score. But Hasselquist got behind the Panther defense for a 35-yard TD late in the second quarter to make it 21-6 at the break.
The big pass plays, three of which went for scores, were ultimately Lo-Ma’s undoing. The Panthers saw their season end, even though their wishbone attack piled up 344 rushing yards.
“There were a lot of opportunities for us,” Straight said. “They made those plays. We didn’t.”
Hinton (10-3) ................. 7 14 0 7—28
Logan-Magnolia (11-2) ................. 0 7 8 7—21
H: Dalton Becker 6 run (Mathias Gross-Holtick kick)
H: Becker 27 pass from Morgan Wenzel (kick blocked)
LM: Paul Hutson 4 run (kick failed)
H: Jake Hasselquist 35 pass from Wenzel (Wenzel run)
LM: Caden McDonald 3 run (Hutson run)
H: Hasselquist 65 pass from Wenzel (Gross-Holtick kick)
LM: McDonald 5 run (Brady Charbonneau kick)
RUSHING: H, Wenzel 13-75, Becker 11-70, Poss 5-16, Johnston 4-20, Team 2-minus-2. LM, McDonald 30-139, Hutson 24-142, Charbonneau 5-64, Knudsen 4-minus 1.
PASSING: H, Wenzel 12-21-0 246. LM, Knudsen 4-11-0 111, Hutson 0-1-1 0.
RECEIVING: H, Hasselquist 6-160, Becker 3-35, Vander Kooi 2-34, Poss 1-17. LM, Hutson 2-65, Wills 1-25, McDonald 1-21.