COLUMBUS — The Fall River Pirates are sailing into uncharted waters.
Behind a three-touchdown performance by junior quarterback Luke Figol, the Fall River football program earned its first-ever berth in the WIAA state quarterfinals on Friday night, holding on to defeat Oshkosh Lourdes, 28-25.
Figol scored on runs of 1 and 12 yards and connected with Parker Morton for a 5-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter as he led the Pirates (10-1) to a 28-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
But that’s when the Knights made things interesting.
Quarterback Trevor Bengson connected with Doug Ryan twice in a span of four minutes for touchdown passes of 5 and 16 yards, allowing Lourdes to close to within three points with 1 minute, 42 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing onside kick, Figol — who else? — gathered in the ball, allowing the Pirates to run out the clock as the sideline celebration grew raucous.
“These kids worked their butts off, and this is what they get rewarded with,” Fall River coach Joe Zander said. “It will be a fun preparation, and we are looking forward to it.”
Friday’s second-round game also was a conference rematch between the Knights and Pirates, who claimed a 24-20 victory earlier in the season.
Lourdes got on the scoreboard first Friday, when sophomore kicker Tyler Johnson connected a 26-yard field goal on the Knights’ opening drive.
The Pirates countered when Figol capped a 72-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run. Fall River went up 14-3 in the second quarter when junior Davyn Braker finished an 80-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge. Along with the TD and a two-point conversion run, Braker ended the night with 128 yards on 22 carries.
“Davyn ran the ball really hard tonight,” Zander said. “He did some really nice things for us.”
Lourdes closed the gap to 14-10 when Robert Chartier scored from 3 yards out with 2:10 left in the first half.
Any momentum the Knights may have gained by the late first-half score disappeared when Figol took the Pirates 80 yards to open the third quarter, capping the drive with a 5-yard TD pass to senior Parker Morton.
Figol put the Pirates’ final points on the board when he scored from 1 yard out with 7:14 left.
“Luke is just so smooth,” Zander said. “It showed tonight why he’s offensive player of the year in the (Trailways Small) conference.”
Lourdes (7-4) finished the night outgaining the Pirates 313-250. But the Pirates, thanks to a dominant run game, dominated time of possession by holding the ball for 28 minutes, compared to Lourdes’ 19.
The Pirates will next face undefeated Wild Rose (11-0), the team that handed them their only loss of the season, by a 27-12 score in Week 2.
FALL RIVER 28, OSHKOSH LOURDES 25
Oshkosh Lourdes 3 7 0 15 — 25
Fall River 8 6 6 8 — 28
OL — Tyler Johnsen 26 fg 4:22
FR — Luke Figol 12 run (Figol run) 1:29
FR — Davyn Braker 1 run (run failed) 6:19
LA — Colyar Newton 3 run (Johnsen kick)
FR — Parker Morton 5 pass from Luke Figol (run failed) 2:10
FR — Luke Figol 1 run (Davyn Braker run) 7:14
OL — Doug Ryan 5 pass from Trevor Bengson (Tyler Johnson kick) 5:29
OL — Doug Ryan 5 pass from Trevor Bengson (Tyler Johnson kick) 1:42
First downs — OL 18, FR 20. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — OL 31-110, FR 50-217. Passing yards — OL 203, FR 33. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — OL 21-28-0, FR 4-8-0. Fumbles lost — OL 0-0, FR 0-0. Penalties-yards — OL 7-90, FR 4-25.
Rushing: OL — Colyar Newton 4-52; FR — Davyn Braker 22-128. Passing: OL — Trevor Bengson 21-28-203-2 FR – Luke FIgol 4-8-33-1. Receiving:OL— Doug Ryan 5-60; FR — Parker Morton 2-24, Tanner Liebenthal 2-24.