FOREST CITY - Clarion-Goldfield's senior offensive leaders - Dominic Brandt and Wyatt Sann - stepped up on the other side of the ball Monday night, leading the Cowboys to a thrilling 44-29 victory over Forest City.
The Cowboys (7-4 overall) will meet Dyersville-Beckman Monday night in the Class 2A quarterfinals. Beckman, who defeated South Winneshiek 41-6 last night, knocked Clarion-Goldfield out of the playoffs last year.
"We are just so excited right now," C-G head coach Paul Hansch said. "We are hoping that the state doesn't move the game (to the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls) because it would be the first home playoff game we have ever hosted."
But, after quarterfinal pairings were released late Monday night, the game will be played in the UNI-Dome.
Monday's win marked just the second postseason win for the Cowboys ever, following up a 43-21 victory over North Fayette last week.
Sann, who ran for 148 yards on 20 carries and scored two touchdowns on the ground, caused a fumble with the Indians (8-3) driving in the fourth quarter and the score in favor of Clarion-Goldfield, 32-29. Sann picked up the loose ball and darted 74 yards to the endzone, providing a small cushion for Hansch and company.
On the very next drive, Brandt, who had 23 carries for 113 yards and two rushing TDs, picked off a Forest City pass and returned it all the way to paydirt for six more points.
"I am still reeling from that final quarter," Hansch said. "My two senior leaders stepped up when I needed them to the most. We actually did it on defense (Monday night). Wyatt and Dominic are such great kids and great players, and I am just so proud of this entire team."
Brandt gave Clarion-Goldfield its first lead of the game in the opening quarter, running in a five-yard score. Jake Haberman added the two-point conversion for the Cowboys.
In the second, after a Forest City touchdown, Brandt caught a nine-yard TD strike with just nine seconds left before halftime and the two hooked up for the conversion to give C-G a 16-13 advantage.
"That touchdown (late in the second quarter) was big," Hansch said. "It gave us a lot of momentum into the break and we came out strong in the third."
Sann had his first touchdown in the third and added another one late in the quarter around an Indian touchdown, giving Clarion-Goldfield a 32-21 lead with just 12 minutes to go.
Forest City, however, answered right back, making it 32-29 midway through the fourth. That's when the Cowboy defense rose up and scored their two touchdowns off turnovers.
"We knew Forest City had improved quite a bit since the first time we played them," said Hansch, whose team claimed a 27-10 victory in Week 4. "We didn't really stop them until the end, and they didn't stop us once outside of two fumbles. It really was a back-and-forth game, and I am just so excited we came out on the right end."
Haberman added 61 yards rushing for Clarion-Goldfield, which had 357 yards of total offense to just 269 by the Indians.
"Forest City is a really good football team, so give them plenty of credit, as well," Hansch said. "I was afraid of an offensive shootout happening, but credit our kids for making the defensive plays when we needed them the most."