ALBIA — The second-ranked (Class 2A) Albia football team used an incredible defensive effort to defeat Mediapolis 7-0 in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A playoffs.
In what was the ultimate example of a bend-but-don't break defense, the Blue Demons weathered a reinvigorated Mediapolis passing attack, to outlast a tough Bulldog team in the second half.
Albia came out strong at the start of the game on both sides of the ball. Alex Schultz, partly thanks to some excellent blocking by Albia, was able to ram his way up the middle for solid gains out of the backfield in the first quarter. Schultz eventually broke loose for a 20-yard run that landed the Blue Demons on Mediapolis' 28-yard line. Albia continued to march down the field on what up to that point had been an impressive drive. The Blue Demons had advanced all the way to the Bulldogs' 5-yard line when Mediapolis' defense bore down and stopped Albia from scoring on three-straight plays. The once promising drive ended in disappointment when Justin Bossard missed a 25-yard field goal.
Undeterred by the offensive set back, the Blue Demons' defense remained rock-solid. On the Bulldogs' next offensive series, linebacker Carter Isley sacked Mediapolis quarterback for a big loss. In the waning moments of the first quarter Albia fullback Griffin Osing bulled his way forward for an 18-yard gain to the Bulldogs' 3-yard line. Then, in the first play of the second quarter, Schultz rushed for a 3-yard touchdown to give Albia a 7-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Blue Demon defense continued to shut down the Bulldogs' offense. This time it was linebacker Hugh Sinclair who came through with a big sack. Moments later, Shadow Leshen delivered a ferocious hit to a Bulldog receiver on a screen pass for a 4-yard loss.