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Broncos head to semis with overtime win

Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Broncos defensive back Brian Burwell reaches the end zone at the end of a 38-yard interception return with the Nightmares’ Mike Green hanging on for a 13-0 West Central lead in the second quarter Saturday in New London.

NEW LONDON —   Jarrett McAllister’s 22-yard scoring burst in overtime has vaulted the West Central Broncos into the semifinals of the Midwest Premier League playoffs.

The 33-27 conquest of the Midwest Nightmare on Saturday evening at Pederson Field was the Broncos’ fifth consecutive win after a 1-4 start.

The team is on the road on Saturday to play the Minnesota Sting in Woodbury. The other semifinal pits the Brainerd Lumberjacks at the Granite City Renegades.

“We had 569 fans and they helped us win,” said tight end and Broncos’ co-owner Steve Peppin. “I’m so proud of our players, the coaches and staff; to get to the semifinals in the first year is a dream come true.”

The Broncos led 13-7 at half and 27-14 at the end of three quarters. But the Nightmare (4-5), whose home field is in Spring Lake Park, scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie it 27-27.

Broncos linebacker Kyle Weinandt blocked the extra point after the second TD to force sudden death.

On the third possession in overtime, free safety Chaz Powell intercepted Nightmare quarterback Dave Shepard. On the first play, from the Midwest 22, McAllister was sprung by the line blocking of Matt Schirmacher, Peter Christians and Peppin to reach paydirt and end the 3½ hour game.

 A nearly half-hour injury timeout was needed when Nightmare running back Nathan Walters collapsed on the sideline in the second quarter, not long after being laid out by a tackle in front of his own bench.

The Nightmare coaching staff, irate that no penalty was called, claimed an illegal hit, indicating a forearm shiver. New London first-responders were called and he was carefully checked before eventually leaving the football stadium under his own power just before half.

A 46-yard run by Joel Bauman (147 total yards) and a 38-yard TD interception return by Brian Burwell highlighted the Broncos’ first half. The Nightmares’ only score was Mike Green’s two-yard run, a Midwest drive helped along by consecutive unsportsmanlike calls on defensive back Brandon Terry.

Weinandt (11 tackles), Braden Peterson (8 tackles, 2 INTs), Jon Lankenau (8 tackles, sack) and Erick Johnson (6 tackles, 2 sacks) were among the defensive leaders.

Peppin stated the video of the hit by Keon Thomas on Walters was later reviewed with a league official and found to be “legal.”

Broncos 33, Nightmare 27

Nightmare(4-5)  0  13  14  0  6— 33

Broncos (6-4)      0  7   7 13 0 — 27

Bronco scoring

Joel Bauman 46 run (Keon Thomas kick)

Brian Burwell 38 interception return (kick fail)

Ben Sletta 22 run (tarrell McDuffie pass from Sletta)

Jarrett McAllister 1 run (kick fail)

McAllister 22 run

Offensive statistics

Rushing yards: Bauman 147, Tarrell McDuffie 113, McAllister 89, Sletta 49, Tre Scott 33 … Total: 421 … Passing: Steve Peppin 1-1-5-0, Kyle Weinandt 0-1-0-1, Sletta 0-2-0-0 … Receiving: Bauman 1-5

Defensive statistics

Tackles: Kyle Weinandt 11, Bradon Peterson 8, Brian Burwell 3, Jon Lankenau 8, Erck Johnson 6, Chaz Powell 4, Rene Vallejo 8, David Larson 5, Johnny Miller 5, Keon Thomas 6, Brandon Torry 3 … Interceptions: Burwell, Powell, Peterson 2 … Sacks: Weinandt 1, Lankenau 1, Johnson 2

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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