STATE CENTER, Iowa — Class 2-A's top-ranked defense proved itself time and time again for Carroll Kuemper, and the offense came through when it had to.
Kuemper ground down West Marshall's vaunted rushing attack and prevented the Trojans' second consecutive trip to the UNI-Dome, winning a war of attrition 22-13 in Friday's state quarterfinal game.
The fourth-ranked Knights limited West Marshall to season lows of 95 rushing yards and 118 total yards in a battle of unbeatens with a spot in the final four on the line.
Meanwhile, Cole Neary threw for 177 yards and a touchdown, and Kuemper's early lead was just enough to keep West Marshall at bay.
The Knights (12-0) stopped the Trojans on a trio of fourth-and-short situations, holding 2-A's top-ranked rushing attack to eight first downs. They also intercepted two passes — their state-leading 24th and 25th picks of the year — and held one of the state's most dangerous running backs in check.
West Marshall junior tailback Duncan Ferch was limited to a season-low 59 yards on 22 carries and was held out of the end zone for the first time all year.
Kuemper receiver Alex Drees pulled down nine receptions for 102 yards with a touchdown, and Neary finished 16 for 24 with one interception. The Knights' 238 yards of total offense was their second-lowest output of the season, but it was enough to get them into the state semifinals.
Kuemper will meet fifth-ranked Spirit Lake (11-1) in a 4:06 p.m. game Nov. 10 at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. The Indians knocked off No. 1-ranked Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 21-17 to reach the Dome for the second year in a row.
Carroll Kuemper .................. 0 15 0 7—22
West Marshall .................. 0 6 7 0—13
CK: Josh Irlbeck 5 run (Riley Bach pass from Kolby Hilgenberg), 9:46.
WM: Duncan Ferch 93 kickoff return (run failed), 9:30.
CK: Alex Drees 8 pass from Cole Neary (Hilgenberg kick), 4:35.
WM: Jake Pszanka 10 run (Gustavo Rodriguez kick), 9:41.
CK: Chase Rupiper 1 run (Hilgenberg kick), 11:46.