Bradley Lutkenhaus

Muenster junior Bradley Lutkenhaus returns a kick in the Hornets' regional semifinal against Albany.

SPRINGTOWN – Someone’s undefeated season had to end Friday afternoon, and a rough first half led to Muenster coming up short.

The Hornets fell 34-21 to Albany in the regional semifinals at Springtown High School after not scoring until the third quarter.

No. 2 Muenster (12-1) fell short of the regional finals for the first time since 2016.

No. 4 Albany (12-0) is back in the regional finals after last reaching the fourth round in 2018.

Muenster coach Brady Carney said the second quarter killed the Hornets’ chances, but he is proud of how they fought in the second half.

“We came out and I thought we just played really hard,” Carney said. “To be down 28-0, every one of them could have quit, and it could have easily been 50-0, but we continued to fight. I thought we did an outstanding job in the second half.”

Albany dominated the line of scrimmage. The Lions suffocated the Hornets’ rushing offense, while Albany had little problem running the ball. The Lions scored three rushing touchdowns in the first half.

Carney said he knew from watching film the Lions are talented on the offensive and defensive lines.

“They’re big and they’re strong, and they’ve got some good athletes,” Carney said. “I knew we were going to have our hands full up front, but we (had) to try to get (Colton) Deckard involved as much as we could, and of course, they were keying on him, as they should… They really controlled the line of scrimmage early. We couldn’t run the ball at all.”

After trailing 28-0 at halftime, Muenster outscored the Lions 21-7 in the second half. Junior quarterback Devon Bindel ended the shutout with 4:10 to play in the third quarter with a two-yard run. Albany responded midway through the fourth quarter with a 15-yard touchdown pass from junior Cole Chapman to sophomore Cooper Fairchild.

Muenster sophomore Seth Stoffels found senior Grant Hess in the end zone twice afterward to make the score more respectable, but the Hornets ran out of time to complete the comeback.

Carney said Stoffels, who took over at quarterback just before halftime, did a great job leading the offense in the second half.

“We knew we were going to have to throw it some, because they were controlling the line of scrimmage,” Carney said. “We knew we had air it out a little bit. I thought he came in and did a really good job. We ran a couple of trick plays we work on. We hadn’t ran them because we hadn’t had to. I thought we executed those well. I thought Seth did a really good job.”

Muenster will bring back several key players next year but also says goodbye to 10 seniors. Carney said those seniors meant a ton to the program.

“Just because of their leadership, and plus, they’ve just become pretty good football players,” Carney said. “In junior high, they’d win three or four games here and there, and that would be about it. They’d work, and they’d get that extra three to four weeks each year because we play a little bit longer, and then they turn out to be great football players and great leaders… I love those guys to death.”

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