CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KCAU) — Woodbury Central football entered its first State title game since 1980 on Thursday afternoon with hopes of securing the program’s first State crown in 43 years, but the #1 seed Wildcats would come up just short of a game-winning field goal as time expired, falling to #3 seed West Hancock 30-28 in the Class A State championship game.

Woodbury Central struck first with a 3-yard touchdown from Zack Butler to give the Wildcats the 7-0 lead. Eagles responded on the other end as Mitchell Smith beat the defense to the end zone with a 25-yard TD. Two-point try was no good though, keeping WC up 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.

The Wildcats then continued driving down the field. Drew Kluender found Eric McGill for the score giving McGill his 12th receiving TD of the season and a 14-6 Woodbury Central edge.

After a West Hancock score trimmed the lead to 14-12, Wildcats went back to Butler who’d drive it in for the 1-yard TD putting the Wildcats ahead 21-12 into halftime.

Out of the break, Eagles capped off a 72-yard drive with a balancing act 22-yard TD from Kellen Smith. They’d fail the two-point try as the Wildcats clung to a 21-18 lead. Later in the third quarter we saw a big response from Woodbury Central as Butler secured his 3rd TD of the game giving WC a 28-18 lead into the fourth quarter.

West Hancock wouldn’t go away. Kale Zuehl barreled in for the goal line TD, shaving the Wildcat edge back to 28-24 with under 12 minutes remaining.

An ensuing interception from the Eagles would set up West Hancock for an 8 yard TD pass from Smith to Brady Bixel. Eagles took its first lead of the game, going up 30-28 with 37 seconds remaining.

Woodbury Central picked up some yardage as time ticked down setting up a 48-yard field goal attempt from Jayden Lloyd, but the kick would come up short, finalizing the 30-28 West Hancock win. Nevertheless, a lot to be said for the Wildcat team who made it back to its first title game in over 4 decades.

“It hits huge,” Woodbury Central senior WR/DB Eric McGill said. “The community obviously shows it too. I’ve never seen that many people in one spot as myself and to be able to play in front of it and be able to bring that to the community is a huge thing for this team and hopefully it continues.”

“It’s awesome. When you’re out there playing the game you love with the guys you love, you can’t beat it. That’s what that was today,” Woodbury Central senior QB/DB Drew Kluender said.

Woodbury Central ends an incredible year as the Class A State Runners up. This was the fourteenth playoff appearance for both teams while each end the year at 12-1 overall.