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UWRF football: Little consolation for Falcons

UW-River Falls tight end Evan Verhota comes up short of the goal line after catching a pass from quarterback Ben Beckman in the second quarter of the Falcon's season finale against UW-Stevens Point Saturday, Nov. 10, at David Smith Stadium. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
UW-River Falls defensive back Mitch Dienger is off to the races after picking off a pass in front of the Falcon bench and returning it 28 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter of the Falcon's 39-25 loss to UW-Stevens Point Saturday, Nov. 10, at David Smith Stadium. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

Senior Trenton Monson became UW-River Falls' all-time receiving leader and senior Alex Herink tied the school record for most touchdown catches in a season, but the Falcon football team came up short in its bid for a season-ending win with a 39-25 loss to UW-Stevens Point Saturday, Nov. 10, at David Smith Stadium at Ramer Field.

The loss dropped the Falcons into a three-way tie for fifth place with UW-Eau Claire and UW-Platteville in the final WIAC standings at 2-5 each. UW-Stevens Point improved to 3-4 to finish tied with UW-Stout for fourth place.

Monson became UWRF's all-time receiving leader with a 24-yard catch in the first quarter. He finished the day with four catches for 60 yards to give him 2,083 career receiving yards, breaking the mark of 2,030 set by Michael Zweifel in 2007-08.

Herink tied the school record for touchdown catches in a season, shared by Craig Boen in 1995 and Zweifel in 2007, when he hauled in his ninth touchdown late in the fourth quarter to make the final 39-25. A former All-American basketball player at UWRF, Herink was playing his first season of football since his senior year at Hudson High School in 2013.

The Falcons trailed 14-0 at the end of the first quarter before Ben Beckman scored on a 2-yard sneak and Mitch Dienger returned an interception 28-yards for a touchdown. Jacob Lytle's extra point attempt was blocked to keep it a one-point game, but Beckman found Monson for an 18-yard touchdown to put the Falcons on top 19-14.

Following Monson's touchdown, Lytle's extra point attempt was blocked again and the ball fell into the arms of Pointer safety and former Wildcat Sam Shafer, who returned it 98-yards for two points and cut the Falcon lead to 19-16.

Pointer freshman Max Herro's second touchdown pass of the day just before halftime gave Stevens Point the lead for good, 23-19, and Herro threw two more touchdown passes in the second half while UWRF was held scoreless until Beckman threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Herink with 3:04 remaining.

Herink finished with six catches for 137 yards to give him 36 catches for 692 yards on the season, the sixth highest in school history. Monson finished with the third-highest total in a season with 775. Zweifel holds the record of 1,056 set in 2007.

Beckman completed 20 of 46 passes in the loss for 270 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, while Sam Altena of New Richmond was the team's leading rusher with 55 yards on 12 carries.

Max Praschak of Somerset registered a team-high eight tackles, including four solo, to give him a league-high 65 solo tackles on the season. Praschak also blocked an extra point while Dienger came up with UWRF's lone turnover.

Bob Burrows

Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.

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