CEDAR FALLS — The Don Bosco Dons knew exactly what game plan they needed to execute.
Slow down powerful Fremont-Mills running back Seth Malcom.
The Dons contained him early, but Malcom had a monster second half as the No. 6 Knights upset No. 1 Don Bosco 32-30 in the 8-Player semifinals Thursday afternoon at the UNI-Dome.
After prevailing in a rematch of last year's title game, the Spartans will meet Council Bluffs St. Albert on Friday in the UNI-Dome.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Malcom was a force on both sides of the ball as Fremont Mills (8-1) advanced to the state championship football game.
The Dons (9-1), the defending state champions, saw their 22-game winning streak end. Their state semifinal matchup against the Knights on Thursday was the first meeting between the 8-Player powers.
“Our kids fought hard — they really competed and battled until the end,” Don Bosco coach Colby Yoder said. “We just made too many mistakes. We were in the red zone twice to start the second half and didn’t score. That’s tough to overcome against a good football team like Fremont-Mills.”
Seth Malcom, a University of Nebraska recruit, finished with 293 yards rushing on 40 carries and scored four touchdowns. He also was a force on defense. Malcom collected 10 tackles, including 2½ for losses, from his linebacker spot.
“Our coaches asked me early in the game how many times I could carry the ball,” Malcom said with a smile. “I told him I would carry it as much as we needed to get the job done. Our line did a great job and we were hoping to wear them down in the second half. Don Bosco was a great opponent and it was a tough battle just like we expected.”
Don Bosco led 14-12 at the half and squandered a pair of red-zone opportunities where it failed to score in the second half.
The Dons drove inside the Fremont-Mills 1-yard line and had fourth-and-goal on its opening possession of the third quarter. Don Bosco was then flagged for a costly illegal procedure penalty before quarterback Cael Frost was stopped short on fourth down.
Buried deep in its own end of the field, Fremont-Mills called on Seth Malcom and he responded by busting loose on a 74-yard scoring run. That gave the Knights their first lead at 18-14 late in the third quarter.
“That obviously was a huge turning point in the game,” Malcom said. “They drove inside the 1, but we were able to stop them. And then our line gave me some room and I was able to break free on that long run.”
Don Bosco came right back, driving to the Fremont-Mills 14 before a bad snap led to an 11-yard loss. The Dons failed to score again.
Fremont-Mills countered by driving to the Don Bosco 1, but Seth Malcom fumbled and the Dons recovered.
Still only down 18-14, Don Bosco suffered a pair of interceptions as it tried to rally.
Fremont-Mills is 23-10 since 2010 in the playoffs, while Don Bosco is 32-5.
Seth Malcom scored on an 8-yard run to put his team up 24-14 with 6:29 left in the game. The Dons came back with a defensive touchdown by Carson Tenold to pull within 24-22 with 2:16 left, but the Knights came right back to score.
Seth Malcom broke free and ran 50 yards for a score to push his team’s lead to 32-24. Don Bosco countered with a long TD pass from Frost to Ryan Naughton, but Fremont-Mills recovered an onside kick en route to running out the clock.
“Seth Malcom had a heck of a game on both sides of the ball,” F-M coach Jeremy Christiansen said. “We knew we need a great performance against an outstanding Don Bosco team. They were a very good opponent and we were fortunate to come out on top. It was a heck of a football game between two excellent teams.”
Frost, a senior, finished a stellar football career by passing for a pair of scores and running for another. He has led the Dons to state team titles in football, wrestling and baseball during his prep career.
“We have a great group of guys who never stopped competing,” Frost said. “We are always going to fight hard for 48 minutes. It’s tough to go out this way. We have a lot of great memories with this group, but it’s hard right now when you come up short like this.”
Don Bosco took charge early, scoring on its first possession. Frost connected with Naughton in the end zone for a 10-yard TD.
The Knights responded, capping a TD march with a 6-yard scramble by quarterback Jake Malcom to even the game 6-6.
The Dons regained the lead on a nifty 13-yard scamper by Frost before Seth Malcom powered into the end zone from 2 yards out just before the half.
Jake Malcom’s two-point conversion pass fell incomplete for Fremont-Mills and Don Bosco led 14-12 at the break.
Fremont-Mills advances to face No. 2 Remsen St. Mary’s (10-0) in next week’s state championship game. The Hawks outlasted No. 4 Montezuma 108-94 in a marathon semifinal that broke the all-class state record for most points in a game.
Fremont-Mills is seeking its second state title after previously winning it all in 2011.
Don Bosco finished another strong season with another trip to the UNI-Dome.
“I know our kids are disappointed, but I told them to hold their heads up high,” Yoder said. “This group has accomplished a great deal. We played hard for 48 minutes, but just came up a little bit short. I’m really proud of our guys. It’s a pretty impressive group.”
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Fremont-Mills 32, Don Bosco 30
Fremont-Mills 0 12 6 14 — 32
Don Bosco 6 8 0 16 — 30
DB — Ryan Naughton 10 pass from Cael Frost (run failed)
FM — Jake Malcom 6 run (pass failed)
DB — Frost 13 run (Carson Tenold pass from Frost)
FM — Seth Malcom 2 run (pass failed)
FM — Seth Malcom 74 run (run failed)
FM — Seth Malcom 8 run (pass failed)
DB — Carson Tenold 32 fumble return (Frost run)
FM — Seth Malcom 50 run (Seth Malcom run)
DB — Naughton 32 pass from Frost (Dillon Welter pass from Frost)
First downs 18 12
Rushes-yards 53-317 32-87
Passing yards 100 110
Comp-att-int 6-11-0 8-14-2
Punts-avg. 2-42.5 2-40.5
Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-0
Penalties-yards 8-62 5-36
FREMONT-MILLS — Seth Malcom 40-293, Jake Malcom 11-28, Taylor Reed 1-1.
DON BOSCO — Frost 24-62, Carson Tenold 4-23, Cade Tenold 2-18.
FREMONT-MILLS — Jake Malcom 6-11-0, 100 yards.