Ryan Burke intercepted a Pierce pass on Decorah’s next possession, but the Sabers couldn’t capitalize with points, leading to a 21-7 halftime lead.
After the Decorah opened up the passing game in the first half, it went back to the run in the second half. Jacob Leeps added touchdown runs of 62 and 2 yards to pull away to the 34-7 victory.
DeWitt ended the regular season with a loss to Marion last Friday, but Miller said he saw improvements from last week.
“One of our big emphasis coming in was playing with more enthusiasm and more aggressiveness from last week, and that definitely was better than the Marion game,” he said. “We played toe-to-toe with them for a while, but they’re a good team that takes advantage when you don’t do things correctly.”
The Sabers did turn the ball over three times, with two interceptions and one fumble.
“They were a very physical team,” Decorah coach Bill Post said. “They come off the ball well, their backs run hard and I can see why they cause problems for people.”
The Sabers started the season by winning two of their first three games but were forced to forfeit both wins for using a player more than four quarters in a night. Central DeWitt rebounded to earn the fourth seed in District 6, earning its second consecutive playoff berth.
“We have an adage, you’re either getting worse or getting better,” second-year coach Miller said. “The two groups we’ve had here have definitely done that. I couldn’t be more proud, even though we end on a sour note. We have good football players, but they’re also great people. Our program is resilient and I’m confident we’ll be back.”
With the win, Decorah moves onto the quarterfinals. It will host Maquoketa at 7 Monday night. As was the game against the Sabers, that, too, will be a rematch from last year’s playoffs.