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Grind, Ground, Gone


Fri, Sep 13th, 2013
Posted in All Sports

By Paul Trende

The Mabel-Canton offense wasn’t ripping off yardage. In their SEC 9-man opener versus Houston, the Cougar philosophy throughout was a grinding ‘three yards and a cloud of dust’ ground game. Forty-seven running plays into the contest, M-C had just a trio of dashes over 10 yards. But Coach Karl Urbaniak’s relentless dedication to the ground game eventually resulted in a big run, at the most opportune time. Hunter Johnson’s last run, his first over 10 yards after 27 carries, wound up being the game-winning score. But the game wasn’t without another nail biter finish; one that involved another last second (9-man) red zone stand.

The Hurricanes struck first. Christian Sires and Mason Drake capped Houston’s first drive with a 25-yard pass play making the score 6-0 visitors. M-C answered back late in the first quarter. Collin O’Bieglo was 4 of 4 passing on a drive (including doing the QB rarity, completing a toss to himself). The last completion was to Donnie Lind from 12 yards away and at the conclusion of the first quarter, the Cougars led 7-6. Late in the second quarter, a Houston muffed punt set up M-C in prime real estate (the H 15). On a nice, quick misdirection pass play O’Bieglo hit Johnson coming out of the backfield for a 4-yard TD strike making it 13-6 M-C. Dylan Lee then immediately answered, returning the ensuing kickoff 88-yards to make the score 13-12 Cougars. That’s where it remained until the 4th quarter.

Early in the stanza, M-C put pressure on Houston. A 15-play 61-yard drive was capped when Johnson found paydirt from 6 yards away. The PAT was converted and M-C led 20-12. Houston answered. After a 4th and 1 conversion near midfield, Christian Sires authored the game’s most hard-nosed run. The 190-pound QB broke numerous tackles, looked, stopped, only to find his way to a 45-yard TD trudge. He added a two-point run and, with 6:05 left, the game was tied at 20. On M-C’s very next play from scrimmage, Johnson took a hand-off up the middle, slowed for some commotion, before heading left. He found daylight, out-sprinted everyone around the corner, and was gone, 72 yards to paydirt, his second TD run in as many carries, the biggest of the game. With 5:44 left, M-C led 26-20.

It was up to the Cougar ‘D’, and Houston wasn’t gonna drop to 0-2 on the season without a fight. After eleven plays, including an M-C pass interference on 4th and 5, and a Sires 1-yard run on 4th and 1, Houston found themselves first and goal at the Cougar nine with a minute and change to go. But the Cougar defense hissed, gnarled its teeth, and swatted Sires away on four consecutive running plays. The last was a 4th and goal scramble from the 11, where a trio of Coug’ defenders led by senior Mac Nelson curtailed the physical Sires. By a final of 26-20, M-C downed Houston in an SEC 9-man war.

Johnson led M-C, carrying the ball 28 times for 147 yards and 3 total TD’s (2 rushing). O’Bieglo managed the game well completing 9 of 13 passes for 72 yards and a pair of scores. Donnie Lind was his favorite target (4 catches, 49 yards, TD). Sires, devoid of 2012 backfield mates Tyler Hoskins (gone for year per a knee injury) and Peter Jergenson, carried a heavy load for the Hurricanes again (13 of 26, 153 yards, TD passing; 18-66, TD rushing). M-C outgained Houston by about 50 yards (about 300 to 250), the discrepancy coming on the ground (150 to 100). The Cougars were poised when it counted, converting 11 of 16 3rd/4th down opportunities. Houston was 5 of 12 in such situations. The ‘Canes also hindered their own cause with a number of dropped passes. M-C evened its overall record at 1-1 (1-0 in the SEC). Houston falls to 0-2 (0-1).

Changes at the Top

After one week of the volleyball season, it’s becoming clear. Things are not what they have been.

The top two teams in the 3-Rivers conference, Sub-Section 1A, and Sub-Section 1AA, for the last few seasons, Wabasha-Kellogg and Caledonia, are not the teams they’ve been in recent years. Caledonia was mortal in a three sets to zero loss to Chatfield. The Warriors held a 6-0 set record versus the Gophers a season ago. Wabasha-Kellogg was also much more mortal in 3-set-to-2 and 3-sets-to-1 wins over Rushford-Peterson and Kingsland. A season ago, the Falcons-North won all nine sets they played against the Trojans and Knights, and each squad lost a lot (Kingsland a bunch of seniors, R-P Amy Todd).

The Warriors and Falcons may rally the wagons. They are in fact volleyball ‘programs.’ But it was only fitting that 8th ranked Fillmore Central (Class A) and 10th ranked Chatfield (Class AA), a pair of squads who could very likely fill those holes, hooked up to start week two of the volleyball season. What wasn’t fitting, or what didn’t follow recent history, was how the match played out. A season ago, the teams played eleven sets against each other. FC won six, Chatfield five. FC held a 2 and 1 match record. In Chatfield, in a non-conference affair, it was three-and-go-home. A lot of that can be squarely put on the 5’11” frame of Falcon senior outside hitter Taylor Case.

Case and her Falcons buzz-sawed through Chatfield in the first set, Taylor hammering down ten kills. Before the Gopher’s knew what hit them, they had lost 25-12. Chatfield regrouped in sets two and three. They held 19-15 and 10-4 leads, only for the same script to play out. FC turned it up in both sets, getting back to even at 19-19 and 13-13 respectively. They then cranked it up even more, finishing set two with a 4-2 run, set three with a 6-2 run, turning 21-all and 19-all ties into 25-23 and 25-21 wins.

Case, naturally, was a big factor with 18 total kills. Senior sidekick Tori Peterson also brought the hammer down often (11 kills), Leah Scheevel was a force in the middle (4 kills, 4 blocks), and Morgan Malley (34 assists, 4 aces) set the table for everyone. The Falcons also got good passing from young defenders Larissa Armstrong (9 digs), Sara Schultz (7 digs), and Tayah Barnes (8 digs). For Chatfield, 5’10” juniors Brook Irish (8 kills) and Maddy Kammer (5 kills, 3 blocks) led the Goph’s offensively. Kirsten Keefe was versatile (5 kills, 9 digs). Gabrielle Salisbury had 17 assists. The typically standout Gopher defense just couldn’t do much to prevent laser after laser from finding the hardwood. FC then downed Lewiston-Altura on Thursday. They are 2-0 in the 3-Rivers, 3-0 overall and tied atop the league with Dover-Eyota. The Gophers (after a win over Cotter) are 2-0, 2-1. They are tied in second place with W-K.

Football

09-06:

•Hayfield (2-0) 0, Fillmore Central (0-1) 7 (FC: Tyson Ristau 12-51 rushing; McKinnen Stone rushing TD; Monty Holm 13 tackles. Total Offense: FC 167, H 105. FC moves to 1-1)

•Chatfield (1-1) 34, Goodhue (1-1) 0 (C: Jake Neis 16-196, 4 TD’s rushing, 2 INT’s defensively; Carter Duxbury rushing TD. Gophers had 367 yards rushing, 4 INT’s on defense. Teams combined for 8 turnovers. Goph’s are 2-1)

•Lanesboro (1-0) 14, #8 in 9-man Spring Grove (1-0) 42 (L: Niko Anderson 22-89, TD rushing; Garret Boggs rushing TD. SG: Caleb Happel 25-192, TD rushing; Matt Schleich 5-136, 2 TDs rushing. Lions scored twice in final 2:00 of 1st half, turning a 16-8 game into a 30-8 game. Burros fall to 1-1, 0-1 in SEC)

•Kingsland (0-2) 14, Southland (0-2) 44 (K: Quinn Larson rushing TD, passing TD to Marcus Plaehn. Rebels led 44-0 before Knights scored. Kingsland falls to 0-3)

Volleyball

09-03:

•Houston 0, #5 in A M-C 3 • 25-19, 25-11, 25-10 (M-C: Lydia Geving 11 kills, 3 aces; Sara Lind 9 kills, 3 blocks; Carly McCabe 27 assists, 5 kills; Belle Sand 13 digs. H: Abbey Loken 9 kills, 11 digs; Alexa Horihan 11 assists, 8 digs; Kelly Jerviss 5 kills; Kyla Olson 10 digs. Win was M-C head coach Lonnie Morken’s 500th. Cougars are 3-0 in SEC, 10-0 overall.)

•Lanesboro 2, Hope Lutheran 3 • 25-18, 17-25, 26-24, 18-25, 9-15 (L: Kaia Hongerholt 12 kills, 12 digs; Regan Howerton 12 digs, 8 blocks; Madison Ming 7 kills; Steph Erickson 33 assists)

•Lewiston-Altura 3, Rushford-Peterson 0 • 21-25, 17-25, 20-25 (R-P: Brianna Koop 5 kills; Savannah Skalet 10 assists; Haley Mueller 9 assists, 2 aces; Kendra Crawford 13 digs)

09-05:

•#8 in A FC 3, L-A 0 • 25-16, 25-9, 25-8 (FC: T. Case 11 kills, 10 digs, 2 aces; Sammi Bakke 7 kills, 2 blocks; M. Malley 20 assists; L. Armstrong 12 digs, 3 aces; L. Scheevel 7 kills)

•#10 in AA Chatfield 3, Cotter 0 • 25-22, 25-14, 25-16 (Chat: K. Keefe 12 kills, 8 digs, 2 aces; A. Duxbury 11 digs)

•Lanesboro 1, Houston 3 • 25-21, 25-16, 19-25, 25-7 (H: A. Loken 11 kills, 11 digs; K. Jerviss 9 kills; A. Horihan 24 assists, 5 aces; Natalie King 5 kills, 3 blocks; K. Olson 13 digs. L: K. Hongerholt 10 kills, 13 digs; S. Erickson 22 assists, 6 aces. Burros fall to 1-3 in SEC/overall but they have more set victories (8) this season than all of last season (7). Houston is 3-1 in SEC, 5-6 overall)

•Kingsland 2, Southland 3 • 25-7, 25-21, 16-25, 16-25, 5-15 (K: Haley Colton 7 kills, 13 digs; Hannah Pruter 19 assists, 6 kills, 6 digs. Knights fall to 0-2, 0-3)

•R-P 0, Dover-Eyota 3 • 21-25, 23-25, 13-25 (R-P: Sierra McNamer 5 kills; H. Mueller 11 assists; K. Crawford 13 digs. Trojans are 0-2 in 3-Rivers, 5-5 overall)

Cross Country

09-05:

•La Crescent ‘Crazy Buffalo’ Invite (Boys Team: 1st Cotter/Hope Lutheran, 2nd La Crescent, 3rd L-A/R-P, 7th (of 7) L/FC. Boys Individual (County top 25 finishers): 2nd Austin O’Hare (LARP), 10th Ryan Ruberg (LARP), 15th Travis Troendle (LFC), 21st Hunter Herber (LARP). Girls Team: 1st D-E, 2nd Lake City, 7th (of 7) LARP, L/FC Incomplete. Girls Individual (County top 25 finishers): 5th Kiera Olson (L/FC), 15th Leah Ruen (L/FC), 24th Bailey O’Hare (LARP). Meet took place at Pine Creek Golf Course. Boys race was shortened to 4800m.)

•Hayfield Invitational (Boys Team: 1st P-E-M, 2nd Rochester-JM, 4th Chatfield, 9th (of 10) Kingsland. Boys Individual (County top 25 finishers): 2nd Christian Bance (Chatfield), 23rd Keagan Clarke (Chatfield). Top Knight: Zach Buchholtz (41st). Girls Team: 1st Rochester JM, 2nd W-E-M, 8th (of 11) Chatfield, Kingsland Incomplete. Girls Individual (County top 25): 6th Karen Gomez (Chatfield), 16th Erica Earley (Kingsland)

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