No. 4 Pirates beat No. 8 Bears
The Bertha-Hewitt Bears found out that playing Verndale's state-ranked Pirates is a lot like shooting eight ball with a pool shark. One mistake and he is liable to run the table on you.
The eighth-ranked Bears saw their unbeaten record take a hit Friday night as they fell to the No. 4-ranked Pirates 32-8. The game was not decided until late in the third quarter when an explosive run by Amos Schmidt gave Verndale the lead for good.
The Pirates jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter as Zack Meidinger went over from the one.
Bertha-Hewitt's defense held the explosive Pirates scoreless in the second quarter and the Bears tied the game at eight on a 26-yard hookup between Jared Hoemberg and Ryan Roller.
"We played very well in that first half, especially defensively," Bertha-Hewitt head coach Rick Harig said. "We went into the halftime saying 'we can play with these guys.'"
The Bears came up with an excellent scoring chance in the third quarter as when Colin Turchin blocked a punt and Bertha-Hewitt took over on Verndale's 30. The Bears drove to the one yard line, but two penalties killed the scoring chance and took Bertha-Hewitt out of field goal range.
Starting a drive on their own 15, the Pirates gave the ball to Amos Schmidt took the handoff on their first play from scrimmage and the senior standout went 85 yards for six.
"We wanted to keep it close and keep it a dogfight to the end," Harig said. "Our goals going into the game [were] not giving up the big runs. When Amos broke that one for 85 yards it kind of popped our balloon."
Colby Schmidt converted on runs of six and 76 yards in the fourth quarter to pad Verndale's lead.
Amos Schmidt picked up 167 yards on 22 carries while Colby Schmidt gained 123 on nine attempts and Meidinger racked up 91 on 18 carries. Andrew Green had 23 yards in just three attempts. The Pirates amassed all of their yardage on the ground and out-gained the Bears 432-185.
Justin Kern and Dan Kneisl led the Pirates in tackles with 10 apiece. Clay Cottrell and Kyle Booth both made nine stops. Amos Schmidt was credited with eight tackles.
Roller caught two passes for 41 yards in the loss. Hoemberg and Jake Braaten both gained 41 yards rushing.
A playoff matchup between Verndale and Bertha-Hewitt could be in the cards and according to Harig, the Bears are now playing for that rematch. The Bertha-Hewitt head coach believes only an "A" game can unseat the defending section champs.
"You have to be at home all the time, especially defensively," Harig said. "They're good. They are coached well and they can hit those gaps."
Verndale 8 0 8 16 - 32
B-H 0 8 0 0 - 8
Verndale: Zach Meidinger 1 yd run (PAT Meidinger run), Amos Schmidt 85 yd run (PAT Meidinger run), Colby Schmidt 6 yd run (PAT C. Schmidt run), Colby Schmidt 76 yd run (PAT Meidinger run)
First Downs 17 8
Yards Rushing 432 114
Yards Passing 0 71
Total Yards 432 185
Passes 0-3 4-11
Intercepted by 0 0
Fumbles lost 1 0
Penalties 3-25 4-40