Pirates rip Huskies 46-16
Mike Mahlen's Verndale Pirates used a no-nonsense, smash-mouth brand of football to crush Isle 46-16 Saturday night at Mahlen Field and vault back into the Section 4 finals.
The state-ranked Pirates improved to 10-0 and earned a rematch with Pheasant North rival Bertha-Hewitt in Friday's Section 4, Class Nine-man championship game at the Fargodome.
Amos Schmidt and the Pirates had Isle fans cringing by the time halftime arrived Saturday night. Schmidt scored four of his five touchdowns in first half and clocked the Huskies right on Verndale's first play of the game with a 55-yard run for six.
"We got the blocks at the line of scrimmage on those runs," Mahlen said. "Amos got through there and took it to the house five times."
The Huskies answered back with Chris Blood making a sensational over-the-shoulder grab of a Wesley Oswald fly pass for a 46-yard touchdown connection. Blood's catch was the eighth passing touchdown the Green Machine has given up this season. It was also the spark that ignited a stretch of five unanswered touchdowns by the Pirates.
"It was a perfect pass but we had two guys there," Mahlen said. "I thought we should have tried to make a play on the ball but there wasn't much to do about it."
Schmidt scored on runs of 31, 75 and 78 yards and Zack Meidinger scored on a five yard carry as the Pirates built a commanding 38-8 halftime lead. Schmidt returned to the end zone in the third quarter on a 31-yard scamper that added more luster to a game that saw the Verndale senior logging 296 yards on 21 carries. His five touchdowns pushed his scoring production to 21 touchdowns in the last five games and to 30 for the season.
The Pirates threw the ball just once, an eight-yard hookup between Colby and Amos Schmidt.
The Huskies went to the air 23 times and completed 10 passes for 107 yards but Oswald was picked off twice. Coming up with the inerceptions were Justin Kern and Dustin Motschenbacher.
Cody Yungbauer gained 68 yards on six carries and led a balanced Verndale defensive effort with seven tackles. Colby Schmidt made six stops while Clay Cotrell, Jon Kohlhase, Dan Kneisl, Matt Willis and Colton Moyer all made five.
Zack Meidinger had 44 yards on eight rushing attempts.
The Section 4 championship game will be between two teams that know each other very well. Bertha-Hewitt's only loss this season was a 32-8 setback Sept. 25 to Verndale.
"They are a pretty solid club all the way through," Mahlen said in sizing up Bertha-Hewitt. "The only game they was to us and they played us pretty tough defensively. Their quarterback, Jared Hoemberg, can throw the ball pretty well and run it pretty well so you have to contain him."
The winner of Friday's section title game will travel to Morris for a game with the Section 3 winner at Big Cat Stadium on the University of Minnesota-Morris campus.
Verndale 46, Isle 16
Isle 8 0 0 8 -- 16
Verndale 24 14 8 0 -- 46
Vern: Amos Schmidt 55 yd run (PAT Schmidt run), Schmidt 31 yd run (PAT Schmidt run), Schmidt 75 yd run (PAT Schmidt run), Schmidt 78 yd run (PAT Schmidt run), Zack Meidinger 5 yd run (PAT failed), Schmidt 10 yd run (PAT Colby Schmidt run)
Isle: Chris Blood 46 yd pass from Wesley Oswald (PAT Neil Karg from Oswald), Cole Oswald 5 yd run (Dillion Whitney run)
First Downs 8 11
Yards Rushing 107 456
Yards Passing 123 8
Total Yards 230 464
Passes 10-23 1-1
Intercepted by 0 2
Penalties 0 1-10