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Wolverines open postseason with Staples-Motley

The Wadena-Deer Creek football team has momentum on its side when they begin the Section 6AA playoffs on Oct. 24. The Wolverines are coming off a pair of victories which helped them secure the No. 6 seed for the quarterfinals.

They will face a very familiar opponent when they open the postseason against Staples-Motley in Staples at 6 p.m. In fact, one of the Wolverines two wins came against their first round opponent. The Wolverines disposed of Staples-Motley 37-19 in the final regular season home game for Wadena-Deer Creek.

The Wolverines used a strong ground attack to slow down the Cardinals. Matt Goeden rushed for 126 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown. Jake Dykhoff added 34 yards on the ground and two scores. Dykhoff completed four passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

The Wolverines built up a 37-7 lead before Josh Lombard fired two touchdown passes, cutting the gap to 18 in the fourth quarter.

Both teams enter the contest with momentum. The Cardinals pulled off a stunning upset in their final game of the season. They defeated Pillager, 20-12. Pillager secured the No. 1 seed for the playoffs as they had amassed a large lead in the QRF standings.

The Wolverines continued their strong play with a 31-14 victory over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle in their season finale. Dykhoff threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 72 yards and a score. Goeden added 39 yards rushing and one touchdown in the win.

The Wolverines hope their success from the last two regular season games carry over into the postseason. For that success to continue, the Wolverines will need to continue the trend of getting off the field on third down. Staples-Motley converted just one of nine third down attempts, while Long Prairie-Grey Eagle converted two of their 10 attempts. Another key will be their ability to win the turnover battle. The Wolverines forced three turnovers against Staples-Motley and another against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.

The Wolverines are led by Dykhoff at the helm. He passed for 1,050 yards while completing 83 passes on the season. He threw nine touchdowns and was intercepted eight times during the season.

Preston Warren has been the Wolverines go-to receiver. Warren finished the regular season with 33 receptions for 501 yards and four touchdowns. Max Phillips has 23 receptions for 288 yards, while Ryan Anderson has hauled in 10 receptions for 113 yards.

Dykhoff and Goeden have carried the load on the ground. Dykhoff has rushed for 379 yards and seven touchdowns, while Goeden has rushed for 301 yards on two touchdowns.

The Wolverines are the only team in Section 6AA carrying a winning streak into the playoffs. Pillager holds a 6-2 mark and is the only team above .500 in the section. They enter as the favorite and will open with Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.

West Central Area/Ashby maintains a 4-4 mark and holds the No. 2 seed. They will open with Osakis. Morris Area earned the No. 4 seed and will take on Breckenridge in the other quarterfinal. The semifinals are set for Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. at the home site of the highest remaining seed. The Section 6AA Championship game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Fargodome on Nov. 3.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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