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State-ranked Verndale downs Brandon-Evansville 38-20

Photo by Brian Hansel Verndale's Clay Cottrell (54) and Dan Kneisl (72) peel off to provide blocking as teammate Colby Schmidt (20) sprints down the sidelines with an interception. Schmidt waltzed into the end zone unchecked to complete a 30-yard scoring return.

The state-ranked Verndale Pirates engaged in a little sparring before body slamming the Brandon-Evansville Chargers 38-20 last Friday in the season opener for both clubs.

After stopping the Pirates on their game-opening drive, the Chargers showed some moxie in driving to Verndale's 24 on their first possession before running out of downs.

The Pirates proceeded to score five first half touchdowns with Zack Meidinger breaking off touchdown runs of 74 and 83 yards and catching a 28-yard scoring pass from Colby Schmidt.

Schmidt cut off Brandon-Evansville's second drive and turned it into six when he returned a Tyson Meissner pass 30 yards for a touchdown.

Amos Schmidt scored Verndale's first touchdown of the second quarter on a 60-yard run.

The Chargers hit paydirt in the second quarter on a 49-yard pass from Meissner to Travis Lund.

The Verndale reserves got their chance in the third quarter and Jacob Perius opened the second half scoring with a 44-yard touchdown run.

Meissner threw a seven touchdown pass to Adam Wagner in the fourth quarter and Lund capped the scoring with a 70-yard touchdown run against the Verndale reserves.

Meidinger finished the game with 204 yards on five carries. Schmidt picked up 88 yards on eight attempts. Both teams piled up a huge chunk of rushing yardage with the Pirates holding a 407-360 edge.

Justin Kern was Verndale's top tackler with 10 stops. Tim Kern and Colton Moyer combined for 13.

The Pirates forced four fumbles and came up with three turnovers.

Verndale head coach Mike Mahlen liked the effort his team gave him but stopped short of making any hard-and-fast conclusions about the 2009 Pirates. The Pirates, who were 10-1 last year in qualifying for the state tournament, have a good number of starters back on both offense and defense.

"It was sort of hard to gauge it because the defense played three series and the offense played three series. When they were in there they did a good job," Mahlen said.

Verndale 38, Brandon-Evansville 20

B-E 0 6 0 14 - 20

Verndale 20 12 6 0 - 38

Verndale: Zack Meidinger 74 yd run (PAT Colby Schmidt run), Schmidt 30 yd interception return (PAT failed), Meidinger 28 yd pass from Schmidt (PAT failed), Amos Schmidt 80 yd run (PAT failed), Meidinger 83 yd run (PAT failed), Jacob Perius 44 yd run (PAT failed)

B-E: Travis Lund 49 yd pass from Tyson Meissner (PAT failed), Adam Wagner 7 yd pass from Meissner (PAT failed), Lund 70 yd run (PAT Wagner pass from Meissner)

B-E Vern.

First Downs 20 10

Yds Rushing 360 407

Yds Passing 78 28

Total Yards 438 435

Passes 6-16 1-6

Intercepted by 0 1

Fumbles lost 2 1

Penalties 0 4-25