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Verndale finishes perfect, gains No. 1 seed in Section 4 playoffs

Big Evan Ellison is double teamed by Verndale blockers Clay Cottrell, left, and Jon Kohlhase in the first half of Tuesday night's game with Chokio-Alberta/Herman-Norcross.

The Verndale Pirates warmed up for the Section 4 playoffs on water-logged Mike Mahlen Field Tuesday night by racking up a 40-14 victory over Chokio-Alberta/Herman-Norcross.

The victory put the Pirates right back where they were a year ago when the regular season ended -- 8-0. The next job will be to defend their Section 4, Class Nine-man championship and return to the state playoffs. Verndale is ranked No. 1 in the eight-team playoffs and will host No. 8 Ashby in a 7 p.m. game Tuesday at Verndale.

Amos Schmidt carried 29 times for 234 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead a 354-yard rushing effort. Schmidt has been a scoring machine for the Pirates over the last three games with 13 TDs to his credit.

The Pirates had opened a comfortable 18-0 lead in the second quarter when Alex Erickson exploded through the Verndale defense on an 84-yard touchdown run.

The state-ranked Pirates marched right back down the field following Erickson's TD and Schmidt's third touchdown of the first half gave Verndale a 24-6 with just 39 seconds left.

The offensive fireworks fizzled in the second half. The Spartans were held scoreless until Chandler Erickson scored on a four-yard carry with 1:51 left. Schmidt put his fourth touchdown of game on the board with a four-yard run in the third quarter. Jacob Perius found running room for a 44-yard scoring run as the Pirates answered Erickson's touchdown with one of their own with under a minute to play.

Dustin Motschenbacher and Cody Yungbauer both had 10 tackles for the Pirates.

"Despite the field conditions and the playing conditions neither team had a turnover," Verndale head coach Mike Mahlen said. "Considering the conditions I thought both teams played pretty well."

The winner of Tuesday's Ashby-Verndale game will play again 7 p.m. Saturday at Semifinal winners advance to the Fargodome for a 12:30 p.m. game Nov. 6.

CAHN 0 6 0 8 - 14

Verndale 12 12 8 8 - 40

CAHN: Alex Erickson 84 yd run (PAT failed), Chandler Erickson 4 yd run (PAT Erickson run)

Verndale: Amos Schmidt 63 yd run (PAT failed), A. Schmidt 14 yd run (PAT failed), C. Schmidt 1 yd run (PAT failed), A. Schmidt 1 yd run (PAT failed), A. Schmidt 4 yd run (PAT Justin Kern pass from C. Schmidt), Jacob Perius 44 yd run (PAT Dustin Motschenbacher run)

CAHN Vern.

First Downs 9 21

Yards Rushing 195 354

Yards Passing 16 47

Total Yards 211 401

Passes 1-2 5-6

Penalties 3-15 2-10