Wadena-Deer Creek’s Payton Rondestvedt made his first career varsity start at quarterback a memorable one. The freshman quarterback tossed two touchdowns and rushed for another as the Wolverines cruised to a 34-6 victory over United North Central in Wadena on Sept. 14.
The strong offensive start from Rondestvedt, coupled with an outstanding performance on defense helped the Wolverines get their first win, snapping a two-game skid to start the season.
“A lot of things went well. We started out by playing really good defense. We got a three-and-out early in the game and got a little of momentum,” Wadena-DC head coach Howie Kangas said. “We were able to hit some pretty big plays against their defense. It was really important how we got that thing started.”
Kangas said Rondestvedt hit some big plays in the first half, which gave the team a big cushion. The Wolverines carried 28-0 lead into the half against United North Central. Rondestvedt came on in relief of Hunter Hawkins at Ottertail Central, continued his strong play with the start against United North Central. Hawkins has found success as one of Rondestvedt’s targets at wide receiver.
“He (Rondestvedt) has a lot of poise as an athlete. He is an excellent baseball player, goes on the hill and will compete against the best of them,” Kangas said. “He doesn’t care how old someone is, he just wants to play. He has remarkable composure for a kid his age. He surprised me with some of the plays he was making tonight. I couldn’t be happier for him, because the kid is just a player.”
Rondestvedt passed for 150 yards on six completions. Colby Schertler led the ground attack with 59 yards rushing on 13 carries and two touchdowns. Cade Kapphahn added 54 yards on the ground on 10 carries. Max Phillips had five receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Hawkins had to receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown.
Kangas was happy with the play of the offensive line, going against a defense that likes to stunt.
“Our offensive line did a real nice job considering all of the stunting that UNC did,” Kangas said.
Rondestvedt connected for a pair of touchdown passes in the first half, hitting Hawkins for a 55-yard strike and Phillips for a 31-yard strike. Schertler rushed for a pair of touchdowns, plunging in from six yards and 11 yards out.
Brandon Miller hit Tyce Lee for the lone United North Central score in the third quarter. It was followed by a Rondestvedt touchdown run to cap the scoring for the Wolverines.
Kangas said one of the keys was to take away the United North Central ground attack. The Wolverines did just that, holding UNC to 59 yards rushing.
Kangas said their victory gives the team confidence in that they can perform their work.
“If everybody does their job, we will find some success,” Kangas said. “When you find some success, you can find some momentum and good things happen. It was a real fun win for our kids and our community. It was a real quality win.
The Wolverines improve to 1-2 on the season and return home for a homecoming clash with Pelican Rapids on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. The Wolverines first take on West Central Area on Sept. 21.