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Football: Sauk Centre overpowers WDC in 6-2A semifinal, Wolverines end best season in over two decades

The Wadena-Deer Creek football team suffered a season-ending loss at the hands of Sauk Centre on Saturday afternoon. Head coach Kyle Petermeier praised his seniors for being a crucial part of the Wolverines' rebuild over the last four seasons.

A. Petermeier and Brandon Wheeler after an emotional loss.JPG
Wadena-Deer Creek head coach Kyle Petermeier consoles senior Brandon Wheeler after the Wolverines' 47-13 loss against Sauk Centre in the second round of the Section 6-2A tournament on Oct. 29, 2022.
Nick Leonardelli / Wadena Pioneer Journal
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SAUK CENTRE – After blowing out Staples-Motley in the first round, Wadena-Deer Creek looked to bring that momentum into its semifinal matchup against Sauk Centre.

But the Mianstreeters came to play.

Wadena-Deer Creek’s season ended with a 47-13 loss, closing one of the program’s best campaigns in two decades.

Sauk Centre’s Elijiah Fletcher found the end zone just three and a half minutes into the game. The Mainstreeters’ powerful running back was a force to be reckoned with all afternoon.

A. Seniors embrace each other.JPG
Wadena-Deer Creek seniors Koby Endres and Isaac Hamann hug it out after the Wolverines' 47-13 loss against Sauk Centre in the second round of the Section 6-2A tournament on Oct. 29, 2022.
Nick Leonardelli / Wadena Pioneer Journal

One of the most significant turning points in the game came as time expired in the first quarter. Facing a 3rd-and-17 on the 50-yard line, Sauk Centre’s Matthew Warring connected with Hunter Danielson on a deep passing touchdown to put the Mainstreeters up 21-0. It was one of four consecutive scoring plays to start the game before the Wolverines could find the end zone.

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WDC cut into the lead at the 4:20 mark in the second quarter. Quarterback Josiah Kallevig hit Isaac Hamann for a 20-yards, and Teshe Loer for a five-yard gain, to set up the Wolverines at the Sauk Centre seven-yard line. A Kallevig-to-Loer seven-yard touchdown pass capped off the drive.

Sauk Centre got in the end zone one more time and the first half and went into the locker room up 33-7.

“Their physicality was a big reason why we couldn’t really do anything on offense,” Wadena-Deer Creek head coach Kyle Petermeier said. “Their front four controlled the line of scrimmage. For us, it made it hard to get into anything that we’ve had in the past few weeks.”

Going into the second half, Petermeier and his coaching staff made a move to put Hamann at quarterback. Hamann started the last game of the regular season and the first game of the playoffs in the absence of Kallevig, who was sidelined with an injury.

A. Isaac Hamann checks with Ref.JPG
Wadena-Deer Creek's Isaac Hamann lines up for an offensive play from wide receiver in the Wolverines' 47-13 loss against Sauk Centre in the second round of the Section 6-2A tournament on Oct. 29, 2022.
Nick Leonardelli / Wadena Pioneer Journal

“We thought what Isaac was doing the last couple of games by getting out of the pocket and escaping pressure–he was more used to that,” Petermeier said. “The pressure was coming up the middle, and we were not getting the ball out or had any time. We made the change because Isaac was having success the last couple of games dealing with that, so maybe he can get out of the pocket and do what he has been doing. He led us down on a touchdown drive right away, which was great.”

“We have all the faith in the world in Josiah. He has had a great year throwing the ball. We thought, at the time, since something wasn’t working on the offense, maybe we try something different.”

Hamann connected with Evan Lunde on a 22-yard passing touchdown to cut the deficit to 33-13.

In the end, The Mainstreeters’ run game was the difference. Fletcher, their bulldozer in the backfield, gave the Wolverines problems with his size and speed all afternoon.

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“When we get that initial contact, someone has to hang on and we team tackle,” Petermeier said on what needs to happen to slow down a dynamic player. “We had one guy hit him, but we couldn’t make the tackle because we had guys out of position.”

Fletcher finished the game with 18 rushing attempts, 196 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

Kallevig ended the game with 8-for-14 passing for 33-yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Hamann was 5-for-8 with 46 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Lunde and Simon Kreklau both lead the team with 20 rushing yards. Loer had a team-high seven receptions for 35-yards and a touchdown.

Petermeier was most proud of the way his players didn’t give up and finished the game strong.

A. Petermeier coaching up QB Kallevig.JPG
Wadena-Deer Creek's Josiah Kallevig gets an offensive play call from head coach Kyle Petermeier in the Wolverines' 47-13loss against Sauk Centre in the second round of the Section 6-2A tournament on Oct. 29, 2022.
Nick Leonardelli / Wadena Pioneer Journal

“The biggest thing for us is when we got down 14 or 21 really early, we pulled the kids aside and challenged them to finish the game with class and pride,” he said. “We battled the rest of the game. Granted, we didn’t win the game, but our guys played their hearts out and played to the whistle. I think when the scoreboard is like that, it’s easy to give up. It was a great thing they didn’t give up. That shows the senior-led class we have. They enjoy being out here and competing. I’m proud of their effort.”

This was the best season since 1999 for the Wadena-Deer Creek football program. It finished with a 7-3 record. It’s the first time in 23 years the Wolverines ended the season over .500.

“The biggest thing for us was this senior class sticking through it,” Petermeier said. “They were 0-9 as freshmen. They could have quit to focus on other sports. The four-year progression from this group and this team is that we went from zero wins, to three wins, to five wins and, finally, seven wins this year. This group has steadily improved and improved our program. Today wasn’t fun to lose like that, but we can take things out of this as a program. The seniors are done, but they can look back and have a little bit of fulfillment that they did something to turn this thing around.”

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Petermeier is excited to see what the future has in store for Wolverine football, but he puts future success on the younger kids to keep things moving forward.

“I think we keep building and keep getting better,” he said. “The WIN program at school has been really great and really helpful where they can lift during school hours. The young kids have to take that seriously and to heart. Lifting is something that is important, and we saw that on the field today. The biggest thing was they were bigger, they were faster and they were stronger. That is something that we can take upon ourselves and do in the offseason.”

SCORING- FIRST QUARTER: 9:39 Elijah Fletcher 7-yard rushing touchdown PAT GOOD 7-0 SC;

7:21 Elijah Fletcher 40-yard rushing touchdown PAT GOOD 14-0 SC

SECOND QUARTER: 11:53 Matthew Warring 50-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Danielson PAT GOOD 21-0 SC; 8:48 Elijah Fletcher 21-yard rushing touchdown PAT no good 27-0 SC; 4:20 Josiah Kallevig 7-yard passing touchdown to Teshe Loer PAT GOOD 27-7 SC; 0:46 Elijah Fletcher 3-yard rushing touchdown PAT no good 33-7 SC

THIRD QUARTER: 7:26 Isaac Hamann 15-yard touchdown pass to Evan Lunde 2pt attempt no good 33-13 SC; 5:14 Matthew Warring 3-yard rushing touchdown 2pt attempt no good 39-13 SC

FOURTH QUARTER: 5:40 Damian Ahrens 8-yard rushing touchdown 2pt attempt GOOD 47-13 SC

OFFENSIVE STATS: PASSING- QB/WR Isaac Hamann 5-8, 46-yards, 1 TD, 1INT; QB Josiah Kallevig 8-14, 33-yards, 1 TD, 2INTs; QB Eshetu Loer 1-1, 2-yards RUSHING- RB Evan Lunde 7 attempts, 20-yards; RB Simon Kreklau 2 attempts, 20-yards; RB D’Andre Hammond 3 attempts, 3 yards; QB/WR Isaac 3 attempts, 2-yards; WR Teshome Loer 5 attempts, -10 yards; QB Josiah Kallevig 4 attempts, -28 yards RECEIVING: WR Teshe Loer 7 receptions, 35-yards, 1 TD; WR Mark Lunde 3 receptions, 27-yards; RB Evan Lunde 2 reception, 17-yards, 1 TD; WR Brandon Wheeler 1 reception, 2 yards; QB/WR Isaac Hamann 1 reception, 0-yards

DEFENSIVE STATS: LB Simon Kreklau 8.5 TOT, 8 solo, 3 TFL; LB Mark Lunde 6 TOT, 6 solo; DL/LB Koby Endres 5.5 TOT, 5 solo; LB Evan Lunde 5 TOT, 4 solo; DL Grant Seelhammer 5 TOT, 5 solo, DB Isaac Hamann 3 TOT, 3 solo; DL Gunner Olson 2 TOT, 2 solo; DL Noah Johnson 2 TOT, 2 solo, 2 TFL; LB Mason Brauch 1 TOT, 1 solo; DB Jaeger Pettit 1 TOT, 1 solo; DL Eric Benson 1 TOT, 1 solo; LB D’Andre Hammond 1 TOT, 1 solo; DE Eshetu Loer 1 TOT, 1 solo; DB Charlie Bushinger 1 TOT, 1 solo; DL Brett Reinke 1 TOT, 1 solo; DB Cole Woods 1 INT

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