Football: Wolverines dominate Staples-Motley to earn a spot in Section 6-2A semifinal
The Wadena-Deer Creek football team beat Staples-Motley 53-12 on Tuesday in the first round of the Section 6-2A football playoffs.
WADENA – It’s playoff time for Minnesota high school football teams statewide.
For the third-seeded. Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines (7-2), their Section 6-2A championship aspirations began on Tuesday night with a showdown against the sixth-seeded Staples-Motley Cardinals (0-9).
The two teams met in the season opener, with the Wolverines winning comfortably 45-6. However, with quarterback Josiah Kallevig sidelined with an injury, senior Isaac Hamann was asked to take the reins in his second consecutive start under center. In dominating fashion, WDC beat Staples-Motley 53-12, advancing to the semifinals in Sauk Centre this Saturday.
The game started with a quick three-and-out by the Cardinals to give WDC the just under two minutes into the first quarter. After failing to convert a fourth down deep in enemy territory, the Wolverines surrendered the ball back to Staples-Motley. WDC regained possession in great field position after another defensive stand.
After having the ball in plus territory for most of the first quarter, the Wolverines finally found the end zone with 1:57 left on the clock. Hamann tossed a shuttle pass to Teshe Loer, who turned the edge to give his team a touchdown lead. Cole Woods’ extra point gave WDC a 7-0 lead.
“We’ve had an issue with scoring in the red zone the last few weeks, and even going back to the middle of the season,” WDC head coach Kyle Petermeier said. “We wanted an emphasis on scoring tonight. In the first couple of drives that still didn't happen. For our guys, we challenged them to get down and to come away with points. After those first couple drives, we did a good job of scoring points.”
After their first score late in the first quarter, the Wolverines put up 40 unanswered points, with 27 of them coming in the second quarter. The Cardinals didn’t find the end zone until the 10:21 mark in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 47-6
Hamann was asked to start in place of Kallevig in the last game of the regular season and in the first round of playoffs.
“I was definitely nervous,” Hamann said. ‘“We struggled early, but settled in and got the job done tonight.”
Hamann finished with five passing touchdowns to four different receivers and a rushing touchdown. Loer had two receiving touchdowns. Tyson Barthel, MJ Lunde and Jaeger Pettit all snagged a touchdown grab in the game.
Evan Lunde busted a 16-yard run up the middle early in the second quarter for his only touchdown of the game.
It wasn’t just the offense that was on a tear in the game, but it was also the defense that was able to hold Staples-Motley to 12.
“Our defense has been pretty good so far this year,” Petermeier said. “Tonight, they were great when we couldn't put the ball in the end zone to keep them deep in their territory. They made sure we got the ball back with good field position. The defense has been outstanding, and I hope we can keep that going come Saturday.”
The Wolverines will move onto the second round of the Section 6-2A playoffs. They matchup against second-seeded Sauk Centre at 2 p.m. on Saturday on the road. Petermeier and his team made it here in last year’s playoffs only to be stopped by Osakis in a 34-19 loss.
The biggest question going into Saturday is, after missing two games in a row, will Kallevig be ready to run the offense again? Petermeier mentioned that they will find out Wednesday if his starting quarterback will be ready.
Sauk Centre enters the matchup finishing the regular season with a 5-3 overall record and a two-game winning streak.
“I think they are hungry to get to that spot and have a chance to compete,” Petermeier said. “Obviously, nothing is guaranteed, but these guys want to play against the best. Sauk Centre is having a great season, and they are a great team. We are excited to get there on Saturday and compete.”