Wadena-Deer Creek advances in 6AA playoff with road win over Staples-Motley
Recap of Wadena-Deer Creek's first-round playoff win over Staples-Motley.
STAPLES — The Wadena-Deer Creek football team rode into Staples-Motley for a first-round playoff game against the Cardinals.
The fourth-seeded Wolverines (5-4) survived a late comeback from the fifth-seeded Cardinals (2-8) and pulled out a 23-12 win.
W-DC scored on its first drive. Running back Evan Lunde got the ball and darted past the end zone's left pylon for the game's first touchdown from 17-yards out. A W-DC extra point put the Wolverines up 7-0.
On the Wolverines' next offensive drive, the Cardinals recovered a ball stripped from the W-DC ball carrier. That turnover led to a rushing touchdown by Martin Lunde, but a failed two-point conversion preserved a one-point lead.
Wolverines' head coach Kyle Petermeier was frustrated with his team's errors, especially on the road in a high-stakes game.
"We tried to focus on the small things, and we did not do the small things at all," Petermeier said. "We had a lot of penalties where we jumped offsides or had false starts."
Both the defensive and special teams units helped the Wolverines. Nathaniel Peterson made a key tackle, preventing the Cardinals from scoring a kick return touchdown.
When W-DC needed a spark, quarterback Payton Rondestvedt rose to the occasion. The senior rushed into the end zone from 13-yards out to put the Wolverines up 14-6.
At the end of the first half, W-DC's Cole Woods drilled a 26-yard field goal to give the Wolverines an 11-point lead.
Rondestvedt was under pressure throughout the game. He was sacked multiple times and forced to play outside the pocket. However, he still found a way to put points on the board. Rondestvedt spread the ball out to four different wide receivers on the night.
"Do what I can to get into the endzone and just fight for every last yard," Rondestvedt said.
Rondestvedt found the end zone for a third time late in the third quarter on his second rushing touchdown of the game to put the Wolverines up 23-6.
W-DC was picked off in the fourth quarter by linebacker Eli Carlson. On the next play, Carlson caught a 40-yard touchdown pass.
Trailing 23-12, the Cardinals hoped to find a way back into the game after a turnover. However, they weren't able to meet the force of the Wolverines' defense.
Petermeier wasn't pleased with his team's performance, despite the 11-point victory.
"We made a lot of mistakes and didn't play well," Petermeier said. "Hopefully, we can clean that up in practice this week. Obviously, it's good to overcome them and win on the road, but those are things that we can control."
The Wolverines' next opponent is top-seeded Osakis (8-1). Petermeier understands the weight of playing elimination games.
"(Osakis) is a great team and a great program," Petermeier said. "They did a lot of good things over the last few years. We know we have to play better eventually in order to be successful."
As for Rondestvedt, it's back to the film room to evaluate his performance and get prepared for his next matchup.
"We will watch a lot of film, see what they run with and come up with a good game plan," Rondestvedt said.