November 2, 2022 at 8:29 p.m.

Sizzling start propels Sauk Centre past WDC 47-13

Sizzling start propels Sauk Centre past WDC 47-13
Sizzling start propels Sauk Centre past WDC 47-13

By Mark [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Next up: section finals against Osakis at Fargodome

Long after the Sauk Centre football team had put the finishing touches on a stellar playoff performance over Wadena-Deer Creek several players, many of them seniors, remained on the field savoring their victory.

And there was a lot to relish. In front of a large crowd, they had just orchestrated a nearly flawless first half of football that easily carried them to a dominating 47-13 win over (6-3) Wadena-Deer Creek on a warm Saturday afternoon Oct. 29 in the Section 6AA semifinals. 

“We stressed a lot this week we have to come out and establish authority that we are going to take it to them,” said Head Coach Charlie Warring. “I give credit to the kids. They were ready to go.”

Sauk Centre’s (6-3) start was extraordinary. Their first four drives covered 44, 54, 99 and 35 yards and all resulted in touchdowns.  

 “We knew we had to come out and make a statement against Wadena,” said quarterback/defensive end Matthew Warring. “We had a solid week of practice and came out hot.” 

Senior runningback Eli Fletcher scored the first two touchdowns on 7- and 41-yard touchdown runs putting Sauk Centre ahead 14-0. Their third score started with their backs against the endzone and ended early in the second quarter when quarterback Matthew Warring connected with Hunter Danielson, who had beat man-to-man coverage in front of the Streeter sidelines, for a 50-yard touchdown reception. 

“It was huge in a lot of ways,” Warring said. “It gave us more confidence offensively, but in the same token it can be demoralizing for the defense because they have you pinned back thinking if we get a stop they would get good field position.” 

Fletcher scored his third touchdown of the game, a 3-yard run, on a direct snap to increase the lead to 27-0.

The Wolverines scored a touchdown with just over four minutes left in the first half and then got the ball back with hopes of another touchdown. But Fletcher had other intentions, he picked off a WDC pass and ran it back to the Wolverine 2-yard line. Two plays later he scored again to pad the lead to 33-7. 

WDC scored their other touchdown midway through the third quarter. Sauk Centre responded with a long drive highlighted by a 44-yard run by Fletcher that set up a touchdown run from Warring. 

“We have been talking about this since we played West Central last year,” Matthew Warring said. “We were not happy with the outcome of that game and wanted it to be different this year.” 

The Streeters final score came with many of the reserves in the game. Damian Ahrens sprinted in from 9-yards out and Austin Helgeson added the 2-point conversion to round out the scoring and cap off a great afternoon of football for Sauk Centre.  

“Just seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces; everybody wants to play,” Warring said. “It was fun to get everyone on the field.”

Offensively the Streeters running game was staggering. They finished with 313 yards rushing. 

“We were able to dominate the running game which can be very frustrating for a defense when you can’t stop that,” Warring said. “One of our thoughts was they like to throw and hit the big play – but if we run – we keep the ball out of their hands and limit their opportunities.”

Fletcher led the ground attack with 212 yards. 

“On a number of the runs the offensive line got to the linebackers and created some openings where he wasn’t touched for the first 10 yards but after that first contact, second contact, he was moving the pile,” Warring said. “It was fun to watch. He will run people over and he has the ability to outrun people. He’s the total package as a runningback.”

Defensively, Sauk Centre shut down the Wolverine running game. They finished with 26 carries for three yards. They passed for 138 yards but Sauk Centre was able to harass the WDC quarterback enough to produce three interceptions, one each by Reece Blondin, Danielson and Fletcher. 

“I don’t think he has been pressured like he was on Saturday,” Warring said. “He was scrambling and throwing before he wanted to because of the pressure of the guys up front.”

Senior defensive end Corey McCoy led the charge with three sacks. 

“We have a lot of impact players,” Warring said. “That’s the beauty of this group. There are a number of kids that can have an impact on the game. We were winning the battle at the line of scrimmage both offensively and defensively and we were playing physical.”

The win sets the stage for a playoff matchup with (8-1) Osakis, the top-seed in the section.

“They are a good team,” Warring said. “They have had a pretty good run of being in the section finals or winning the section. They are well coached. They have good size. They are a little bigger up front and they want to pound it and mix in the pass once in a while.” 

The game will be played at 3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 4 at the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota. 

“Their quarterback (Kyle Mages) is a pretty good athlete and can throw the ball,” Warring said. “(Andrew) Imdieke is a runningback and a big kid and he will get the ball a lot. He is a load to bring down. They like to run a little play-action. They are more of a power football team.”

He added, “We have to continue to mix things up and spread the ball around and win the turnover battle and limit our penalties.”

WDC     0           7      6       0--13

SC          14      19      6       8--47

(SC) Fletcher 7-yard touchdown run (Neubert extra-point)

(SC) Fletcher 41-yard touchdown run (Neubert extra-point)

(SC) Danielson 50-yard touchdown pass from Warring (Neubert extra-point)

(SC) Fletcher 21-yard touchdown run (extra point failed)

(WDC) 8-yard touchdown pass (extra-point kick)

(SC) Fletcher 3-yard touchdown run (Fletcher run for 2 pt. conversion)

(SC) Warring 2-yard touchdown run (2 pt. conversion failed)

(WDC) 16-yard touchdown pass (2 pt. conversion failed)

(SC) Ahrens 9-yard touchdown run (Helgeson 2 pt. conversion run)

Individual stats: passing, Warring 10-16-118 (1 TD, 1 Int.); rushing, Fletcher 19-212, Warring 11-60, Damian Ahrens 7-21, Austin Helgeson 2-3, Zander Kuhlmann 2-2; receiving, Neubert 6-48, Danielson 2-61, Jeric Schloegl 1-7, Fletcher 1-2; fumble recovery, Chris Polipnick; int. Reece Blondin, Danielson, Fletcher.   


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