October 25, 2022 at 4:18 p.m.
Holdingford football tallies five touchdowns
The Holdingford Huskers finished its football regular season with a 35-7 win over the Melrose Area Dutchmen Oct. 19 at Holdingford High School in Holdingford.
“It was a great all-around night for us,” said Luke Mitchell, Holdingford head coach. “Our defense played tremendous. Our kids are peaking at the right time.”
The Husker defense ended the Dutchmen’s first possession, forcing a punt deep inside Melrose territory. Holdingford got the ball back on the Dutchmen 40-yard line. Runs by Luke Bieniek and Ryder Peterson and passes to Conner Patrick by quarterback Drew Lange were featured in the drive. That pattern was pretty much repeated all game long.
“The last two weeks, we’ve been playing real good offensive football,” Mitchell said. “Ryder Peterson has really been running the ball. Luke Bieniek has been running well. Drew Lange has been doing a good job of controlling the offense.”
Something else that stood out was the play of the Huskers’ offensive line. All game long, it either created holes for the running backs or pushed defenders back for short yardage gains.
“Our line really stepped it up the last two weeks,” said Bieniek, who scored twice and had 81 yards. “It’s always the best when the line steps it up.”
Melrose stayed with the Huskers early on. Following Peterson’s 3-yard touchdown run, the Dutchmen defense stiffened. Twice it recovered fumbles, ending Husker drives. What the Dutchmen did not do was complete drives. Throughout the game, good drives and runs were halted by not getting a needed first down or turnovers.
“That’s the way we’ve been all year, with the turnovers,” said Chuck Noll, Melrose co-head coach. “It’s disappointing. We knew we had to perform better up front.”
The Dutchmen, while not scoring, trailed by only one touchdown at halftime. They started the second half on a high note, going 80 yards for a touchdown and an extra point. That drive was marked by determined runs by quarterback Devin Orbeck, who usually attracted a pack of tacklers.
“You can’t deny he is a tough kid,” Noll said.
Lucas Feldewerd twice had big catches in the drive. The first picked up a Dutchmen first down. The second went 46 yards for a touchdown. Feldewerd finished with 131 yards of total offense.
The momentum shift did not last long. On the first play following the kickoff, Bieniek took the ball, found a gap in the line and ran 50 yards for the touchdown. The Huskers never trailed again.
For the rest of the night, Holdingford’s line kept the offense moving. Peterson finished with 156 yards and two touchdowns, Bieniek had a 27-yard touchdown and Mason Lichy capped off the night with a 31-yard touchdown. All of these touchdowns were followed by Antanas Martinaitis kicking extra points, most of them landing on the track surrounding the field.
“He crushes his kicks,” Mitchell said. “He has the leg and is fun to watch.”
The Huskers concluded its regular season with a 2-6 record and began its appearance in the 5AA playoffs Oct. 25 in Paynesville. The winner advances to face Eden Valley-Watkins Saturday, Oct. 29, in Eden Valley.
The Dutchmen, like Holdingford, finished with a 2-6 regular season record and began 6AAA playoffs Oct. 25 in Pierz (5-3). The winner faces New-London-Spicer (6-2) Oct. 29 in New London.
The Dutchmen know what they will have to do to advance in the playoffs.
“We’ve got to seek out consistency and hang on to the ball,” said Vaughn Glasener, Melrose co-head coach. “They’ve proven they can play with teams, but we have to be consistent.”
Melrose 0 0 7 0-7
Holdingford 7 0 7 21-35
Passing: Melrose: Orbeck 4 passes/12 attempts-67 yard, 1 INT; Holdingford: Lange 2/5-28. Rushing: Melrose: Orbeck 14 carries-53 yards and Feldewerd 15-72; Holdingford: Peterson 20-156 and Bieniek 7-81. Receiving: Melrose: Feldewerd 2-57 and Orbeck 2-11. Holdingford: Patrick 1-19 and Bieniek 1-9.