Sometimes, simply getting what you came for is sufficient.
And, ultimately, third-ranked (Class AA) Pipestone Area picked up what it came for Friday night in Lake Crystal – a 33-6 ‘W’ against Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial that pushed the Arrows’ season record to 5-0 prior to the annual Battle Axe game against the Luverne Cardinals (3-2) next week in Luverne.
Friday night’s South Central District football game wasn’t the type of contest that will be replayed on various websites for its beauty or zeal on the part of either side. And though the hosting Knights were energized by an early tally – a 61-yard rushing TD by junior quarterback Michael Matteson 55 seconds into the tilt – disjointed play was the norm throughout much of the first half.
“I could come up with 10,000 excuses, but at the end of the day we came out with a win,” Boomgaarden said. “I thought we executed better in the second half, offensively; defensively, I thought we played well with the exception of 1-2 plays … prepared for everything. All said, we got what we were after.”
The PAS defense never took the field with the Arrows trailing, however, as the Arrows’ response was immediate – coming in the form of yet another kickoff return for a touchdown by Maddox Biever. The senior knotted the score at 6-all a mere 28 seconds after Matteson’s tally, weaving his way through traffic before bursting down the right sideline and cutting across the field to the left pylon with 10:37 remaining in the opening quarter. Though Biever would go on to score three of the Arrows’ four additional touchdowns on the night, accumulating 40 rushing yards and 70 receiving yards as part of his 236 all-purpose markers, the visitors were rarely in sync throughout an entire drive.
“In the first half we dropped a few balls that would have been big plays for us, we had a few penalties which, to my linemen’s credit it’s slippery out there, but it came down to executing better offensively,” Boomgaarden said.
Still, the Arrows finished with 230 yards more net offensive than their opponents (396-166) and had twice as many first downs on the night (16-8). And despite dropping a few balls that likely would have gone for ‘six,,’ junior quarterback Kellen Johnson completed 12-of-22 for nearly 300 yards (297, TD) – including pickups of 40, 56, 29 and 71 yards to a variety of receivers.
One such grand gain helped set up the Arrows’ go-ahead tally, as Johnson located wide receiver Ryan Woodbury in the right channel. The senior corralled Johnson’s pass 15 yards off the line of scrimmage and picked up an additional 54 before being hauled down by LCWM’s Camden Ludeman at the Knights’ nine-yard line. Classmate and fellow WR Ty Hansen took the ensuing snap around the end for six yards before Biever punched it in from the three-yard line with 4:47 remaining in the first quarter – putting PAS up for good, 12-6.
From there, the Arrows appeared to slowly shake off the lethargy they rolled into town with after a 2 ½-hour bus ride, and the Arrows defense deliberately began pecking away at Matteson and Ludeman in the backfield. Arrow linebacker Rogan Smidt’s chopping down of the latter, for a three-yard loss, energized the PAS defense and brought the traveling faithful to it feet.
“My guard was leaning a little bit and I was picking up on that,” said the junior, who finished with seven total tackles – second only to Cole Paulson (8). “We try to communicate those things and Cole Paulson was giving us great direction. If he wasn’t as smart as he is, I wouldn’t be as good as I am at this position. We just pick up on little things every play.
“I think it was the bus ride that had us come out kind of slow tonight, a lot like when we went up to Arlington. That (early score) just made us mad and aggressive and we started locking things down better; we don’t like it when they put up points.”
A series of aerial connections salvaged the Arrows’ next possession that began well back in their own territory – at the six-yard line. Following two incompletions and an offsides infraction that pushed the visitors back an additional three yards, Johnson twice located Hansen (four receptions, 106 yards, TD) for gains of 36 and nine yards on the right side. Two fruitless plays, and a holding penalty later, Johnson looked the other way – lofting a perfect spiral into the hands of Biever deep down the left sideline. The 56-yard gain put the Arrows within the striking distance once more and the senior again blasted his way across the goal line behind the Arrows stout line to lift the visitors to an 18-6 lead with 8:05 left in the first half.
And though the Arrows might have had their difficulties in finding an offensive rhythm against an opponent they were heavily favored to batter, the PAS linemen continued to toil at their specific jobs in hope of executing better as a whole.
“You just gotta focus on snapping the ball and get to blocking the guy after that,” said senior center Mason Musch. “If you don’t do things step by step, bad things happen; we’re a very close group on the line, we’re always talking to see what’s coming, and we focus on our jobs and do our part.
“We had some pretty good success with that and keeping our quarterback safe with good pass protection tonight. We try to keep Kellen clean. Their (LCWM) six-man front gave a us a little trouble early, but figured a few things out and did a better job in the second half.”
Although the Arrows couldn’t locate the end zone again prior to intermission, they made the most of their initial possession in the third quarter – marching 65 yards in 11 plays to take a 24-6 lead with 6:58 to play in the period. Johnson fed running back Braeden Bauman (eight carries, 44 yards) five times on the drive and also hit him with a pass for a seven-yard gain out of the backfield during the march. Biever matched Bauman’s efforts in rushing and catching and his four-yard TD rush, combined with a 2-point Johnson-to-Hansen pass reception, lifted the visitors to a 26-6 lead.
A quick three-and-out by the Knights, forced through the backfield penetration of Jayden Hoss and Paulson – as part of an Arrow defense that ‘gained’ 31 yards in tackles on the night – put the football back in the hands of Johnson and company in a mere 90 seconds. PAS promptly looked to Bauman again, and the wily runner moved the football from the Arrow 21 to midfield with shifty run-after-the-catch yards off a well-organized screen pass to the right side. Hansen followed with a carry of three yards before picking up an additional 40 on a Johnson toss to the left. PAS looked well on its way to another tally before Johnson was picked off in the end zone by sophomore Easton Antony.
The miscue only delayed the inevitable, as PAS reclaimed possession at the Knights 35-yard line to open the fourth quarter. Bauman hauled in a 14-yard pass from Johnson and Hansen did the rest – cradling Johnson’s ensuing pass before adding his run-after-the-catch flare to paydirt. Hoss was true on the PAT and the Arrows had all they’d need to secure the ‘W’ they’d come for.
Connor Zephier capped the Arrows’ defensive effort with a fourth-quarter interception of Matteson, and the Arrows celebrated their fifth victory of the season.
“I’m really proud of all these boys out here, working hard and sticking with it; we had to come out in the second half and play like we meant it,” Bauman said. “We’re the third-ranked team and we had to show these boys’ (LCWM) we belong there. We did that better in the second half and moved the football well.”
Something the Arrows will again need to do well in facing rival Luverne Friday night in Luverne for the coveted Battle Axe.
“It’s going to be a big game; we have to come together and play our hearts out – play for each other,” Bauman said.
“They want Kellen bad, so we have to focus on keeping them off of him, keeping our quarterback clean” added Musch.
Certainly, emotion will run high in that contest; keeping tempers in check while executing the things PAS does well will undoubtedly have to be better than it was against the Knights.
“It was one of those games where everything looked kind of ugly,” Boomgaarden said. “We had some miscommunication from coaches to players, from player to player, but we’ll get those things fixed this week and be ready for Luverne next week. I don’t think we’ll have to do much to stay focused with that one.”
Pipestone Area 12 6 8 7 – 33
LC-WM 6 0 0 0 – 6
Minneota 31, R-T-R 0
The Knights dropped to 3-2 on the season following a shutout loss to the second-ranked (Class A) Vikings Friday night in Minneota.
Though the Knights were happy to have limited the Vikings to two tallies in the first half, the defense slowly wore down as the tilt moved into the second half.
“They’re tough and I’m willing to bet they’ll be in that final game at the end of the season,” R-T-R head coach Josh Fredrickson said of the Vikings. “I was pretty happy with the way we played defense. They got some yards on us (431), but overall, in the first half, we did a nice job of staying with them. Our defensive line did a nice job of staying disciplined, thought we got guys to the ball and held them to 14 points – pretty good in my opinion.
“It started downpouring in the second half, and that’s not to say that was our undoing, but it really took away our ability to pass – something we hoped to establish. Ultimately, their very good defensive front and our inability to establish a passing game led to our defense being on the field way too long. We got tired and wore out as the game progressed.”
And that certainly checked out as the Knights had a deficit (-2 yards) in the running game on the night, while gaining a mere 13 yards through the air. Jonah Christensen was 4-of-8, connecting with Darrick Baartman once and Aiden Wichmann twice in the tilt.
Logan Lamote spearheaded the R-T-R defensive effort with 11 total tackles, while Christensen and Aiden Wichmann had eight stops apiece. Cody Wichmann finished with seven tackles, and Baartman and Tucker Haroldson each had six tackles for the Knights, who hope to find more offense this week in hosting the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks (4-1) in Southwest District action in Tyler.
“That’s what we talked about after this one; we can learn some things from this one, but we have to put it in the rearview,” Fredrickson said. “We have to focus these next couple of games moving forward. Dawson-Boyd is going to be a tough match-up, but a good one for us to come back with; it’s homecoming and there should be a lot of energy.”
R-T-R 0 0 0 0 – 0
Minneota 7 7 10 7 – 31
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)