Dome alone: Flying Dutchmen win 9-man titleEdgerton/Ellsworth linebacker Derek Voge rose Friday afternoon from the Metrodome turf on Wheaton/Herman-Norcross’ 34-yard line, holding the football fumbled by Warriors wide receiver Brock Sweere as if there was nothing more important on this earth. With three seconds left in the Class 9-man state championship game and the Flying Dutchmen leading by eight points, there wasn’t. The ball belonged to Voge and, after a kneel down by Edgerton/Ellsworth, the state title belonged to the Flying Dutchmen with a 36-28 win.
By Chris Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS — Edgerton/Ellsworth linebacker Derek Voge rose Friday afternoon from the Metrodome turf on Wheaton/Herman-Norcross’ 34-yard line, holding the football fumbled by Warriors wide receiver Brock Sweere as if there was nothing more important on this earth. With three seconds left in the Class 9-man state championship game and the Flying Dutchmen leading by eight points, there wasn’t.
The ball belonged to Voge and, after a kneel down by Edgerton/Ellsworth, the state title belonged to the Flying Dutchmen with a 36-28 win.
“I can’t think of a better group of kids to earn it,” E/E coach Andrew Fleischman said. “Until the last play of the game, we had to fight, scratch and claw and we did it.
“This time we were pushed, we got behind and we got right back, we fell behind again and we got right back. I’m just happy how we handled adversity.”
E/E never trailed in any game during the Flying Dutchmen’s 13-game winning streak. Versus WHN, the Flying Dutchmen fell behind, but they weren’t about to let that first occurrence lead to their first loss, putting the finishing touches on a perfect 14-0 season in a seesaw battle.
“Both teams played phenomenal and both teams will always remember this game,” Fleischman said. “I definitely think the best two teams in the state were in the game and it was a great showcase for 9-man football.”
E/E started with a bang, marching 73 yards on eight plays on the team’s first drive, capping off the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Isaac Heard (23 for 31, 368 yards, 5 TDs, INT) to Blake Jouwstra (6 catches, 67 yards, 2 TDs).
“It’s really easy when you have the offensive line and the receivers that we have,” Heard said.
The drive may have never reached the end zone if not for wide receiver Dan Kramer.
Two plays before Jouwstra’s touchdown, Heard found Devin Hulstein (7 catches, 198 yards, 2 TDs) for a 41-yard pass, but Hulstein fumbled the ball at the WHN 13-yard line. Kramer wisely trailed Hulstein and was able to scoop up the fumble to keep the ball in the hands of the Flying Dutchmen.
WHN (12-2) found the end zone just over one minute into the second quarter when running back Wolfgang Brink (16 carries, 84 yards, TD) bowled through two E/E defenders and into the end zone from four yards out. Brink’s touchdown capped off a 51-yard drive made up of seven rushing plays. Voge stood up Warriors quarterback Tyler Schwagel (15 carries, 117 yards, TD) to stuff the 2-point conversion attempt and keep the score at 8-6.
On the ensuing E/E drive, Adam Russell intercepted a Heard pass at the WHN 24-yard line. The Warriors marched 64 yards on 10 rushing plays and punched it in from one yard out on a dive by Schwagel to take the 12-8 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the first half. Schwagel found Sweere for the 2-point conversion.
E/E and Heard answered right back. It took just three plays and 51 seconds for Heard to find Hulstein for a 45-yard touchdown pass to tie things up. A Heard pass to Hulstein fell incomplete on the 2-point conversion try to keep the score tied at 14 after one half of play.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Hulstein said. “If it was easy, it wouldn’t mean as much.
“It’s a lot more fun when it’s back and forth.”
It took just four plays for WHN to break the tie on the Warriors’ opening drive of the second half. Gregg Cronen (14 carries, 87 yards, TD) scampered 42 yards to make it 20-14 Warriors and Brink ran in the 2-point conversion to bring the score to 22-14.
With 6:50 left in the third quarter, Heard and Hulstein took over. Heard found Hulstein for catches of 6, 7 and 22 to set up an 18-yard touchdown pass to a diving Casey Schilling (7 catches, 82 yards, TD) in the corner of the end zone with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter. Heard ran in the 2-point conversion and the score was 22-all.
“That was probably the third best catch of the day,” Schilling said. “I just got it on my fingertips.”
With just over one minute remaining in the third quarter, Heard found Hulstein for a 73-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-22. The 73-yard reception for Hulstein gave him 198 reception yards on the game, breaking the previous Prep Bowl record of 171, but more importantly gave E/E the lead. Heard’s incomplete pass attempt on the 2-point conversion kept the score at 28-22.
“Some times (defensive) backs gamble,” Hulstein said. “It seems like he was going for the pick.
“When you gamble, some times you get it, some times you miss and if you miss, it’s going a long way.”
WHN was not finished. With 10:27 remaining in the game, the Warriors tied things up with a seven-play, 69-yard drive on all rushes, capped off with a nine-yard touchdown run by Michael Persing (11 carries, 53 yards, TD). Brink fell inches short of the goal line on the 2-point conversion run to keep the game tied at 28-28.
Less than two minutes later, Heard floated a ball up to Jouwstra from 17 yards away from the end zone. Jouwstra went completely vertical and stretched his fingertips out as if he were falling and reaching for a hand to save his life. He got just enough of the football to tip it to himself and haul it in as he slid into the end zone. Heard ran in the 2-point conversion and the score was 36-28.
“That was an amazing catch,” Heard said. “We make fun of Blake because we say coach favors him, so I never throw him the ball.
“He always says, ‘Just let me catch it one time,’ and so I gave it to him.”
The reception proved to not only be the game winner, but gave E/E another Prep Bowl record, as Heard became the all-time leader in passing yards at the Prep Bowl with 357, beating the previous record of 344.
“That record doesn’t really mean anything to me,” Heard said. “The only record I care about is 14-0.”
WHN would use more than five minutes to drive down to the E/E 38-yard line, but an incomplete pass by Carter Thiel ended the drive with 3:15 remaining. The Warriors would get no closer, as the Flying Dutchmen took 2:39 off the clock and left the Warriors on their own 11-yard line with 36 seconds left. Three plays later, the Flying Dutchmen were celebrating.
“This group of guys work so hard, every game, no matter what,” Schilling said. “This is probably the best team I’ve ever been on.”
E/E 8 6 14 8 — 36
WHN 0 14 8 6 — 28