PREP FOOTBALL: Flying Dutchmen ousted by C-G-BMARSHALL — One win away from returning to the state tournament and having the opportunity to defend its state championship, the Edgerton/Ellsworth Flying Dutchmen football team needed to get by the same team it faced a year ago in the Section 3 9-man title game. Unfortunately for third-seeded E/E, it was the No. 1-seed Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Wolverines avenging last year’s loss with a 38-20 victory over the Flying Dutchmen at Southwest Minnesota State University’s Mattke Field in Marshall on Friday.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
MARSHALL — One win away from returning to the state tournament and having the opportunity to defend its state championship, the Edgerton/Ellsworth Flying Dutchmen football team needed to get by the same team it faced a year ago in the Section 3 9-man title game.
Unfortunately for third-seeded E/E, it was the No. 1-seed Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Wolverines avenging last year’s loss with a 38-20 victory over the Flying Dutchmen at Southwest Minnesota State University’s Mattke Field in Marshall on Friday.
C-G-B (10-0), which is ranked No.1 in the state rankings, was also a top seed in Section 3 last year when second-seeded E/E advanced with a 30-8 victory and went on to win the 2011 state tournament.
“Last year, we were able to beat a very good C-G-B team and this year, we just weren’t able to do it,” E/E head coach Andrew Fleischman said. “We have a good team, but (Friday) C-G-B was better. They did a wonderful job and they were ready to play us. The credit goes to them. They’ll make a nice run in these playoffs.
“I was proud of the way we played. I thought we came out and played aggressive, physical football. The biggest thing was that they were able to get some big plays or some momentum swings that all seemed to go against us.”
The Wolverines intercepted three E/E passes, while also blocking a punt and forcing the Flying Dutchmen to turn the ball over on downs twice in the game.
“We’ve been looking at Edgerton ever since they beat us last year and the title run that they had and the way they put the boots to us a year ago,” C-G-B co-head coach Steve Jipson said. “We were ready for them, but right away, we had trouble moving the ball against Edgerton (Friday).”
Neither side had much success moving the ball early as the Flying Dutchmen gained two first downs through their first three possessions, while the Wolverines gained just one first down through two series.
However, it was C-G-B that was gaining field position and a 15-yard punt return by Jason Montonye following a short punt on E/E’s third series that allowed the Wolverines to strike first on a short field.
Following three runs to the left by Austin Maanum (15 carries, 55 yards) that moved the ball from the E/E 24-yard line to inside the 10, quarterback Damon Gibson faked another handoff to Maanum. This time, Gibson kept the ball and bolted to the right on a bootleg keeper for a seven-yard TD with 3:10 left in the first quarter.
Following a failed 2-point conversion attempt, C-G-B held a 6-0 lead that didn’t last long.
Jorge Lopez (seven tackles) returned the ensuing kickoff 20 yards to start E/E’s next drive near midfield and two plays later, Isaac Heard used a 46-yard keeper run on a sprint to the right after bluffing a handoff to Blake Jouwstra (12 carries for 36 yards). After Heard fired incomplete to Devin Hulstein on the conversion try, the game was tied 6-6 with 2:32 remaining in the first quarter.
C-G-B earned another short field 4 minutes into the second quarter when Keane Turner blocked an E/E punt, giving the Wolverines the ball on the Flying Dutchmen’s 20-yard line.
A Gibson completion to Kade Karsky moved C-G-B to the 3-yard line and Gibson finished again as the junior plunged into the end zone on a keeper run. Following a successful conversion run by Maanum, the Wolverines were ahead 14-6 with 7:02 left in the first half.
The Flying Dutchmen attempted to counter quickly on the first play of their next series, but a long pass downfield from Heard was intercepted by Montonye.
“We knew the ball was going to be in the air a lot as Edgerton throws the ball a bunch,” Jipson said. “Jason Montonye is a super ballplayer when the ball is in the air. He’s a track star with good legs and he can get underneath the ball. And Keane Turner had the blocked punt.
“All of those turnovers were huge, especially when the offense can take the ball and get it down the field.”
Montonye, who had intercepted Heard earlier in the quarter, picked off another Heard pass later in the game to finish with three interceptions, while also gaining 47 rushing yards on 11 carries.
“It seemed like every time that we thought we grabbed a foothold on momentum, they would make a big play,” Fleischman said.
C-G-B was unable to capitalize on Montonye’s second pick and punted the ball back to E/E with 5 minutes left in the half.
However, the Wolverines stopped the Flying Dutchmen’s next drive and then closed out the first half with a seven-play, 65-yard drive that took 66 seconds. Gibson fired to Logan Nordly for a nine-yard touchdown pass as time expired and after a 2-point run by Gibson, C-G-B had a 22-6 halftime lead.
The Wolverines quickly added to their lead on the third play from scrimmage in the second half when Nordly (seven carries for 65 yards) broke a tackle and scampered 50 yards to pay dirt. Following a conversion run by Maanum, the Wolverine lead was 30-6 with 11:08 left in the third quarter.
“They are a big, physical football team,” Fleischman said. “I thought we matched their physicality, but the thing we couldn’t match was their speed.
“They have tremendous speed and we are a team that relies on our ability to do certain things with our speed. They really neutralized some things.”
E/E’s first drive of the second half started well as Heard moved the chains twice with runs and also completed a 20-yard pass to Jouwstra for a first down, but the drive stalled out inside the red zone as the Flying Dutchmen turned the ball over on downs.
Taking over on its own 13-yard line midway through the third quarter, C-G-B marched 87 yards on 14 plays that took over 5 minutes for a 38-6 lead. Gibson finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Karsky (three catches for 33 yards), while Gibson connected with Zak Adelman on the 2-point conversion for the final Wolverine points.
“Eventually, our line started picking up their blitzes and we brought our game up a bit,” Jipson said. “(Damon) Gibson had some really clutch passes with the touchdown at the end of the half and then he threw some awfully nice passes in the third quarter to get them to stop stacking the line against us.”
Gibson completed 8 of 12 passes for 114 yards and two TDs, while also leading the Wolverines in rushing with 75 yards on 17 carries and the two first-half scores.
Heard, who was E/E’s leading rusher with 83 yards and a touchdown, led the Flying Dutchmen on a pair of fourth-quarter scoring drives, but the 32-point deficit was too much to overcome. The senior quarterback completed 15 of 29 passes for 180 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Daniel Kramer (three catches for 51 yards) hauled in Heard’s first passing TD on a fourth-and-goal play from the C-G-B 11 with 11:23 left to make it 38-14 following a Heard conversion run.
The Flying Dutchmen added the game’s final score with 4:13 left when Heard hit Jouwstra (five catches for 73 yards) on a 27-yard aerial to cap a five-play, 37-yard drive. A failed conversion run brought the score to 38-20 and the Wolverines ran out the clock on the following series.
Austin LaFollette (two catches for 19 yards) led the Flying Dutchmen defense with 13 tackles, while Derek Voge (two catches for 26 yards) tallied nine tackles and Derek Klaar (one sack) and Tyler Kurrasch each had six tackles.
E/E finishes the season with a record of 9-2.
“Edgerton has a great ball club,” Jipson added. “It’s just too bad that we had to meet right here, because these are two state-tournament caliber teams with last year’s champion coming out of this section.”
With the win, C-G-B advances to play the team E/E beat in last year’s state championship game, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross.
E/E 6 0 0 14 – 20
C-G-B 6 16 16 0 – 38