W-WG nips Edgerton, 14-6
EDGERTON -- Austin Quade's 73-yard touchdown burst in the third quarter Friday night lifted the Westbrook-Walnut Grove Chargers to a 14-6 victory over the Edgerton Flying Dutchmen in a showdown between the two Southwest Ridge Conference leaders.
The victory pulls W-WG (4-1, 6-1) even with Edgerton (4-1, 5-2) atop the league standings and also puts the Chargers in the driver's seat for one of the top two seeds in the Section 3 9-Man tournament.
"This was a fun game and a big victory for us," W-WG co-head coach Leo Theisen said following the game. "Defensively, we really got the job done tonight after we made a few adjustments."
W-WG held the Flying Dutchmen scoreless for the final 44 minutes of the ballgame, as Edgerton put together an impressive drive to score the game's first points early in the first quarter.
However, Quade, who rushed for 228 yards on 29 carries, scored a pair of touchdowns and a two-point conversion for the only other points in the game, and the Charger defense came up with key stops the rest of the way to halt the Flying Dutchmen offense.
Edgerton began the game with the ball at its own 17-yard line, and Chace Hulstein (21 carries for 117 yards) churned out a 17-yard gain to begin the drive.
Hulstein, who had 53 of the 83 yards on the 10-play drive, capped the march with a 12-yard touchdown run. The two-point attempt failed, but Edgerton was up 6-0 with 8:03 to play in the initial quarter.
"We executed very well on that first drive," Edgerton head coach Andrew Fleischman said. "We ran the ball well and things were looking good for us at that point."
Keyed by a 17-yard reception by Jace Jarmer from Derek Eichner, W-WG responded with a drive that reached Edgerton's 23-yard line. However, Hulstein broke up a pair of passes to halt the Chargers' possession.
Edgerton later forced a W-WG fumble, with Marty Van Peursem recovering at the Chargers' 38-yard line. W-WG got the ball right back, though, when Ben Pacholl came up with the first of his two interceptions on the night.
After the teams traded punts, W-WG took over at its own 14-yard line with just over seven minutes left in the second quarter.
On the first play of the series, Quade, who moved to tailback for the injured Josh Merrick, gained 42 yards on a sweep to the left side to move the ball into Edgerton territory. Quade later surged for 18 yards before catching a 10-yard shovel pass from Eichner to convert a key fourth-down play for the Chargers, setting up a first-and-goal situation at the Edgerton eight-yard line.
Quade scored on the next play on another sweep to the left, as W-WG pulled even at 6-6 with 4:14 remaining in the first half. The two-point attempt failed.
Edgerton drove to the Chargers' 15-yard line on the ensuing possession, but a trio of incompletions kept the Flying Dutchmen from scoring right before haltime -- sending the teams into the break tied at 6.
The Flying Dutchmen defense forced a quick three-and-out on the first series of the second half and took over at their own 25-yard line.
Hulstein and Van Peursem (13 carries for 85 yards) reeled off bursts of 21 and 17 yards, respectively, to begin the possession, as Edgerton was on the move once again.
Later, with the ball inside the red zone once again, the Flying Dutchmen made a costly mistake on a handoff exchange, and W-WG's Joe Doubler pounced on the loose ball to stop another Edgerton drive.
W-WG was forced to punt after just three plays, but the Chargers got the ball right back when Pacholl intercepted another aerial from Alex Heard at the 27-yard line.
"We made too many mistakes on offense, but the Chargers had a lot to do with that," Fleischman said. "They put us in some tough situations, and we didn't convert on some of the chances we had to score."
It didn't take long for W-WG to turn that turnover into points, as on the first play of the series, Quade busted free untouched on the right side for a 73-yard touchdown run. He added the two-point conversion by scoring on a sweep to the left, giving the Chargers a 14-6 lead with 4:55 to go in the third quarter.
W-WG's defense then forced a three-and-out, and the Chargers put together a sustained drive heading into the fourth quarter.
Eichner (49 passing yards, 33 rushing yards) ran for 18 yards on three attempts to help the Chargers move from their own 43-yard line to Edgerton's eight.
On a fourth-and-three situation, Quade appeared to get first-down yardage, but was just short after a measurement -- giving Edgerton the ball at its own five-yard line with 8:31 remaining.
Van Peursem had a 19-yard run to get the Flying Dutchmen near midfield, but Justin Knakmuhs sacked Heard on a fourth-down play to force an Edgerton punt.
Holding penalties on the ensuing possession hurt the Chargers, as they punted the ball away from their own 25-yard line.
Edgerton then took over for one last shot with 2:23 to play, as the ball was spotted at W-WG's 45-yard line.
W-WG's defense came up big again, as after an incompletion and a short run, Knakmuhs had another sack to make it fourth-and-16. Edgerton couldn't convert on the next play, and W-WG took three knees to seal the victory.
"I thought we moved the ball very well tonight," W-WG co-head coach Carter Ross said. "Quade was really tough tonight, as he followed his blocks well and showed off some nice speed for a big guy."
Edgerton's Pat Kleinjan rushed for 33 yards, as the Flying Dutchmen gained 229 yards on the ground and just 25 through the air. Heard completed 3-of-13 passes.
Brandon Gunnink charted 23 total tackles for the Flying Dutchmen, who visit Lincoln HI/Lake Benton Wednesday.
W-WG hosts Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth Wednesday.
W-WG 0 6 8 0 -- 14
Edgerton 6 0 0 0 -- 6