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3AA football playoffs: JCC dominates, Luverne nips PA

Numbers one and two proved themselves in the first round of the Section 3 Class AA football playoffs Tuesday.

The Jackson County Central Huskies, seeded No. 1, demolished eighth-seeded St. James 56-0 in Jackson. And the second-seeded Maple River Eagles shut out the seventh-seeded Windom Area Eagles 49-0.

In the other games involving Section 3AA teams, Luverne edged Pipestone Area 25-24 to gain revenge for losing the “Battle Axe” trophy in the regular season, and Martin County West clipped New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva 40-14.

Semifinal games are Saturday at 3 p.m. Luverne will be at Maple River and Martin County West will be at Jackson to face JCC.

JCC 56, St. James 0

JACKSON — The Southwest Conference champion Huskies couldn’t be stopped, rushing for 554 yards and getting some individual performances that would make Adrian Peterson blush.

Sophomore Keegan Moore led the attack with 167 yards on eight carries. Sophomore Avery Henderson carried eight times for 122 yards. Junior Demonte Thomas added 97 yards on nine carries and sophomore Caleb Will carried 13 times for 86 yards of real estate.

Moore scored the game’s first touchdown on a 65-yard run and he scored the second touchdown on a 35-yard run. Paden Moore opened the scoring in the second quarter with a 12-yard TD carry and Keegan scored the next two before halftime, on 11 and 23 yards.

JCC led 35-0 at intermission.

In the second half, Will scored twice on carries of four and five yards and Thomas finished it off with a 26-yard TD run.

Jackson County Central didn’t pass often; only four times, in fact, with one completion for 33 yards. The Huskies’ 587 total yards of offense corresponded with St. James’ 28 yards rushing and 74 passing for a total of 102.

Kaleb Mohwinkel led the Saints on the ground with 20 yards on nine carries, and Kody Curry led in pass receptions with three for 38 yards.

Jackson County Central is 8-1 on the 2013 season. St. James finishes 2-7.

St. James 0 0 0 0 — 0

JCC 14 21 7 14 — 56

Maple River 49, Windom Area 0

MAPLETON — In a battle of Eagles, an Eagle had to win. And it was a decisive victory as Maple River outscored Windom Area 21-0 in the first quarter and led 35-0 at halftime.

Senior wide receiver Casey Decker scored four times for Maple River, including the first three touchdowns of the game. The first came on a 55-yard pass reception from Jay Sohre, the second on a 17-yard run and the third on a 15-yard pass from Sohre. In the third quarter, Decker got his fourth TD on a 40-yard fumble return.

Other TDs were scored by Andrew Alprecht on a 41-yard interception return, Payton See 60-yard interception return and Aaron Trio on a nine-yard run.

Despite the loss, Windom Area witnessed a solid performance from junior August Nielsen, who in 32 rushing attempts gained 105 yards. Teammate Zach Bartosch completed four of 18 passes for 54 yards.

Windom Area head coach Bob Elwell praised the running of Nielsen and the performance of senior offensive-defensive lineman Max Sykora. “He’s been a building block for us all year,” Elwell said.

Elwell was suitably impressed with Maple River for their “extremely disciplined” play. “Maple River just jumped out early, made a few big plays early,” he said.

Windom Area has struggled with big plays through much of the season. “It’s a battle we’ve been fighting all year long. A couple of things start going bad, and it’s tough to battle your way out,” said Elwell, who added that the season, overall, was not a disappointment.

“I was happy with it. I think we made some strides as a program. Ultimately, I think we found out what it takes to compete in the section and in the conference with some of the best teams.”

Windom Area finished its season at 2-7. Maple River is 8-1.

Windom A 0 0 0 0 — 0

Maple River 21 14 14 0 — 49

Luverne 25, Pipestone Area 24

LUVERNE — The highlight of Pipestone Area’s season was a 22-21 victory over arch-rival Luverne on Sept. 27. It earned the Arrows the coveted “Battle Axe” trophy, which they hadn’t won since 2002.

But despite their best intentions, the Arrows couldn’t beat the Cardinals a second time.

On Tuesday, LHS led Pipestone Area 25-16 at halftime, spotted the Arrows eight points in the third quarter, and held on in a scoreless fourth quarter.

Andrew Verhey was the Cards’ chief offensive weapon, rushing 20 times for 178 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Teammate Josh Slieter wasn’t far behind, carrying 15 times for 102 yards and two scores (one by pass reception).

Pipestone Area got on the board first on a 69-yard first quarter TD pass from junior quarterback Boyer Bouman to Justin Rops. Luverne tallied the next three scores on a 17-yard Slieter run, a 71-yard Verhey run and a 68-yard pass from Kendall Meyer to Slieter.

Still before halftime, Bouman scored on a one-yard run and Verhey scored on a seven-yard run.

Pipestone Area finished the game’s scoring with 40 seconds remaining in the third quarter as Bouman passed 12 yards to Daniel Larson. In all three of the Arrows’ touchdowns, they converted two-point conversions.

Team totals showed Luverne with 18 first downs compared to Pipestone Area’s 13. The Cardinals won the rushing war 291-100 and completed five of 12 passes for 116 yards compared to the Arrows’ 11 of 25 for 181 yards.

Luverne is 6-3. Pipestone Area ends at 3-6.

PA 8 8 8 0 — 24

Luverne 12 13 0 0 — 25

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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