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Section 3 9-Man football: MLA wins in overtime

CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE Mountain Lake Area junior Jacob Junker (38) works to wrap up Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley’s Zak Adelman in Friday’s Section 3 9-man championship game in Marshall.

MARSHALL — In a battle of Wolverines Friday, the only question that remained was which colored team would escape.

That question was answered in overtime as maroon-and-white Mountain Lake Area knocked off defending state champion Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley in football’s 9-Man Section 3 final. In a battle befitting two undefeated teams seeded No. 1 (C-G-B) and No. 2 (MLA) in the section, it was Mountain Lake Area junior Zach Dickens who intercepted a pass in the extended period which led to the decisive touchdown and a wild celebration.

The final score was 30-24 on Southwest State University’s Mattke Field in Marshall. MLA thus advances to a Saturday, Nov. 9, state quarterfinal.

“We’re coming back here and we love this facility,” Mountain Lake Area coach Tim Kirk exclaimed after Friday’s game. “We have a few things to clean up but overall the kids did a really good job today.”

Mountain Lake Area senior Carter Kirk opened the game’s scoring on a 32-yard quarterback keeper to top off the game’s opening drive. C-G-B countered with a first quarter score from junior tailback Zak Adelman.

Alex Gerdes rallied for MLA, connecting with Kirk for a 13-yard reception to paydirt as MLA would continue, earning the game’s initial upper hand in the second frame.

Dickens and senior Andrew Hempeck each stepped in front of passes for interceptions in that second quarter while C-G-B quarterback Damon Gibson had a 51-yard touchdown run called back due to holding.

As the game moved on, both teams settled down and subdued the track meet, so to speak.

“I thought it would be a 45- or 50- point game but they buckled down. We also worked on our defensive reads, figuring out their cutbacks,” coach Kirk said. “It is just one of those things where you have to adapt.

“They made some adjustments on our pass routes and, all in all, it ended up being a slugfest for awhile,” he added.

Adelman opened the second half scoring for C-G-B, knotting the ballgame at 16-16 with 7:59 to go in the third frame. Hempeck answered for MLA with a touchdown reception of his own.

Both defenses traded momentum before C-G-B finally knotted the game 24-24 on a quarterback keeper up the middle with 4:24 to go in regulation.

In overtime, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley had first possession of the football. But Dickens’ interception set up the game-winner.

MLA went to its power formation, allowing Hempeck to rush in for the score. The dog pile ensued in the end zone.

“It was difficult for our defense today. Our coaches just told us to read the guards because that determines the plays,” Dickens said after the game. “It worked out pretty well.”

Carter Kirk led MLA to its win with 14 keepers for 97 yards. That all went with 19 completions for 201 yards through the air. Gerdes had six catches for 74 yards and junior Eric Wenner made five catches for 69 yards.

“Two years ago we lost in the semifinals of sections in overtime. I just didn’t want that to happen again. We went to our I-formation instead of our shotgun and we got it,” Kirk said. “I’m proud of this team. We played well.”

Mountain Lake Area will play the Section 1 champion beginning at noon Saturday at Southwest State.

MLA 16 0 8 0 6 — 30

C-G-B 8 0 8 8 0 — 24

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson is the Daily Globe sports writer. He hails from southwest Iowa and served as sports editor at the Audubon County Advocate Journal there for 2 ½ years before moving to Worthington in October 2013. Caleb trys to enjoy life and everybody that he meets. He enjoys music, playing guitar and drums, and is an avid sports fan. 
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