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E/E continues surge, tops W-WG 32-22

WESTBROOK -- A few weeks ago, Carl Haag said his team caught a spark. A junior running back for the Edgerton/Ellsworth football team, Haag and the Flying Dutchmen started the year 1-5. However, something clicked the last two weeks of the regular ...

Westbrook vs Edgerton web.jpg
Edgerton/Ellsworth's Carl Haag (20) breaks a tackle by Westbrook-Walnut Grove's Jace Paplow (26) and runs upfield. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

WESTBROOK - A few weeks ago, Carl Haag said his team caught a spark.

A junior running back for the Edgerton/Ellsworth football team, Haag and the Flying Dutchmen started the year 1-5. However, something clicked the last two weeks of the regular season.

“We got a spark and kept it going,” Haag said. “Just staying together as a team. We talk about family during practice, and we stayed together as a family.”

They kept that momentum Tuesday night as the sixth-seeded Dutchmen defeated third-seeded Westbrook-Walnut Grove 32-22 in the opening round of the Section 3 9-man playoffs.

“I think we played awesome,” Haag said. “I think we played like we wanted to. This is what we want. We have to put this one away and get ready for next week.”

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E/E righted the ship this season with a victory over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, which was ranked No. 10 at the time. That started the current three-game winning streak.

“I think the R-T-R game was a big game for us in terms of our confidence to find a way to win that game,” E/E head coach Andrew Fleischman said. “The thing that’s been great is sometimes even when our results haven’t been what we want, our practices have always been good. We’ve gotten better every day in practice. It’s nice to see us play our best football at the end.”

From the opening quarter on Tuesday, the Flying Dutchmen were poised to make sure history didn’t repeat from the September game that saw W-WG win 36-6.

“This game, we wanted it more,” Haag said. “I think they were expecting to come in here and beat us again. We had a couple guys out. This time, we played like we wanted to. We had a couple guys back, and we played like champions.”

E/E struck first as Nolan Buckridge (11 carries, 48 yards) capped a long drive with a two-yard touchdown.

On their next possession, the Dutchmen needed one play as Haag scored from 77 yards out.

W-WG answered as Nathan Ross (16-for-30 passing, 194 yards) threw a 21-yard touchdown to Andrew Quade before Quade ran in from four yards out, trimming the lead to 16-14.

The Chargers started the second half with the ball, but the drive stalled at the 1-yard line on a fourth down as the third quarter was scoreless.

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E/E started the high-scoring fourth quarter with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Brayden Kuiper (5-of-7 passing, 82 yards) to Tannan Groen (12 carries, 55 yards). W-WG answered again as Ross found Quade (23 rushes, 101 yards, eight catches, 158 yards) for a 22-yard strike, but the Chargers trailed 24-22.

“I was getting nervous,” Haag said. “We did a good job of staying together. Coach always talks about, no matter what happens, we have to stay together. That’s what we did.”

E/E responded on the next drive as Haag scored on a 41-yard run to push the lead to 10 points.

“I had an awesome night,” said Haag, who finished with 151 yards on 10 carries. “The line played great. I think that was the difference between this game and last game. Everybody played great tonight. Everybody did.”

On the ensuing possession, the Chargers threw a touchdown, but a penalty negated the play. W-WG turned the ball over on downs to end the game.

“They’ve been playing well,” W-WG co-head coach Carter Ross said. “We had our chances. We had it on the 1, the end of the game we scored, but we lined up offsides. That would have changed the game. The kids played hard. Both schools are sitting with 18 kids dressed. They are playing 10 kids, we are playing 10 kids and battling. It wasn’t meant to be tonight.”

E/E advances to face second-seeded Hills-Beaver Creek at 3 p.m. Saturday in Hills.

Edgerton/Ellsworth 16 0 0 16 -- 32Westbrook-Walnut Grove 0 14 0 8 -- 22

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