Cougars' 1-2 punch too much for Tigers
It was no secret what the Nevis football team had to do in order to win the Section 6 9-man title Friday at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
The key for the Tigers was to contain Ada-Borup's Bill Atwood and Aaron Olson.
Like every other team this season, Nevis was unable to stop those two senior running backs as Atwood and Olson combined for 231 rushing yards in sparking the Cougars to a 37-7 victory.
Atwood and Olson scored all five of Ada-Borup's touchdowns and surpassed 2,000 rushing yards for the season as the Cougars won their third consecutive section title.
Ada-Borup dominated most of the first quarter in building a 14-0 lead.
After recovering an onside kick to open the game, the Cougars marched 44 yards in eight plays to open the scoring. A 17-yard run by Olson set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Atwood as Ada-Borup had a 6-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
Both teams exchanged punts before the Cougars struck again on a 44-yard screen pass to Atwood to make it 14-0 with 3:47 to play in the first quarter.
Nevis, which was held to six plays for no yards on its first two possessions, drove 61 yards in five plays to get on the scoreboard. Anthony Becker rushed twice for 12 yards for the Tigers' initial first down before Zach Anderson hit Dylan Stenberg on a 47-yard scoring pass. Sean Howes kicked the extra point and the Tigers were within 14-7 with 1:14 to play in the first quarter.
The Cougars would control the rest of the game.
After pinning the Tigers at their own 5, Ada-Borup's defense forced a punt and the Cougars took over at the Nevis 24. A 14-yard run by Olson set up a 5-yard TD run by Olson as the defending section champs held a 22-7 lead with 9:16 to play in the first half.
A 14-yard reception by Stenberg was the Tigers' only other first down of the first half. Nevis' defense also played well the rest of the half, limiting the Cougars to only two more first downs and stopping another scoring drive by recovering a fumble at the Nevis 38.
Ada-Borup opened the second half with a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive to put the game out of reach. Olson's 23-yard gain, Atwood's 4-yard carry on fourth-and-1 at the Nevis 42, and Atwood's 8-yard run set up a 23-yard TD pass from Jace Hennen to Olson. Atwood's conversion gave the Cougars a 30-7 lead with 7:03 to play in the third quarter.
Nevis started the ensuing drive at its own 1. A penalty for too many men on the field gave the Tigers a first down at the 12, but Ada-Borup's defense held and forced a punt.
Nevis' defense held and the Tigers took over at their own 36, but the Cougars recovered a fumble to regain possession at the 37. A 24-yard pass to Brandon Burke set up a 12-yard scoring run by Olson. That three-play drive gave Ada-Borup a 37-7 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
Stenberg followed a 9-yard run with a 19-yard carry as the Tigers drove to the Ada-Borup 40. That drive stalled when Stenberg was stopped short at the 31 on fourth-and-4.
The Tigers regained possession with 3:24 to play, but couldn't score as Ada-Borup advanced to the state playoffs.
Olson rushed 18 times for 130 yards, Atwood added 101 yards on 21 carries and Hennen completed 4 of 9 passes for 106 yards as the Cougars compiled 354 yards in total offense.
Stenberg rushed 13 times for 32 yards and caught two passes for 60 yards while Becker had 38 yards on 12 attempts as the Tigers were held to 168 yards in total offense. Nevis ended the season with an 8-3 record.
Ada-Borup, which opened the season with a 42-22 loss to Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke, will carry a nine-game winning streak into a rematch with GGG Friday at the Fargodome. The Cougars have outscored their last nine opponents by a 436-47 margin, including shutouts over Norman County West (64-0), Rothsay (71-0), Ulen-Hitterdal (32-0) and Waubun (73-0).
Ada-Borup is 9-1 and ranked No. 7 in the latest state 9-man poll. G-G-G is 11-0 and ranked No. 2 in the state.
AB-Atwood 1 run (kick failed)
AB-Atwood 44 pass from Hennen (Munoz pass from Hennen)
N-Stenberg 47 pass from Anderson (Howes kick)
AB-Olson 5 run (Olson run)
AB-Olson 23 pass from Hennen (Atwood run)
AB-Olson 12 run (Petrick kick)
RUSHING. Nevis: Becker 12-38, Stenberg 13-32, Howes 6-25, Halfmann 5-12, Huckbody 2-1, Anderson 1-(-2). Ada-Borup: Olson 18-130, Atwood 21-101, Halle 5-12, Thompson 2-5, Hennen 1-0.
PASSING. Nevis: Anderson 2-8-0 for 60 yards; Stenberg 1-1-0 for 2 yards. Ada-Borup: Hennen 4-9-0 for 106 yards.
RECEIVING. Nevis: Stenberg 2-60, Howes 1-2. Ada-Borup: Atwood 2-59, Burke 1-24, Olson 1-23.