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South Ridge capitalizes on turnovers to top Tigers

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South Ridge capitalizes on turnovers to top Tigers
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The inability to complete drives in the red zone prevented the Nevis football team from playing in the Metrodome in a state 9-man semifinal game.


Nevis failed to score on three possessions inside the 10 and ended the game with a drive stalling at the 15 as South Ridge prevailed with a 24-18 victory in a state quarterfinal game at St. Cloud State University's Husky Stadium Friday night.

The Tigers seemed to have the momentum by scoring on the final play of the first half and on their first series of the second to claim an 18-8 lead. But South Ridge capitalized on two fumbles to take the lead before holding off three late scoring chances to advance to the state semifinals.

On the second play of the game, Robby McQuade intercepted a pass to give South Ridge the ball at the Nevis 47. A pass interference call on fourth-and-6 and a 19-yard pass play gave the Panthers a first down at the Nevis 9, but the Tigers held and took over at the 9.

An 11-play, 91-yard scoring drive followed as Nevis took the early lead. Collin Huckbody hit Taylor Chase for a 27-yard gain and followed with a 31-yard connection to Chase to give the Tigers a first down at the South Ridge 28. After a 10-yard run by Huckbody and 9-yard catch by Gavin Becker, Huckbody ran in from 1-yard out to give Nevis a 6-0 lead with 1:21 to play in the first quarter.

Both teams exchanged punts before the Panthers used a 14-play, 62-yard drive to take the lead. Bill Redding rushed six times for 41 yards before capping the drive with a 6-yard TD run on fourth-and-2. Kody Karppinen ran in the conversion and South Ridge led 8-6 with 4:37 to play in the first half.

On Nevis' next series, a 45-yard pass from Huckbody to Gavin Becker gave the Tigers a first down at the South Ridge 13. Huckbody's 2-yard run on fourth-and-1 gave Nevis a first-and-goal at the 2, but that drive stalled when McQuade intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it to the 22.

South Ridge was forced to punt and Nevis took over at midfield with :09 remaining in the half. After a 48-yard pass from Huckbody to Chase, Huckbody ran in from 2 yards out on the final play of the half as the Tigers carried a 12-8 lead into the intermission.

Nevis opened the second by recovering a pooch kick at the South Ridge 45. After two rushes by Huckbody for 18 yards, Huckbody hit Chase on a 27-yard route as the Tigers led 18-8 with 11:14 to go in the third quarter.

Once again the Tigers recovered a pooch kick, but South Ridge regained possession by recovering a fumble two plays later.

On third-and-12, Karppinen hit Redding on a screen pass and Redding ran 42 yards for a TD. Karppinen's conversion closed the gap to 18-16 with 10:03 to go in the third quarter.

South Ridge recovered another fumble and drove 44 yards in seven plays to take the lead. Karppinen gained 5 yards on third-and-4 before throwing a 31-yard pass as the Panthers reached the Nevis 2. Three plays later, Karppinen ran in from 2 yards out and ran in the conversion to give South Ridge a 24-18 lead at the 4:08 mark of the third quarter.

South Ridge, which hadn't allowed a team to score more than 20 points all season, kept that streak alive by stopping three Nevis drives into the red zone.

The Tigers used a 15-yard catch by Becker to reach the South Ridge 33. Huckbody followed an 18-yard run with a 6-yard carry, but Nevis eventually lost possession at the 7.

Huckbody opened the fourth quarter with an interception and hit Chase for a first down at the South Ridge 13, but a 6-yard pass to Chase on fourth-and-7 at the 10 ended that drive.

A short punt gave Nevis possession at the Panthers' 25, but South Ridge's defense again held.

After regaining possession at their own 47, an interception by McQuade on the next play gave South Ridge the ball with 3:24 to play.

Nevis' defense forced a punt, but the Tigers had to punt with 2:00 remaining.

The Tigers' defense held and forced another punt, but Nevis was pinned back at its own 5 with 1:06 left.

Huckbody engineered a scoring drive by following a 14-yard run with a pair of completions to Gerald Beckerleg as the Tigers drove to the South Ridge 38. Huckbody gained 13 yards, hit Chase on a 10-yard route and rushed 5 yards to the 15, but an incomplete pass on the final play of the game enabled South Ridge to hold on for the win.

Redding rushed 21 times for 73 yards and added seven catches for 114 yards to lead South Ridge, which improved to 11-1 on the season. Karppinen completed 8 of 19 passes for 132 yards for the Panthers, who went 1-8 last season. South Ridge advances to play Grand Meadow in a section semifinal game.

Huckbody completed 13 of 32 passes for 290 yards and rushed 26 times for 122 yards to lead the Tigers' offense, which finished with 436 yards. Chase caught seven passes for 176 yards while Huckbody and Beckerleg were in on nine tackles each for Nevis, which was rated No. 5 in the latest state poll and ended the season with an 11-1 record.

Nevis 6 6 6 0...18

South Ridge 0 8 16 0...24


N-C. Huckbody 1 run (kick failed)

SR-Redding 6 run (Karppinen run)

N-C. Huckbody 1 run (pass failed)

N-T. Chase 27 pass from C. Huckbody (kick failed)

SR-Redding 42 pass from Karppinen (Karppinen run)

SR-Karppinen 2 run (Karppinen run)


RUSHING: C. Huckbody 26-122, Miller 3-9, Beckerleg 1-8, Hitchcock 3-7, A. Becker 2-0.

PASSING: C. Huckbody 13-32-4 for 290 yards.

RECEIVING: T. Chase 7-176, G. Becker 3-69, Beckerleg 3-45.


SOLO TACKLES: Beckerleg 6, Dudley 6, C. Huckbody 5, Hitchcock 5, Keranen 5, T. Chase 5, A. Becker 3, C. Chase 3, Miller 3, G. Becker 1.

ASSISTED TACKLES: Halik 5, C. Huckbody 4, C. Chase 3, Beckerleg 3, Dudley 2, A. Becker 1, Hitchcock 1.