Running attack, defense spark Warriors in rout
United North Central rushed for 327 yards and six touchdowns in rolling to a 44-8 win over West Central Area Friday night at Barrett.
James Clark opened the scoring by returning a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown and followed with a 1-yard TD run as the Warriors led 12-0 after the first quarter.
After West Central Area scored to open the second quarter, Zach Floyd's 36-yard TD run gave the Warriors an 18-8 lead at the half.
Owen Anderson's 2-yard TD run and Floyd's 42-yard TD run pushed UNC's lead to 32-8 entering the fourth quarter.
Anderson's 5-yard TD run and Brett Pinoniemi's 80-yard TD run concluded the scoring.
Floyd rushed 11 times for 123 yards, Pinoniemi added 82 yards on two carries and Clark rushed five times for 77 yards to lead the Warriors' offense. Clark completed 4 of 11 passes for 74 yards with Jack Lillquist making two receptions for 53 yards.
Defensively, Caleb Mostrom made six tackles and had two sacks and Anderson had five tackles. Mason Dailey had four tackles and a 28-yard interception return. Johan Howard also made four tackles.
"Going into the game, we were a little concerned about being flat after coming off such an emotional win at Park Rapids. It was a bit of a sluggish start, but some big plays on both sides of the ball really got us going," said UNC head coach Jeremy Nordick. "Offensively, I think we started to see the potential we've got from our skill positions and how physical our offensive line can potentially be. Defensively, our guys have a bit of a chip on their shoulders and take a lot of pride in being fast, physical and hostile. Our goal is to get all 11 guys to the football on every play. We seem to be doing better at that with each practice and each game."
UNC joins Ottertail Central and Pillager atop the Midwest Blue District standings at 1-0. Staples-Motley is 0-0 while West Central Area, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle and Wadena-Deer Creek are 0-1. OTC defeated W-DC 35-6 and Pillager defeated LP-GE 40-6 in Friday night's other district games. Crookston defeated Staples-Motley 32-7.
Warroad tops the Section 8AA standings with a 3-0 record while UNC joins Barnesville, Hawley and Crookston at 2-0. Bagley is 1-1 and Roseau fell to 0-2. Hawley defeated Roseau 56-12, Warroad defeated Pine River-Backus 34-13, Bagley defeated Blackduck 31-7 and Barnesville received a 2-0 forfeit win over Frazee.
UNC will host W-DC in another district game Friday night at Menahga. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.
"Overall it feels great to be 2-0 to start the season," said Nordick. "We have high expectations and hopefully we can continue to set those higher standards and get where we want to be."
UNC 12 6 14 12...44
WCA 0 8 0 0...8
UNC--Clark 65 fumble return (run failed)
UNC--Clark 1 run (kick failed)
WCA--Staples 8 pass from Anderson (PAT good)
UNC--Floyd 36 run (run failed)
UNC--Anderson 2 run (Clark run)
UNC--Floyd 42 run (pass failed)
UNC--Anderson 5 run (run failed)
UNC--Pinoniemi 80 run (run failed)
UNC OFFENSIVE STATISTICS
RUSHING: Floyd 11-123, Pinoniemi 2-82, Clark 5-77, Anderson 10-35.
PASSING: Clark 4-11 for 74 yards; Hodge 0-2.
RECEIVING: Lillquist 2-53, Aho 1-18, Floyd 1-3.
UNC DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
TACKLES: Mostrom 6, Anderson 5, Dailey 4, Howard 4, Floyd 3, Berttunen 3, Olson 3, Clark 3, Vry 3, Seibert 2, Pinoniemi 2, Tolkkinen 2, Hintzman 2, Aho 2, B. Bettin 2, G. Bettin 1, Lee.
QUARTERBACK SACKS: Mostrom 2, Berttunen 1, Anderson 1, Olson 1, Aho 1, Howard 1.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Clark 1.
INTERCEPTIONS: Dailey 1.