UNC rallies, defeats WDC for first win
Stetson Burkman's 63-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter sealed United North Central's 32-16 win over Wadena-Deer Creek in Prairie Conference North football game last Friday night at Wadena.
After a scoreless first quarter, Jeff Skoog gave the Warriors an 8-0 lead with a 1-yard TD run and conversion midway through the second quarter.
W-DC tied the game early in the third quarter on a 22-yard pass from Evan VanErp to Andrew VanErp.
The Warriors reclaimed the lead on Jordan Yliniemi's 4-yard TD run, but Dylan Dumpprope's 1-yard TD reception gave W-DC a 16-14 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Skoog's 21-yard TD run gave the Warriors a 20-16 advantage before Burkman's interception return pushed the lead to 26-16.
Dylan Huttunen's 8-yard TD run sealed the win as the Warriors picked up their first win of the season.
"(That) was a very big game for us. We knew it was going to be a grind, especially with the weather being cold and windy," said UNC head coach Jeremy Nordick. "It was huge in the fourth quarter to get a defensive touchdown. I thought Stetson's pick-6 was a key turning point in the game with the momentum swinging our way. We made some big plays down the stretch to pick up the victory. It was a total team effort all across the board."
Yliniemi rushed 31 times for 139 yards while Skoog finished with 67 yards on 12 carries as the Warriors rushed for 211 yards in the game. Brandon Junes completed 4 of 8 passes for 62 yards with Yliniemi catching two passes for 45 yards.
Defensively, the Warriors forced three turnovers with Bob Lusti and Tristan Kjellberg also intercepting passes. Lusti led the defense with eight tackles while Drake Anderson had seven tackles.
The win lifted UNC to 1-3 in the conference and 1-5 overall while W-DC fell to 1-3 in the conference and 2-4 overall.
"Offensively, I thought the key to the game was being able to control the line of scrimmage and run the football. We really emphasized the run game and it showed. I thought our offensive line really had their best game to this point. They fired off the ball and created holes for our running backs, who ran hard all night. Defensively we knew that WDC has some really solid skill players that can really be explosive. I thought we did a pretty good job of limiting the big plays," said Nordick. "We had some guys that really stepped up. We've been working hard in practice to get better and I feel we're turning the corner to becoming a solid football team. We've had some bad breaks, but the guys have had great attitudes and continue to work hard. It was great to see the work pay off."
UNC 0 8 6 18.....32
W-DC 0 0 16 0.....16
UNC-J. Skoog 1 run (J. Skoog run)
WDC-A. VanErp 22 pass from E. VanErp (Dumpprope pass from E. VanErp)
UNC-Yliniemi 4 run (run failed)
WDC-Dumpprope 1 pass from E. VanErp (Carlson pass from E. VanErp)
UNC-J. Skoog 21 run (run failed)
UNC-Burkman 63 interception return (pass failed)
UNC-Huttunen 8 run (run failed)
RUSHING. UNC: Yliniemi 31-139, J. Skoog 12-67, Huttunen 1-8, Skaro 1-3, Junes 2-(-6). W-DC: E. VanErp 17-97, Krause 13-58.
PASSING. UNC: Junes 4-8-1 for 62 yards. W-DC: E. VanErp 16-29-3 for 147 yards.
RECEIVING. UNC: Yliniemi 2-45, Burkman 1-10, Carlson 1-7. W-DC: A. VanErp 6-65, Dumpprope 6-49, Cooper 3-27.
UNC DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
TACKLES: Lusti 8, Anderson 7, Yliniemi 6, J. Skoog 5, Huttunen 4, Carlson 3, Skaro 3, Kjellberg 3, Schoon 2, A. Schwartz 2, Weiseler 2.
INTERCEPTIONS: Lusti 1, Kjellberg 1, Burkman 1.