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Football: Late TD prevents Nevis from reaching title game

Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal scores with 20 seconds to play for a 22-19 victory.

Nevis' Ethan Lewis (33) held on to Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal quarterback Connor Nelson as Ian Ahrendt (8) assisted on a tackle during a Section 6 9-man semifinal game on Oct. 30, 2021. Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

A heartbreaking finish prevented the Nevis football team from advancing to the Section 6 9-man championship game.

Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal scored the go-ahead touchdown with 20 seconds remaining for a 22-19 victory in the section semifinals at Nevis on Saturday, Oct. 30.

Nevis seemed to be in control after taking a 13-0 lead into the intermission before the Titans rallied.

NCE/UH recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and used an offsides penalty on the Tigers on fourth-and-1 and a 15-yard run by quarterback Connor Nelson to reach the Nevis 5. The Tigers’ defense held and took over at the 1.

The Tigers were forced to punt, but Ian Ahrendt recovered a fumble on the return. A 10-yard run by quarterback Ethan Klimek led to a first down, but that drive stalled and Nevis punted.


After forcing the Titans to punt, Nevis opened the scoring with a five-play, 50-yard drive. Ahrendt gained 8 yards on third-and-1 before Klimek hit Cain Mitchell on a 29-yard scoring route. Klimek kicked the extra point and Nevis led 7-0 with 10:57 to play in the first half.

Nevis’ defense forced another punt and the Tigers responded with a eight-play, 79-yard scoring drive. Mitchell’s 12-yard reception started the drive and Ahrendt followed a 25-yard run with two carries for 12 yards to set up a 21-yard TD pass from Klimek to Austin Ahrendt on fourth-and-11. That gave the Tigers a 13-0 lead with 2:24 to play in the first half.

Nelson had two carries for 21 yards as NCE/UH marched to the Nevis 35, but that drive stalled to end the half.

NCE/UH, which was held to 66 yards offensively in the first half, took the opening kickoff and drove 59 yards in 14 plays to cut the gap to 13-8. Nelson rushed for 2 yards on fourth-and-1 and hit Cole Bentley for a 16-yard gain before Dawson Bjerke capped off the drive with a 2-yard TD run. Reed Klemetson caught the conversion to cap off that drive that took 7:32 off the clock.

Nevis responded with a scoring threat as Joe Houchin’s 27-yard kickoff return and Ian Ahrendt’s 25-yard run led to a first down at the NCE/UH 11. The Titans recovered a fumble on the next play to end that threat.

Nevis’ defense forced a punting situation, but a personal foul penalty for bull rushing the center kept that drive alive. The Titans took advantage of that penalty by finishing off a 10-play, 96-yard drive on a 62-yard TD reception by Bjerke. Cole Mortenson caught the conversion pass as NCE/UH took a 16-13 lead with 8:00 to play.

The Tigers responded with a 13-play, 66-yard drive to regain the lead. Ian Ahrendt had three carries for 13 yards before Klimek scrambled for 18 yards to the NCE/UH 24. Ian Ahrendt gained 5 yards on third-and-4 to keep the drive alive before Klimek hit Mitchell on a 10-yard scoring route on fourth-and-7 as Nevis led 19-16 with 1:52 remaining.

NCE/UH needed only six plays to drive 67 yards for the game-winning score. Bentley opened the drive with a 25-yard run before a pair of 6-yard runs by Nelson and Bjerke and a 5-yard gain by Nelson led to a first down at the Nevis 15. After an illegal motion penalty, Nelson hit Mortenson for an 18-yard TD to give the Titans the lead.


Houchin returned the ensuing kickoff 30 yards and Mitchell caught a 10-yard pass as Nevis reached the NCE/UH 45. But an interception on the next play ended the game.

Ian Ahrendt rushed for 133 yards on 20 carries and Klimek added 63 yards on 11 attempts as the Tigers rushed for 205 yards. Klimek completed 6 of 11 passes for 85 yards with Mitchell making five receptions for 64 yards as Nevis finished with 290 yards offensively.

Mitchell and Ethan Lewis made nine solo tackles each with Ian Ahrendt and Austin Ahrendt making seven solo tackles apiece. Ian Ahrendt was also in on eight assisted tackles as the Tigers ended the season with an 8-2 record.

Nelson rushed 24 times for 104 yards and completed 4 of 8 passes for 95 yards as the Titans improved to 8-2.

Nevis defeated NCE/UH 21-14 in the regular-season finale to earn the No. 2 seed in the section. The Titans, who received the No. 3 seed, will play No. 1 Fertile-Beltrami for the section title. Fertile-Beltrami improved to 10-0 with a 14-6 win over No. 4 Clearbrook-Gonvick in the other semifinal game.

NCE/UH 0 0 8 14..22
Nevis 0 13 0 6
N-Mitchell 29 pass from Et. Klimek (Et. Klimek kick)
N-A. Ahrendt 21 pass from Et. Klimek (kick failed)
NCE/UH-Bjerke 2 run (Klemetson pass from Nelson)
NCE/UH-Bjerke 62 pass from Nelson (Mortenson pass from Nelson)
N-Mitchell 10 pass from Et. Klimek (pass failed)
NCE/UH-Mortenson 18 pass from Nelson (pass failed)
RUSHING. NCE/UH: Nelson 24-104, Bjerke 8-38, Bentley 4-30. Nevis: I. Ahrendt 20-133, Et. Klimek 11-63, Mitchell 1-6, Houchin 2-2, Et. Lewis 1-1.
PASSING. NCE/UH; Nelson 4-8-0 for 95 yards. Nevis: Et. Klimek 6-11-1 for 85 yards.
RECEIVING: NCE/UH: Mortenson 2-80, Bentley 1-16. Nevis: Mitchell 5-64, A. Ahrendt 1-21.
KICKOFF RETURNS. Nevis: Houchin 3-76, I. Ahrendt 1-8.
PUNT RETURNS. Nevis: Mitchell 1-2.
SOLO TACKLES: Mitchell 9, Et. Lewis 9, I. Ahrendt 7, A. Ahrendt 7, Keiser 4, Thompson 3, Houchin 3, Benson 2, El. Klimek 2, McNamee 2, Rice 1.
ASSISTED TACKLES: I. Ahrendt 8, Thompson 4, Houchin 4, Keiser 3, Et. Lewis 3, A. Ahrendt 2, Rice 1, Benson 1.
KICKOFFS: BEnson 4-143.
PUNTS: El. Klimek 2-73.

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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