Running attack leads Vikings past Warriors
The United North Central football team ended the season with a 2-7 record following a 40-12 loss to Pelican Rapids in the Section 8AA playoffs.
Pelican Rapids rushed for 396 yards and five touchdowns to defeat United North Central 40-12 in a Section 8AA quarterfinal football playoff game at Pelican Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The No. 2-seeded Vikings used a 6-yard TD run by Matt Ziebell and a 3-yard TD run by Johnny Ziebell to claim a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
Jonah Howard’s 69-yard TD run cut the deficit to 14-6 before Carson McNeal’s 3-yard TD run before the half gave Pelican Rapids a 22-6 advantage.
The Vikings extended that lead to 40-6 on Johnny Ziebell’s 3-yard TD run and Logan Fahlje’s 5-yard TD reception from McHale Korf in the third quarter and Carter Johnson’s 3-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
UNC concluded the scoring when Kolby Kiser hit Howard on a 72-yard TD pass.
Matt Ziebell rushed 14 times for 112 yards, Jayden Rutherford had 80 yards on six carries, Korf rushed 12 times for 62 yards and Johnny Ziebell had 59 yards on 12 attempts to lead the Vikings’ balanced rushing attack. Pelican Rapids improved to 6-3.
The Warriors, who finished with a 2-6 record playing a 9-man schedule during the regular season, compiled 259 yards in offense while making the switch to 11 man for the playoffs. Howard rushed for 92 yards on nine carries while Brock Berttunen added 20 yards on two attempts. Eion Ness hauled in a 15-yard catch as Kiser completed 4 of 15 passes for 96 yards. UNC rushed for 158 yards while throwing for 101 yards.
Leading the Warriors on defense were Brandon Miller (eight solo tackles, 11 assists), Howard (five solo tackles, six assists) and Victor Aho (four solo tackles, five assists). Torrey Carlson and Gavin Ament were in on seven tackles each while Ivan Anderson and Dakota Meech were in on six tackles apiece. Tyce Lee intercepted a pass while Howard and Berttunen recovered fumbles to account for the Warriors’ three defensive turnovers.
“I was quite happy with the way my team played against Pelican Rapids. They showed no signs of quitting when we were down at halftime 22-6. They believed in themselves and each other. Unfortunately, we just couldn't stop them on offense. They had long sustaining drives and we just couldn't come up with that stop we needed,” said UNC head coach Luke Roberts. “The field conditions were not good; very wet, muddy and slippery (and windy at times). I think the field and weather conditions made it less noticeable (going from 9 man to 11 man) because you really couldn't air it out as much. Plus we were only one season out from playing 11 man, so the boys were able to make the adjustment back fairly quickly.”
In the other Section 8AA quarterfinal games, No. 1 Barnesville defeated No. 8 Hawley 48-8, No. 3 Frazee defeated No. 6 Bagley 27-7 and No. 4 Warroad edged No. 5 Crookston 18-8.