11/17/2018 12:23:00 PM Wolverines win, advance to Prep Bowl
State Football Results and Schedule
Class Nine-Man State Tournament Quarterfinals Cromwell 14, NCE/UH 7 Spring Grove 27, RTR 26 MLA 23, Verndale 6 MIB 28, SAC 20 (ot)
Semifinals: at US Bank Stadium (Minneapolis) Spring Grove 48, Cromwell 12 MLA 42, MIB 8
Prep Bowl: at US Bank Stadium (Minneapolis). Nov. 23 Spring Grove vs. Mt. Lake Area, 10 a.m.
MIB 00-00-00-08 = 08 MLA 14-15-07-06 = 42 Mt. Lake Area imposed its will on the opening possession of the game and never looked back Friday morning, rolling to a 42-8 win over Mt. Iron-Buhl is the Class Nine-Man state semifinals, played at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The Wolverines received the opening kickoff and proceeded to march 75 yards in 11 plays, all on the ground, setting the tone for the game. MLA turned four of its five offensive possessions in the first half into points.
Meanwhile, the Wolverine defense completely bottled up a speedy MIB offense, holding the Rangers to 148 yards of total offense for the game. MLA's combination of size and speed ultimately wore down the Rangers on both sides of the ball.
MLA took the game's opening possession and turned it into points. Ten-yard pickups by Mace Herrig and Drake Harder and an 18-yard run by Herrig set up a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Abraham Stoesz for the touchdown. Stoesz added the two-point conversion run, giving MLA a quick 8-0 lead.
On its opening possession, MIB picked up a first down on a pass completion and pushed the ball near midfield. On fourth-and-two from its own 49, MIB attempted a fake punt, which the Wolverine defense sniffed out and stopped in its tracks, turning the ball over on downs.
However, MLA gave the Rangers the game's first break two plays later, when a mishandled snap led to a fumble, recovered by MIB at the Wolverine 47. However, four plays later, an incomplete pass on fourth down from the MLA 40 gave the Wolverines the ball back.
After not attempting a pass in its quarterfinal win, the Wolverines took to the air to start their third drive. A 26-yard completion from Stoesz to Ethan Nickel and a 13-yard Brett Willaby run set up a 5-yard touchdown dive by Drake Harder, giving MLA a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
The Wolverine defense forced a Ranger punt, with MLA taking over at its own 46. A 12-yard run by Harder and a 26-yard completion from Stoesz to Nickel set up a 2-yard run by Herrig. David Larson's extra-point kick gave the Wolverines a 21-0 lead.
After the Wolverine defense forced another three-and-out, MLA took over on the Ranger 46. Four plays later, the Wolverines were in the end zone, as Harder dove over the goal line for a 4-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion pass from Stoesz to Herrig gave MLA a 29-0 lead at halftime.
The second half started with the Wolverine defense pushing the Rangers backwards for a three-and-out. MLA started from the MIB 45. A 12-yard run from Stoesz helped set up an 18-yard touchdown pass from Stoesz to Zach Spinks. Larson's extra-point kick gave MLA a 36-0 lead.
Late in the third quarter, the Wolverine defense held the Rangers short on fourth down near midfield. MLA took over from its own 49 and covered 51 yards in nine plays. A 23-yard run by Stoesz and an 11-yard pass from Stoesz to Harder set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Willaby, making the score 42-0.
MIB had its best drive of the game to close out the game, covering 81 yards in nine plays. Backup quarterback Asher Zubich scored on a 1-yard sneak with 10 seconds left on the clock, then added the two-point conversion to make the final score 42-8.
Stoesz led the Wolverines on the ground with 15 carries for 102 yards. Harder had 11 carries for 55 yards and Herrig added nine carries for 55 yards.
Stoesz completed 10-of-16 passes for 134 yards. Spinks had four catches for 34 yards. Nickel caught three passes for 59 yards.
Defensively, David Larson and Kade Kremmin each had two quarterback sacks. Jon Faber recorded an interception.
With the win, MLA improves to 12-0 overall and advances to the Prep Bowl state championship game, which will be played Nov. 23 at US Bank Stadium. The Wolverines will face 13-0 Spring Grove, which is the defending Class Nine-Man state champion. Game time is scheduled for 10 a.m.