|10/28/2022 12:14:00 PM|
Wildcats win first round, onto semis against St. Anthony
by CHUCK FITZERHutchinson 48, Chisago Lakes 20
The Hutchinson Tigers, last year’s Class 4AAAA state champions and currently ranked second in the state, beat the Wildcats 48-20 in the final game of the regular season Wednesday, October 19 at Chisago Lakes High School.
The Wildcats kept the game close early. Trailing 16-0, Gavin Lewis hit Nate Bluhm for a ten-yard touchdown pass with eight minutes left in the second quarter. After an unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt, the Wildcats trailed 16-6. After Hutchinson scored again a couple of minutes later, the Wildcats answered with another touchdown of their own, this one a 15-yard pass from Lewis to Nate Schmidt, with 2:38 to go in the half to make the score 24-12. But the Tigers scored again with 48 seconds to go in the second quarter and went into halftime with a 32-12 lead.
Hutchinson scored midway through the third quarter to make it 40-12. Evan Lavalle scored on a four-yard run three minutes later, and ran in the two-pointer, to cut the lead to 40-20. The Tigers added another touchdown just before the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter. Hutchinson called off the dogs in the fourth quarter and neither team scored, keeping the final score at 48-20.
Levi Teetzel was a beast for the Tigers, carrying the ball 23 times for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran in five of their six two-point conversions. A.J. Ladwig ran the ball 12 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers. Evan LaValle led the Wildcats with 16 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown. Gavin Lewis had a nice day passing for the Wildcats, going 8 for 15 for 116 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. On defense, Jack Walker had a interception, and Tyler Drury led the team with 15 tackles.
Chisago Lakes 55, Brooklyn Center 0
The third-seeded Wildcat football team crushed the Brooklyn Center Centaurs 55-0 in the quarterfinals of the Section 4AAAA playoffs this past Tuesday, October 25 at Chisago Lakes High School. A crowd of about 400 Wildcat fans and a dozen or so Brooklyn Center fans saw eight different Wildcat players score touchdowns. The win sends the Wildcats to the Section 4AAAA semifinals against the second-seeded St. Anthony Village Huskies at St. Anthony Village High School this Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Wildcat offense faced little resistance from the Centaur defense, scoring on nearly every possession. Meanwhile, the Wildcat defense shut out the Centaur offense, forcing numerous punts. Brooklyn Center drove deep into Wildcat territory just twice – once early in the game and on a drive at the end of the game. The early drive was stopped on downs and the late drive, against Wildcat subs, ended in a fumble recovered by the Wildcats. Centaur quarterback Deshaun Pongsak, a lefty, showed a strong, accurate passing arm. But his receivers dropped over a dozen balls throughout the game, nullifying any possible momentum for the Brooklyn Center offense.
Mason Mehsikomer ran for a ten-yard touchdown three minutes into the first quarter to give the Wildcats an early 6-0 lead. In the second quarter, Jacob Showers scored on a two-yard run and Evan LaValle scored from five yards out to make it 20-0. With just over four minutes to go in the first half, the Centaurs tried to punt from their own 21-yard line. Xavier Taylor burst through the line and blocked the punt. The ball bounced all the way into the end zone, where Reed Bleymeyer fell on it for a touchdown to make the score 27-0 at halftime.
Starting quarterback Gavin Lewis ran it in untouched from 11 yards out just over a minute into the third quarter to add to the Wildcat lead. The Wildcats began substituting liberally. Dylan Caye and Joshua Lavine each scored their first touchdowns of the season, putting the Wildcats up 48-0 in the third quarter. Due to the lopsided score, the fourth quarter was played in running time. The Wildcats added one more touchdown in the fourth quarter, with Braxton Bender-Ehlke scoring his first career touchdown.
Sophomore Bryce Morley, the Wildcats’ regular kicker, converted three of four extra points in the first half. His brother Owen Morley, a freshman, nailed all four of his extra point attempts in the second half.
Wildcat head coach Bill Weiss said “It was a great team effort. We did a lot of good things out here. We’re healthy, and we’ve got a game on Saturday. So, we are pretty excited.” The Wildcats liberal use of subs accomplishes three things: giving the starters some rest with another game coming up in just four days, getting key backups some valuable playing time and getting players who work hard in practice but don’t play much into the game.
Addressing the upcoming section semifinal game, Weiss said “We’ll go in tonight and start watching film to get ready for St. Anthony. From what I do know, they’re a heavy pass team, so we’ll see what kind of coverages and fronts we’re going to use against them. It a short week, and we’ll just work to get ready to play them.”
If the Wildcats (3-6) win this Saturday, a week from this Friday they will play the winner of the other semifinal game between the top-seeded Fridley Tigers and the fourth-seeded Columbia Heights Hylanders at the home field of the highest remaining seed at 7 p.m. for the Section 4AAAA championship and a trip to the state tournament.