Emmetsburg Head Coach Mike Dunlap told his players getting out to a quick start would be a key to success in Friday's game with Pocahontas Area/Pomeroy-Palmer.
The E-Hawks took his words to heart and jumped on Pocahontas Area/PP early Friday night on their way to a 40-0 shutout of the Indians to improve to 4-0 on the season, 2-0 in Class 1A District Two.
Slow starts had plagued the E-Hawks in the past couple of games, but such was not the case on Friday as Emmetsburg took the opening kickoff and quickly drove down field under the guidance of quarterback Jake Jackson. Using the clock, Emmetsburg would capitalize on the first drive with a seven yard run by Andrew Wellik with 7:09 to go in the quarter. Zach Overberg added the conversion kick for a 7-0 lead to get the game rolling.
Andrew Wellik slips out of the grasp of a tackle attempt to score his first touchdown in Friday’s 40-0 win over Pocahontas Area/Pomeroy-Palmer. --Dan Voigt photo
The E-Hawk defense would be tested on the night by the speed of the Indians' Luke Sommerlot from the backfield, but the defense would force the Indians into a punting situation with 3:57 to go in the opening frame at their own 44 yard line.
As punter Logan Jepsen made the kick, Emmetsburg's Marcus Akridge burst through the line and knocked the ball down. Andrew Wellik charged in, scooped up the ball and raced down to the eight yard line before being chased down.
On the subsequent play, Wellik finished the job by running out of a tackle for the eight yard touchdown with 3:40 to go in the quarter. Overberg's kick would make the score 14-0 as the first quarter would come to a close.
The Indians would take over and opened the second quarter by facing a fourth down that they could not convert, giving the ball back to the E-Hawks at their own 44 yard stripe.
With great field position, it was merely a matter of time before Brady Berkland ran untouched through the Indian defense from 15 yards out to the center of the end zone with 8:46 to go in the half. Zach Overberg added the kick for a 21-0 tally as the E-Hawks settled in for a defensive stand.
The two teams would trade possessions and a couple of punts to close out the second quarter with Emmetsburg holding the 21-0 advantage at the intermission.
Pocahontas Area/P-P would take the opening kickoff of the second half near midfield and worked down to the E-Hawk 29-yard line before turning the ball over on downs in the face of a determined E-Hawk defense.
Starting at their own 29, Emmetsburg would start grinding out the yardage once again, eating up the clock and turf in equal parts until Brady Berkland raced into the end zone from 11 yards away with 2:16 to play in the quarter. the conversion kick floated just off to the right, making the score 27-0 for the E-Hawks.
The defense would come up firing once again and forced another three and out for the Indians, giving Emmetsburg the ball at their own 43 as the quarter wound down.
Starting the final quarter at their own 46, Emmetsburg needed just one snap of the ball to hit paydirt, as Brady Berkland took the handoff and raced 54 yards to score with 11:46 to go in the game. Overberg's kick was down the middle this time, making the score 34-0 as the Indians took over once again after the kick.
But the Indians could only manage another three and out, giving Emmetsburg the ball back again at the E-Hawk 40.
The E-Hawks worked downfield and with 7:21 to go in the game, Jackson delivered a 27-yard pass to Justin Studer on the far sidelines for an apparent touchdown, only to have the play called back for an ineligible receiver downfield.
With a first and 15 at the Indians' 32, The E-Hawks simply shrugged off the penalty and kept grinding away until Andrew Wellik broke loose for a 17 yard run to score with 5:48 to go in the contest. The conversion kick was partially blocked, making the score 40-0 as the clock began to run continuously.
The Indians would take over and tried to mount a late drive, only to fumble the football at their own 38-yard line. Jacob Hutchinson would fall on the loose ball with 4:24 to go in the contest and the E-Hawks were content to run the clock out with short runs to preserve the shutout victory.
Emmetsburg would run 55 plays to gain 358 yards on the ground, compared with the Indians' 45 attempts for 124 yards.
Jake Jackson completed one of two passes for five yards, while the Indians' Jake Gonnerman completed one of four throws for eight yards to give the Indians 132 total offensive yards, compared with Emmetsburg's 363 total yards.
Andrew Wellik would run 17 times for 106 yards and Brady Berkland added 10 rushes for 104 yards in the balanced ground attack. Marcus Akridge ran 10 times for 53 yards, with Austin McCartan added five carries for 35 yards.
Jake Jackson added six carries for 31 yards, with Mitch Peterson carrying the ball three times for 17 yards. Cody Henderson made three rushes for 16 yards and Ryan Kliegl had a four-yard rushing attempt.
Andrew Wellik caught Jackson's lone pass for five yards in the contest.
Defensively, the E-Hawks got 17 tackles from Austin McCartan, while Brady Berkland added 13 stops to the effort and Nick Schany made nine tackles.
Marcus Akridge blocked on punt, while Andrew Wellik recovered the ball for a 36 yard return. Also recovering fumbles for the E-Hawks were Jake Jackson and Jacob Hutchinson.
The E-Hawks will have little time to enjoy the win as they prepare for this Friday's meeting with the Wolverines of South O'Brien in a game to be played in Paullina. Game time on Friday night will be 7 p.m.