While he didn't say it prior to the game, Emmetsburg Head Coach Mike Dunlap had some concerns going into Friday's Homecoming game with Sibley-Ocheyedan. The major worry was for the E-Hawks to keep their focus during Homecoming week with all of the other events that fill the week.
Dunlap's worries were put to rest early as Emmetsburg jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter to earn a 40-6 Homecoming win over Sibley-Ocheyedan.
The visiting Generals would get the ball first on Friday, battling a stiff 25 mile-an-hour wind as they got a touchback on Taylor Wegner's kickoff and started at their 20. The Generals would get a first down, but would end up punting into the wind from their 32.
With Jacob Hutchison providing a block, Emmetsburg’s Andrew Wellik steps out of a tackle and heads upfield for a nice gain during the E-Hawks’ 40-6 Homecoming victory over Sibley-Ocheyedan on Friday Night. The E-Hawks improved to 5-0 in the District and 7-0 overall on the season with the win. --Dan Voigt photo
Mother Nature helped the E-Hawks, holding the ball up and giving Emmetsburg the punt at the Generals' 44, a 12-yard punt.
Emmetsburg took over and on the first snap of the ball, Brady Berkland took off for the end zone on a 44-yard jaunt to give the E-Hawks the 6-0 lead. The conversion snap was muffed and the broken play left Emmetsburg with the 6-0 lead with 8:53 to go in the first period.
Another touchback would start S/O's possession, but after driving to their 34, a fumble was recovered by Clayton Henderson at the 34 to give Emmetsburg the ball again in prime real estate.
The E-Hawks, under the field guidance of Ryan Kliegl, marched down to the 25 yard line, but would back up to face a fourth and 17 at the Generals' 32 yard stripe with 3:05 to go. The try to convert the first down failed, giving the Generals the ball back on downs with 2:56 to go in the quarter.
Sibley-Ocheyedan went to the air and was picked off on first down by Ryan Kliegl at the Generals' 45 yard line.
One more time, Emmetsburg took over and ground its way downfield, capping the drive off with a nine yard run by Berkland with :37 to go in the quarter. A two-point conversion try was stopped at the one, making the score 12-0 to end the first quarter.
Sibley-Ocheyedan took over and tried to put a drive together, but a sack by Tony Henson would force a punt by the Generals from their own 27. The wind carried the punt and gave Emmetsburg the ball at the E-Hawk 28 yard stripe.
A time-eating drive would bring the E-Hawks into scoring range and a run by Andrew Wellik got the E-Hawks to the two-yard line, only to be backed up for holding. The penalty would kill the drive as Emmetsburg would fail to convert a fourth and two at the 15 and turned the ball over.
Sibley-Ocheyedan started at their 16, but the E-Hawk defense backed them up and forced a fumble that the Generals fell on at their own one yard line, forcing a punt out of the endzone that was nearly blocked.
The E-Hawks got the punt at the Generals' 37 with 2:37 to go in the half, and would drive to the Generals' 21 yard line, only to turn the ball over a third time on downs with 1:07 to go in the half.
The Generals would take over at their own 21 and with time running down, a halfback pass almost turned into a touchdown, but a score-saving tackle by Ryan Kliegl just short of the goal line ended the half with Emmetsburg holding the 12-0 lead.
The E-Hawks would get the ball to start the second half of action and started at their own 35. Getting to their own 42, the E-Hawks got a huge run from Andrew Wellik down to the six yard line. Two plays later, Wellik marched in from two yards out for the score with 7:39 to go in the third frame. Kliegl would race into the endzone for the conversion and the 20-0 advantage.
The Generals started at their 20 again and marched to midfield, but a fumble put the ball on the ground where Marcus Akridge picked up the loose pigskin and returned it 49 yards for a score. Zach Overberg came out to send the conversion kick through the uprights and the E-Hawks now held a 27-0 advantage over the Generals.
The Generals would get the ball and drive only to face a punt, but a roughing call on the E-Hawks would give Sibley-Ocheyedan another opportunity. But the gift would turn sour quickly, as on first down at their own 41 yard line, the Generals put the ball in the air, only to see Justin Studer step in front of the pass at the E-Hawk 28 yard line with 2:30 to go in the quarter.
The E-Hawks would run the clock out to start the fourth quarter facing a third and one at their own 48 yard line. This time, the conversion was successful and the drive continued until Brady Berkland struck with a 10 yard run with 8:03 to go in the game.
Once again, Zach Overberg came out and kicked the conversion for a 34-0 lead as the E-Hawks began shuffling reserve players into the game.
The Generals would get the ball at their own 33 on the kickoff, the first time they were actually able to make a return on a kickoff in the game.
With the wind at their backs, the Generals started to drive, but with 6:51 to go in the game, Justin Studer read the play to perfection and came up with his second interception of the night, picking the ball off at the E-Hawk 30 and returned it 16 yards to the 46 yard stripe.
The E-Hawks would use the turnover to their advantage again, marching downfield until Cody Henderson found the end zone from 32 yards away to score with 5:06 to go in the game. Nick Merwald's conversion kick was blown wide by the wind, leaving the score at 40-0 as the E-Hawks made wholesale substitutions in their lineup.
With the clock running continuously, the game would down quickly as the Generals muffed the kickoff and started at their own eight yard line. However, Sibley/Ocheyedan was able to gradually make their way down the field, and as the clock ticked down to zero, the Generals' final play looked to have been stopped at the two yard line by the E-Hawks.
But, a defensive penalty on the E-Hawks gave the Generals a final play, even with no time remaining on the clock. The two teams lined up for a final time and Sibley-Ocheyedan's Owen Wiese found Jacob Sievert with a desperation pass for a 24 yard reception and score. No conversion play was made, as the game ended with the 40-6 final score.
Emmetsburg would gaine 403 yards on the ground off 63 attempts, while Sibley-Ocheyedan gained 57 yards off 27 attempts. The E-Hawks made one of four passes for four yards, while the Generals connected on eight of 22 passes for 161 yards.
Overall, the E-Hawks ended up with 407 yards of total offense while the Generals ended up with 218 total yards in the contest.
The E-Hawk rushing attack was led by Brady Berkland's 175 yards off 25 rushes, while Andrew Wellik added 119 yards off 22 carries. Ryan Kliegl added 42 yards off eight carries, while Cody Henderson had 32 yards off one attempt.
Marcus Akridge would gain 24 yards off four rushing attempts and Mitch Petersen added 13 yards off three carries to round out the E-Hawk rushing.
Ryan Kliegl completed just one pass out of four attempts, with Brady Berkland making the lone reception of four yards.
Defensively, the E-Hawks had two interceptions from Justin Studer and one pick from Ryan Kliegl, while Jake Carlson and Marcus Akridge both recovered fumbles in the contest and Brady Berkland and Tony Henson recorded quarterback sacks.
Marcus Akridge and Brady Berkland both made five tackles, while Jake Jackson, Nick Schany and Andrew Garrelts all had four tackles on the night.
The win improves the E-Hawks to 7-0 on the season and 5-0 in Class 1A District Two. The final road game of the season is on tap for Friday night as Emmetsburg travels to Alta to take on Alta-Aurelia in District play.