The post season began on a positive note for Coach Mike Dunlap's Emmetsburg E-Hawks Wednesday night. A 47-0 shutout victory over Prairie Valley of Gowrie advanced the E-Hawks into second-round playoff action Monday night, Oct. 31, against Manson- Northwest Webster at Duane Twait Field in Emmetsburg. It was a big night for the E-Hawk defense and the offense as the defense pitched a shutout of the Warriors while the offense racked up 402 yards of total offense in the victorious effort.
In a scene reminiscent of the E-Hawks' last two regular season games, Emmetsburg scored within the first 1:45 of the game for the third time in a row on Wednesday night. Kicking off to the Warriors, the kick was fumbled at the Prairie Valley 10-yard line and Ryan Kliegl jumped on the loose ball. Brady Berkland carried on first down to the four-yard stripe and on the next play, walked into the end zone untouched with 11:23 to go in the quarter. Zach Overberg teed up the kick for the 7-0 lead and the E-Hawks were already in high gear.
The Warriors would go three and out, but a muffed snap on the punt would result in a loss of seven yards and give the ball to the E-Hawks at Prairie Valley's 32 yard line with 9:34 to go in the quarter. After a short gain by Marcus Akridge, Ryan Kliegl dropped back and sent the ball downfield towards Jake Carlson, who made the grab for the 30-yard touchdown reception. Overberg's kick made the score 14-0 with 3:55 to play in the opening frame.
Brady Christensen tries for that last inch before being dragged out of bounds on a run in Wednesday’s playoff game. Christensen gained 74 yards off seven carries for the E-Hawks. --Dan Voigt photo
The Warriors would pick up a first down on their next possession, and worked into Emmetsburg's half of the field, getting to the 43 before being forced to punt, but the punt was shanked, giving the E-Hawks the ball at their own 23. On first down, Akridge broke loose to race 54 yards down to the Warriors' 23 before being brought down. But, a series of untimely penalties would haunt the E-Hawks for the next few downs before Kliegl put the ball in the air once again, hitting Jake Carlson with a 41-yard strike with 3:46 on the clock. The conversion kick was low and bounced off the crossbar to make the score 20-0.
Prairie Valley would start at their own 17 on the resulting kick and would end up punting, with Emmetsburg taking over at their own 41.
Nick Schany got into the act and ripped loose with a 55 yard run down to the Warriors' four-yard line, leaving one of his shoes in the wake of his trip downfield, and from there, Marcus Akridge would run around the left end to score from three yards out with just :55 left in the quarter. Akridge then ran in the conversion to make the score 28-0 to end the first quarter.
The Warriors would end up punting to start the second quarter and Emmetsburg began from their own 41, but would got three-and-out themselves, punting the ball away. Prairie Valley would go three and out and punted again, but this time, Justin Studer camped out under the ball and cracked loose a 78 yard punt return for an apparent touchdown, only to have the run negated by a block in the back penalty on the E-Hawks.
Starting at their own three-yard line after the penalty, the E-Hawks began to march downfield.
Andrew Wellik, making his first start after an ankle injury, came up with a pair of big carries, as he first ran for 26 yards out to the 39, and on the next play, Wellik bounced outside and raced 61 yards to score with 6:14 to go in the half. Overberg added the kick for a 35-0 lead.
The two teams traded possessions and punts before the Warriors got the ball back and were driving with good field position, but with 2:09 to go in the half, Kliegl picked off a Prairie Valley pass at the E-Hawk 48 and the E-Hawks would run the clock out to end the half with the 35-0 lead.
The continuous clock made the second half a brief affair, as Emmetsburg took the opening kick but would end up punting, only to get the ball back after three and out by the Warriors. With the second team offense on the field, Emmetsburg would get the ball back in Prairie Valley's back yard, starting at the 49 yard line and driving down field until Aaron Bird found the end zone on a 30-yard run with 1:50 to go in the quarter. Nick Merwald's conversion kick was blocked, making the score 41-0 at the end of the third frame.
The final quarter would see the two teams trade possessions until Emmetsburg got the ball with 2:27 to go in the contest at their own 44-yard line. On first down, Brady Christensen would take a handoff and raced 56 yards to score with 2:05 to go in the contest. Merwald's conversion kick drifted wide to make the score 47-0.
On the resulting kickoff, the ball touched a Prairie Valley player and bounced off before being fallen on by Tyler Henson at the Warriors' 25-yard line. The E-Hawks would kneel down on three snaps to end the game and secure the advancement into the next round.
Emmetsburg ran the ball 36 times to gain 331 yards and completed two of three passes for 71 yards to rack up the 402 total offensive yards, while the defense held Prairie Valley to 33 yards rushing off 36 attempts and four of 13 passes for 66 yards to tally 99 total offensive yards in the contest.
Andrew Wellik carried the ball just three times, but racked up 87 yards to lead the rushing game, while Brady Christensen added 74 yards off seven rushes. Marcus Akridge tallied 63 yards off five attempts, with Nick Schany gaining 52 yards on four carries.
Aaron Bird picked up 39 yards off his four rushes and Brady Berkland added 11 yards off four carries. Mitch Petersen gained eight yards off five attempts and Ryan Kliegl added three yards on one attempt.
Kliegl completed two of three passes, both to Jake Carlson, for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Brady Berkland, Austin McCartan, Clayton Henderson and Brady Garrelts all recorded quarterback sacks, while Tyler Henson and Ryan Kliegl both recovered fumbles and Kliegl intercepted a pass. Brady Berkland would lead the way with nine tackles, while Austin McCartan added seven stops and Marcus Akridge and Jake Jackson both added six stops to the overall effort.