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Passes Propel E’Hawks Past St. Ansgar

By Staff | Sep 23, 2008

When a team with a history of running the football scores nearly half of its points off passing, that’s called good, balanced scoring.

Emmetsburg’s E’Hawks posted a 49-14 win over St. Ansgar on Friday night, using a pair of spectacular catches from senior running back Matt Wellik and some typical hard running by the E’Hawk backs. Emmetsburg Quarterback Tyler Kliegl threw three long passes of 50, 50 and 40 yards to Wellik and Trevor Dettmann to guide the E’Hawks to their second district win of the season and fourth win overall to remain perfect.

However, the test comes this Friday as the Gaels of Fort Dodge St. Edmond’s come to Duane Twait Field for the E’Hawks’ Homecoming clash.

The E’Hawks had plenty to be concerned with as the Saints came into town on Friday. With an average of over 250 pounds at each position on the offensive and defensive lines, St. Ansgar provided the E’Hawks with their most serious challenge on the line of the season.

As the game opened, St. Ansgar deferred, giving the E’Hawks the ball first. Trevor Dettmann would take the opening kickoff and return it to near midfield, but a penalty would bring the ball back to the E’Hawks’ 45 yard line. On second down, Langston Jones took a handoff from Kliegl and began his zig-zag through the Saints defense, and outraced the defenders 55 yards to score. Matt Wellik’s kick sailed wide, giving the E’Hawks a 6-0 lead with just :49 gone in the game.

After forcing St. Ansgar into a punt, the E’Hawks began moving the ball once again, but an untimely fumble by Taylor Morris would be recovered by the Saints at the E’Hawks’ 28 yard line. St. Ansgar would capitalize on the turnover and would score off a two yard run by Jarred Millonig with6:02 to go in the quarter. A conversion kick by Garrett Ehlke would give St. Ansgar a 7-6 lead over the E’Hawks – something no team has done so far this season.

Emmetsburg would take over after the kick and began at their own 20. Picking up a first down, the E’Hawks scored big at the 4:47 mark when Langston Jones found a hole and scooted 68 yards for a touchdown. Jones would run in the conversion to give Emmetsburg the 14-7 lead.

St. Ansgar would be foiled on their resulting possession when Dettmann picked off a pass at the Emmetsburg 25 with 4:30 to go in the quarter, but Emmetsburg would be forced to punt with 1:52 to go, giving the Saints the ball to end the first quarter.

The E’Hawk defense would hold firm, bending but not breaking, and forced a punt that got the E’Hawks the ball back on a touchback with 9:30 to play in the half. Emmetsburg would come out and started grinding away, but with 7:10 on the clock, Taylor Morris would fumble the football a second time and the Saints took over at their own 38 yard line.

The defense made the stop and forced another punt, which fell short, giving the E”Hawks good position at their own 33 after a penalty against the Saints. The E’Hawks quickly moved down field, using a good run by Kliegl on a keep to set up a first down at the Saints’ 16 yard line.

Two plays later, it was Jones from nine yards out, busting through the line to score his third TD of the night. Wellik hit the conversion kick for a 21-7 lead with 3:52 to go in the half.

St. Ansgar went nowhere in a hurry on their resulting position, starting at the 20 and marching backward on several tackles for loss by the swarming E’Hawk defense. With 2:43 to go in the half, the Saints punted and the E’Hawks took over at the50-yard line.

On first down, Tyler Kliegl reared back and fired downfield towards Matt Wellik. Wellik’s defender pulled up around the 15, losing the ball, and could only stand and watch helplessly as Wellik hauled in the pass over his shoulder and ran into the end zone with 1:10 to play in the half. Wellik would kick his own conversion to give Emmetsburg the 28-7 advantage.

The E’Hawks would be called for a questionable pass interference call as St. Ansgar fought their way downfield, but the defense held firm, forcing the Saints to try a 33 yard field goal with :02 to go that went wide to end the half.

St. Ansgar took the kickoff to open the second half, but penalties would kill their drive and force a punt with 9:24 to go in the quarter.

Taking over at their own 44 yard line, the E’Hawks drove over the midfield stripe, and with 8:06 to go in the quarter, Kliegl hit Dettmann with a 40 yard strike for a touchdown. Wellik added the conversion kick to make the score 35-7.

Once again, St. Ansgar was shut down on their possession and forced to punt. The E’Hawks would take over at their own 47 yard line, and on second down, Kliegl stepped up in the pocket and fired downfield for Wellik. This time, the defenders couldn’t react quick enough and Wellik outdistanced the pair of defenders to haul in the 50 yard toss for his second receiving touchdown of the game. The kick made the score 42-7, prompting the start of the continuous clock with 3:55 to go in the third quarter.

Emmetsburg would send the defensive reserves into the contest to finish out the third quarter.

St. Ansgar opened the final quarter at Emmetsburg’s 36 yard line,and would manage to grind their way down to cap off the 65 yard drive with a 13 yard run by Zach Bentine with 8:40 to go in the game. The kick by Garrett Ehlke made the score 42-14 and ended the continuous clock.

Emmetsburg’s offensive reserves took over play and were limited to three downs and a punt, but the E’Hawks held the Saints to a three-and-out in return. A booming punt would put the E’Hawks at their own two-yard line to start their possession with 4:40 to go in the game.

Quarterback Joey Naig gradually worked the E’Hawks out of the shadow of their own goalposts, and with 2:23 to go in the game, handed off to Tommy Kuecker, who crossed the field and ran down the visitors’ sidelines on a 79-yard jaunt to score the final touchdown of the night. Matt Wellik would add the kick that all but ended the contest in the 49-14 win.

The E’Hawks would run away from the Saints on the ground in the contest, racking up an impressive 393 yards of rushing off just 36 rushing plays.

Langston Jones was the workhorse back, racking up 203 yards off 11 carries and scoring three touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Tommy Kuecker’s 79-yard touchdown helped him gain 91 yards off five carries, while Taylor Morris shook off his two fumbles to gain 47 yards on 13 carries. Tyler Kliegl added 36 yards off three carries, while Joey Naig added 13 yards on three rushes and Matt Wellik had a three-yard rushing attempt.

In the air, the E’Hawks flew with 147 yards, as Kliegl completed four of five passes for three touchdowns. Matt Wellik showed his skills as a receiver with two catches for 100 yards and two TD’s and Trevor Dettmann with a 40 yard reception. Langston Jones added one catch for seven yards in the winning effort.

With 540 total offensive yards, the E’Hawk defense limited St. Ansgar to 177 rushing yards off 46 carries and 18 yards passing for a total of 195 yards in the contest.

The defense was led by the nine tackles of Adam Leuer and the eight stops of Bobby Mortenson and Taylor Morris, while Tommy Kuecker and Tyler Kliegl both added seven tackles to the efforts.

Trevor Dettmann picked off a pass in the winning effort.

There is little time to reflect on the victory during a busy Homecoming week for the E’Hawks. Friday’s Homecoming matchup could well be the decisive game for the District title, as the E’Hawks host the only other unbeaten team in the district, Fort Dodge St. Edmonds.

The two clubs are no strangers, having last played each other in the playoff series in 2005,