Perfect District Finish For E’Hawks
LAKE MILLS – Despite a slow start on Friday night, the Emmetsburg E’Hawks finished out the regular season with a 59-21 win over Lake Mills. That victory gives Coach Mike Dunlap’s E’Hawks the perfect season mark in Class 1A District Two at 7-0 and 9-0 overall. Now, the attention turns to the second season – Playoff season. Emmetsburg will host a Substate game this Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. when the Warriors of South Winneshiek-Calmar come to Duane Twait Field for a Class 1A playoff matchup. While the E’Hawks would win big over the Bulldogs on Friday, it wasn’t the prettiest of games for awhile, as Lake Mills came out determined to make Emmetsburg earn everything they got. The E’Hawks took the opening kickoff and started a drive only to have a Tyler Kliegl pass be intercepted by the Bulldogs, giving Lake Mills the ball at their own 40 with 10:27 to go in the first quarter. Emmetsburg’s defense rose to the occasion, forcing the Bulldogs to punt and giving Emmetsburg the ball back with just over 6:15 to go in the quarter. Learning from the early turnover, Emmetsburg kept the ball on the ground, getting a huge 40 yard run from Langston Jones to set up the first score of the night, as Taylor Morris would power his way in from seven yards out with 5:08 to go in the first quarter. Matt Wellik’s kick sailed wide, giving Emmetsburg a 6-0 lead. Lake Mills would be held to three downs and a punt, but on the punt return, Trevor Dettmann fumbled the ball and the Bulldogs got their second turnover of the night at Emmetsburg’s 22 yard line. Using the turnover to their advantage, Lake Mills engineered a 22 yard drive to score with :46 to go in the quarter off a five yard run by Tyler Rice. The kick by Pedro Abreu was good and Emmetsburg was trailing by a 7-6 margin. The E’Hawks took the kickoff but fumbled on first down, as Lake Mills would grab their third turnover of the game to close out the opening frame with a one-point lead over Emmetsburg. At that point, it looked like the E’Hawks could be ripe for an upset. However, Emmetsburg’s defense rose to the challenge, stopping Lake Mills and forcing a punt that left the E’Hawks at their own five yard line to start. The E’Hawks wasted very little time, as Taylor Morris broke a 38 yard run to the Bulldogs’ 43 yard line. A fresh set of downs on the next series allowed Emmetsburg to drive down and score off a four-yard Morris plunge into the end zone with 5:56 to go in the half. Langston Jones ran in the conversion and Emmetsburg was back on top 14-7. The defense did their job, holding Lake Mills to three downs and a punt and the E’Hawks got right back after it. A 61-yard run by quarterback Tyler Kliegl put the E’Hawks on the doorstep and another visit to the endzone by Taylor Morris, this time from three yards away, make the score 20-7 after the kick went wide. with 4:01 to go in the half. Lake Mills took over, but now it was their turn for misfortune, as a fumble was recovered by Tommy Kuecker at the Bulldogs’ 47 yard line with 2:47 to go in the half. Emmetsburg worked down to the 43 yard line and Langston Jones went for a little run, albeit 43 yards, for a touchdown. Matt Wellik would catch the two-point conversion pass from Kliegl to make the score 28-7 with just under 2:00 to go in the half. The E’Hawks would almost come up with an interception by Trevor Dettmann with 1:02 to go, but Dettmann was flagged for pass interference, and the Bulldogs ran the clock out to trail 28-7 at the break. Lake Mills would take the kickoff to open the second half and engineered a drive that resulted in a 36 yard run by Tyler Rice with 9:49 to go in the third. The kick by Areu made the score 28-14, with plenty of game remaining. Emmetsburg responded with gradual substitutions, bringing the reserves in during the third quarter. The number twos held up their end of the bargain, as they started at their own 15 yard line and drove 85 yards to score off a 15 yard run by Morris with 6:14 remaining in the third frame. The conversion kick was blocked, making the score 34-14. Lake Mills would drive to the E’Hawks’ 30 on their next series, but fumbled the ball and Matt Wellik jumped on the pigskin for the recovery and the big defensive stop. With Joey Naig at the wheel, the E’Hawks drove downfield, capping off the turnover with a three yard touchdown by Taylor Morris for his fifth score of the night and a 41-14 lead after Wellik’s kick split the uprights with 2:33 to go in the quarter. Lake Mills would go three and out and punted, but Emmetsburg was called for a roughing penalty, giving Lake Mills the ball at their own 42 yard line to end the third quarter. The Bulldogs tried to keep the drive going, but would fumble on a fourth and one at their own 48. Joey Naig collected the loose ball as Emmetsburg was in perfect field position with the turnover. It didn’t take long for the E’Hawks to work downfield, and Tommy Kuecker got his chance. Kuecker, who had broken a wrist in the E’Hawks’ game with West Fork, was playing with his left arm in a cast, but that didn’t discourage the junior, who scored with a 32 yard jaunt down the Lake Mills sideline with 10:15 to go in the game. Wellik’s kick went wide, making the score 47-14. Lake Mills would find the end zone on the next series, as their starting lineup was able to move the ball against the E’Hawk reserves, capping off the drive with a three yard run by Chuck Thorson with 6:30 to go in the game. The kick made the score 47-21. Emmetsburg took the ball at their own 33 following the kickoff and on second down, Keaton Carter took the ball and raced 61 yards for a touchdown with 5:37 to go in the game. The kick was blocked, but the E’Hawks held an insurmountable 53-21 lead at that point. Lake Mills would drive on their next possession, but then went backwards and would turn the ball over on downs to the E’Hawks at Emmetsburg’s 30 yard line. With 2:13 to go in the game, Emmetsburg drove downfield, using a 40 yard run by Carter to set up the final score of the night, a three-yard run by Bobby Gappa with :07 to go. The two-point conversion effort by the sophomore was short, ending the game with the 59-21 final tally. Emmetsburg ran wild on the Bulldogs, racking up 639 yards off 45 rushes, while Lake Mills gained 170 yards on 57 attempts. Taylor Morris racked up 181 yards on 20 carries, while Langston Jones racked up 180 yards on eight carries. Keaton Carter added 112 yards on four rushing attempts, while Tyler Kliegl picked up 83 yards in four carries. Tommy Kuecker gained 54 yards off three carries and Matt Wellik had five yards off two rushes. Tyler Kliegl completed one of five passes with one interception for five yards, with Lucas Thomsen making the reception. Lake Mills would gain 91 yards passing off eight of 16 attempts, giving them a total of 261 yards total offense compared to the E’Hawks’ 638 yard effort. It was a big night for Assistant Coach Joe Carter’s defense, with Tommy Kuecker making 14 tackles and Travis Ring adding 13 stops to the tally. Josh Wolfe made nine tackles and also had a pair of quarterback sacks to his credit on the night. Taylor Morris made two quarterback sacks as well, while Seth Bird also dropped the quarterback for a loss. Joey Naig, Matt Wellik and Tommy Kuecker all recovered fumbles for the E’Hawks.