E’Hawks Soar In 35-8 Win Over Cardinals
When you face a pass-happy team, you know your defense is going to have its work cut out for them. Add in the fact that rain has made the field soft, there’s a stout breeze blowing, and its your Homecoming game, and what’s there to worry about?
For Emmetsburg’s E’Hawks, all those things really didn’t seem to matter much on Friday as they claimed a 35-8 win over Garner-Hayfield to improve to 6-0 on the season and 4-0 in Class 1A District Two play.
For the E’Hawks, the big factor of the night was the defense, which intercepted not one, but four passes by Garner-Hayfield’s Jace Engstler, with the E’Hawks’ Nate Brown stealing two balls, while teammates Brady Berkland and Arthur Heldt each got into the act and picked off Cardinal passes during the game.
Offensively, the E’Hawks got a big night from Tommy Kuecker, who would score three touchdowns on the night, with Joey Naig adding one score and quarterback Cory Schultes cashing in the other TD’
Emmetsburg’s night seemed to start out like all the other games so far this season, with a nice opening drive down to the Cardinal 30 yard line that stalled when Joey Naig had the ball poked out of his grasp. The Cardinals recovered the fumble to stop Emmetsburg’s first possession.
However, that wouldn’t last, as Brady Berkland picked off the first pass of the night two downs later at the E’Hawk 43 and returned to the Garner-Hayfield 40 yard stripe. Picking up where they’d left off just a minute earlier, the E’Hawks methodically ground their way downfield until Tommy Kuecker took a handoff and broke loose for a 15 yard scoring run with 6:47 to go in the opening stanza. Ben McCain’s kick was on the mark and Emmetsburg held a 7-0 lead.
Garner-Hayfield would be limited to three downs and a punt and the E’Hawks took over at their own 36 yard line with 5:20 to go in the quarter. A quick first down would ensue, and then with 4:39 to go in the quarter, Joey Naig found his seam and zipped 42 yards through the Cardinal defense for a touchdown. McCain’s kick split the uprights for a 14-0 lead.
Once again, the Cardinals would take over deep in their own territory, and tried passing their way into the wind, only to have Nate Brown figure out the route and step in front of a receiver for the second interception of the quarter at the E’Hawk 47. The E’Hawks would take over at midfield and mount another drive that ended up at the 18-yard line after a holding penalty when the quarter ended.
With the ball at Garner-Hayfield’s nine yard line to start the second quarter, it was just a matter of time before Cory Schultes kept the ball and bulled into the endzone from a yard away with 11:12 to go in the half for the third score of the night. Ben McCain added the conversion kick for a 21-0 lead as Emmetsburg was hitting on all cylinders.
The Cardinals took over again and went three and out, punting with the wind to give the E’Hawks a touchback with 8:25 to go in the half. Starting at their own 20, Emmetsburg would get to their own 33 before the drive stalled and forced a punt of their own. The Cardinals took over at their own 35, and started driving, getting a first down, but Nate Brown hunted down a pass at the E’Hawk 40-yard line and stole it away for his second pick of the contest, with 3:39 to go in the half.
The E’Hawks quickly drove into the Cardinal’s half of the field and drove to the 22 yard line, but the drive would stall out and Emmetsburg turned the ball over on downs with :31 to go, ending the half with a 21-0 advantage.
Garner-Hayfield took the kick to open the second half at their own 26 yard line, but the E’Hawk defense continued to apply the pressure, as Howard Henkelvig came up with a big fumble recovery at the 17 yard line just :35 into the quarter.
With a golden opportunity handed to them, Emmetsburg capitalized quickly. Schultes brought the E’Hawks to the brink, and Tommy Kuecker delivered with an eight yard run with 10:20 to go in the frame. Ben McCain converted his fourth kick of the night for a 28-0 lead as the E’Hawks were at full throttle and the express was on the track.
Garner-Hayfield would go three and out, giving Emmetsburg the ball back at their own 44 yard line. Again, Schultes piloted the E’Hawk machine downfield, and called his own number for a 13 yard scoring run, only to have the effort wiped out off a holding penalty with 4:20 to go in the third.
The penalty killed the drive, as Emmetsburg was unable to convert the opportunity and turned the ball over on downs at the Cardinal 16 yard line with just under 4:00 to go in the quarter.
Garner-Hayfield got a first down, but would stall out again and be forced to punt, giving Emmetsburg the ball at their own 40 with just over 1:00 to go. Two plays later, Kuecker ripped off a 38-yard run down to the Cardinal five-yard line, and the E’Hawks edged down to the two-yard line as time expired in the quarter.
Kuecker would open the final quarter with a two yard plunge into the end zone with 11:16 to go in the game, and after Ben McCain drilled the kick, the clock began spinning without stopping under the 35-point rule.
It was a case of three and out for the Cardinals on the resulting possession, and with the reserves taking over for the E’Hawks, Emmetsburg started at their own 41. However, the Cardinals would come up with an interception of a Ryan Kliegl plass with 6:50 to go in the contest at their own 45 yard line and returned it to Emmetsburg’s 15-yard line.
The E’Hawk defense went to work, and with 5:50 to go, Arthur Heldt got inside the Garner-Hayfield receiver at the one-yard line and stole the ball away, killing the scoring drive and giving Emmetsburg its fourth pick of the night and the ball at their own one-yard line.
Once again, the offensive reservers took over, but on the first play, Kliegl was tackled on the goal line, giving the Cardinals a safety with 4:35 to go, ending the continuous clock.
On the free kick, Garner-Hayfield took over at their own 42 yard line and started driving, only to have to punt the ball away with 2:55 to go. Taking over our their own 15, Emmetsburg would have to punt after going nowhere with 1:27 to go.
The Cardinals would get the ball back at their own 46 yard line, and with :30 to go in the game, would score off a 54-yard touchdown run by David VanLanningham. The two-point conversion attempt failed, as the clock wound down and the E’Hawks celebrated their Homecoming triumph.
The E’Hawks would effectively double up the Cardinals in total offense, as Emmetsburg gained 337 yards on the ground off 61 attempts, while Garner-Hayfield had 86 yards off 25 attempts. Emmetsburg completed three of eight passes with one interception for 29 yards, while the Cardinals had 11 of 21 passes with four interceptions for 73 yards. All told, Emmetsburg would produce 366 yards total offense to Garner-Hayfield’s 159 total yards on the night.
Tommy Kuecker had a good game, as he led the rushing attack with 152 yards on 22 carries, with two catches for 20 yards and scored three touchdowns on the night. Joey Naig added 19 carries for 117 yards and added a touchdown for the winning effort as well. Cory Schultes would carry the ball 11 times for 75 yards and completed three of six passes for 29 yards, while scoring one touchdown. Bobby Gappa had four carries for two yards, while Arthur Heldt had two rushing attempts and Ryan Kliegl attempted two rushes. Brady Berkland also had one rushing attempt.
Justin Studer would catch Cory Schultes’ other pass for a nine yard gain for the E’Hawks to go with Kuecker’s two catches for 20 yards. Ben McCain nailed all five of his extra point kicks and kicked seven times for 295 yards , while Joey Naig punted twice for a total of 69 yards.
Defensively, the E’Hawks got nine tackles from Joey Naig and eight stops from Brady Berkland. Nick Leewright and Tommy Kuecker both added seven tackles to the effort. Nate Brown would intercept two passes for the E’Hawks, while Brady Berkland and Arthur Heldt each added picks and Howard Henkelvig snagged a fumble recovery for the winning effort.
With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, the E’Hawks will enjoy another week on the friendly confines of Duane Twait Field this Friday night when they host the Broncos of Belmond-Klemme.
In the final two weeks of the season, the E’Hawks will make a final road trip on Oct. 16 to West Fork, and will close out the season at home on Oct. 23 with Lake Mills.