Outgain ELC 327-147 In Season Opener
Emmetsburg’s E-Hawks used a dominant rushing game Friday night to earn a 41-15 season opening victory over Estherville Lincoln Central. The E-Hawk offense ground out 306 rushing yards and added a 21 yard pass completion for 327 total yard, compared to ELC’s 67 rushing yards and 80 yards of passing for 147 yards of offense.
The E-Hawks’ first drive started a little tentatively, ending in a punt, but the defense held up their end of the bargain and forced an ELC punt, which got the E-Hawks into a scoring mode. Starting at their own 17, Emmetsburg drove downfield under the guidance of quarterback Jake Jackson, with slashing runs by Brady Berkland, Marcus Akridge, Austin McCartan and Andrew Wellik. With 5:45 to go in the opening quarter, Jackson handed off to McCartan, who would run in from 21 yards out for the score. Akridge kicked the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
After getting the ball back on a punt, the E-Hawks worked quickly once again, and this time Brady Berkland broke loose from 39 yards away to gallop into the end zone for a score with 2:56 to go in the quarter. The conversion kick sailed wide, giving Emmetsburg a 13-0 lea to close out the first quarter.
The E-Hawks would punt at midfield to start the second quarter, but ELC would hurt their own cause with a grounding penalty and punted, but Cody Henderson fielded the punt and returned it 31 yards down to the ELC 27 yard line.
With good field position, it was a matter of time before the E-Hawks struck, this time off a 21 yard reception by Jake Carlson with 7:29 to go in the half. Brady Berkland would run the conversion in untouched, putting the E-Hawks up 21-0.
ELC’s fortunes continued to sour, as on their next possession, Andrew Wellik broke through the line and sacked QB?Joe Clayton and forced a fumble that was recovered by Marcus Akridge at the Midgets’ 21.
Akridge would get the honors on the next play, as he darted into the end zone from 21 yards out for the score with 4:46 to go in th half. Akridge barely caught his breath to kick the conversion for the 28-0 lead.
The Midgets would go four and out and Emmetsburg started at their own 20.
Jackson handed off to Akridge and the senior exploded, blasting down field, outrunning tacklers down to the Midgets’ seven-yard line before being forced out of bounds.
With the goal line in reach, Andrew Wellik got the nod for the seven yard score with 2:13 to go in the half. Zach Overberg stepped in to kick, but the kick went wide, making the score 34-0.
ELC would try to get something going, but Nick Schany picked off a Clayton pass at the Midgets’ 35 yard line and returned it for a score with 1:28 to go in the half. Overberg would send the kick through the uprights for a 41-0 score that would carry to the end of the half.
With the clock running non-stop off the 35-point differential rule, the third quarter sped by quickly with the E-Hawk reserves on the field. With quarterback Ryan Kliegl at the helm, the reserves would get to ELC’s 40, but a fumble would give the ball back to the Midgets with 7:20 to go in the quarter.
ELC was able to mount a drive and with 1:56 to go, managed to get their first score of the year when Clayton connected with Angel Diaz on a 23-yard pass, and Tucker Milburn added the conversion kick for a 41-7 tally.
The clock reverted back to normal for the rest of the contest, and with 9:55 to go in the final quarter, ELC?managed to find the end zone again, this time off a one yard dive by Clayton. The conversion kick snap was muffed, but Milburn picked up the ball and ran in to make the score 41-15, which would stand to the final horn.
For Emmetsburg, Marcus Akridge would gain 97 yards off three rushes, while Brady Berkland made six ruses for 56 yards. Jake Jackson scrambled to pick up 46 yards off five carries, while Andrew Wellik added 42 yards from eight carries.
Austin McCartan picked up 31 yards from three rushes, while Ryan Kliegl earned 17 yards off five rushes. Cody Henderson added seven yards off five rushes and Mitch Peterson gained seven yard off three carries and Nick Schany made one carry for three yards as Emmetsburg rushed 39 times for the 306 yards on the ground.
Jackson completed one of four passes for 21 yards, to Jake Carlson for a TD.
Defensively, Brady Berkland had 10 tackles, while Jake Jackson and Tayler Wegner both made nine stops and Tyler Henson and Andrew Garrelts each made eight stops.
Andrew Wellik forced a fumble and Marcus Akridge recovered one fumble, while Nick Schany had one interception for a touchdown.
The E-Hawks now turn their attention towards a meeting with arch-rivals Spencer on Friday night at Spencer’s Dale Norton Field.
Emmetsburg fans are being encouraged to wear their camouflage or hunter orange clothing to Friday’s game to help cheer the E-Hawks on their Tiger Hunt.