Late Interception Assures Win
SPENCER – Playing the Spencer Tigers is never an easy proposition in any sport. Friday’s renewal of the Emmetsburg-Spencer rivalry on the gridiron was a case in point as it took a late-game interception to insure victory for the E-Hawks in a 19-13 contest.
Though the E-Hawks won the battle on paper, racking up 333 yards of offense to Spencer’s 80, and on the scoreboard, the game was neck and neck four a majority of its’ 48 minute timespan on Friday.
With a light rain falling to open the contest, Emmetsburg got the ball to start, and quickly drove down to midfield, only to have the ball turned over on a fumble, a precursor of things to come for the E-Hawks.
Spencer took over at the E-Hawk 21 yard line and worked down to end up with a three yard touchdown run from quarterback Blake Altenhofen with 6:42 to go in the first quarter. The kick by Mark Malm put the Tigers up 7-0, giving the E-Hawks some food for thought.
The E-Hawks got the ball back, but would punt and Spencer took over, only to fumble the ball and see Jake Jackson recover the orb at the Tigers’ 31 yard line. But, Emmetsburg’s offense sputtered and punted, which would lead to a punt by the Tigers in return.
Once again, the E-Hawks took over and drove to the Tigers’ 46 yard line, only to fumble the slippery ball once again and give the Tigers the ball back to end the first quarter.
The rain ceased as the second quarter began, but Spencer struggled on the offense and would fumble the ball, only to recover it. but their drive would be snuffed with a crushing tackle for loss by Andrew Garrelts and Andrew Wellik that forced a punt.
The E-Hawks took over and worked out to midfield after an 18-yard punt return by Wellik. The offense , led by quarterback Ryan Kliegl, drove downfield and got to the Tigers’ three-yard line off a nice effort by Kliegl with 6:36 to go in the half. However, the Tiger defense stiffened and Emmetsburg backed up to a fourth and 17 with 4:58 to go in the half.
Going for broke, Kliegl handed off to Brady Berkland, who broke to the sideline and dived over the goal line for the score with 4:49 to go in the half from 17 yards out. Zach Overberg added the conversion to tie the game at 7-7. The half would end with an exchange of punts by the two teams to lead to break.;
Spencer got the E-Hawks’ attention right away to open the second half when Dakota Baker returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, but the conversion kick snap was muffed, leaving Spencer with a 13-7 advantage with 11:47 to go in the quarter.
Emmetsburg took over at their own seven after the resulting kick and once again began grinding their way downfield, getting to the 45 yard line before the E-Hawks’ third fumble killed the drive with 9:00 on the clock.
The Tigers couldn’t do anything with the turnover and was forced to punt the ball back. Emmetsburg took over at their own five-yard line and started down field once again.
A big run by Andrew Wellik brought Emmetsburg to the 43 yard stripe on a third and 14 situation, but on the tackle, Wellik was hit late by a Spencer defender and the E-Hawks benefitted 15 yards from the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
With a first down at the Tigers’ 32, Emmetsburg kept driving down the field and would cap off the 95-yard drive with a one yard run by Wellik with 3:08 to go in the third quarter. The conversion kick was blocked, tying the score at 13-13.
Spencer would take over after the kick, but their drive would be stopped when Andrew Wellik sacked Altenhofen and forced the Tigers to punt on a fourth and 21 at their own 19.
The E-Hawks would drive down to the Tigers’ 36 yard line to end the third quarter with the 13-13 score.
Emmetsburg would stall out to start the fourth and turned the ball over on downs, only to punt the ball back with 10:07 to go in the game. The E-Hawks would take over, but for a fourth time, lost the ball on a fumble that the Tigers recovered at their 21 yard line.
Spencer would start driving, but would again kill their own drive with a delay penalty that forced a punt.
The E-Hawks would take over at their own 47 yard line and tried a different tactic. This time, Austin McCartan got the nod and made two big runs that brought the E-Hawks to the 12 yard line with 5:57 to go.
McCartan would cap the drive with a 12 yard run for the go-ahead score with 4:34 to go. The kick was waved off for too-many players and backed up, only to fade to the right for a 19-13 E-Hawk lead.
Spencer took over at their own 33 and began marching downfield to earn a first and 10 at the E-Hawk 30 with 1:33 to go. The Tigers nibbled down inside the 15, and with :34 to go, Altenhofen put up a pass to the end zone, but Emmetsburg’s Justin Studer read the play and picked off the pass in the end zone, running it out to the 10-yard line, sealing the win for the E-Hawks.
Andrew Wellik would gain 146 yards off 18 carries, while Marcus Akridge had 48 yards on nine carries and Austin McCartan added 47 yards off four sures. Brady Berkland added 37 yards on 11 rushes and Ryan Kliegl added 15 yards off 12 rushes.
Kliegl mad three of six passes for 43 yards, with Wellik making two catches for 25 yards and Berkland adding an 18 yard catch.
Jake Jackson had eight tackles and a fumble recovery while Wellik and Andrew Garrelts both recorded sacks.