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Prep Football: Cardinals fall 21-20 to Otters

FERGUS FALLS -- For the second Friday night in a row, the Fergus Falls Otters won by a foot ... and a point.

Junior Sam Rausch's booted his seventh consecutive extra point of the young season with 11 second left in the fourth quarter to overcome the Willmar Cardinals 21-20 in Central Lakes Conference football Friday evening.

The final point provided the Otters (2-0) their first lead. Fergus rallied from deficits of 14-0 in the third quarter and then 20-14 with time running out.

An explosive burst by sophomore Michael Heitzman covering 75 yards broke a 14-all tie and put Willmar up 20-14 with 2:56 left in the fourth quarter. But the Cardinals failed on the extra-point conversion kick.

Fergus quarterback Brady Hansen had brought his Otters back from a 27-13 deficit with four minutes left a week earlier at Sauk Rapids, so three minutes must have seemed like three hours to the 6-2 senior,

Starting at his own 29 yard line he completed three straight passes before fullback Walker Heinen broke a 14-yard run to the Willmar 22.

The 10 play drive ended with Heinen bucking in from the one on third down with 15 seconds left. Rausch sent the kick through the uprights just like a week earlier when he kicked the Otters to a 28-27 win.

Willmar led 14-0 on short runs by quarterback Alex Grove in the first half and slotback Chris Cunningham in the third period.

Willmar's defense had been outstanding through 3½ quarters but from then on couldn't stop the Otters.

Drew Reinertson broke a 47 yard run and then completed a halfback pass to Reece Johnson covering 65 yards to tie it 14-14.

Grove passed for 179 yards to go with the team's 210 rushing yards.

Hansen threw for 246 yards. Willmar gave up 276 yard in the air a week ago in a 40-19 win over Buffalo.

Willmar is at home to host Brainerd (0-2) on Friday.

Fer. Falls 21, Willmar 20

Willmar (0-1, 1-1) 7 0 7 6 -- 20

Fergus Falls (2-0, 2-0) 0 0 7 15 -- 21

Wil - Alex Grove 2 run (Patrick Courtney kick)

Wil - Chris Cunningham 4 run (Courtney kick)

FF - Drew Reinertson 47 run (Sam Rausch kick)

FF - Reece Johnson 65 pass from Reinertson (Rausch kick)

Wil - Michael Heitzman 75 run (kick blocked)

FF - Reinertson 1 run (Rausch kick)


Team statistics

First downs: 14 ... Rushing: 33-210 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 16-26-179-0 ... Fumbles lost: 0 ... Penalties: 9-50

Individual statistics

Rushing: Chris Cunningham 7-24, Michael Heitzman 13-109, Alex Grove 12-59, Austin Rambow 1-18 ... Passing: Grove 16-26-179-0 ... Receiving: Cunningham 1-50, Rambow 9-72, Patrick Courtney 1-11, Brandon Christenson 2-15 ... Punting: Zach Streed 25.7 ... Interceptions: Tyler Stegeman ... Fumble recoveries: Heitzman... Tackles (solo-assist): Sean Zuidema 2-0, Streed 6-8, Stegeman 3-4, Cole Hagen 1-1, Joey Lee 2-2, Josh Kelly 3-7, Buzzy Tollefson 6-3, Chris Cunningham 2-1, Jordan Geurtz 2-1 ... Tackle-for-loss: Hagen, Streed, Lee

Fergus Falls

Team statistics

First downs: 14 ... Rushing: 30-114 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 16-28-246 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 3-15

Individual statistics

Rushing: Brady Hansen 12-42, Walker Heinen 14-23, Drew Reinertson 4-49 ... Passing: Hansen 15-27-181-1, Drew Reinertson 1-1-65-0 ... Receiving: Heinen 2-7, Drew Rheinertson 4-48, Reece Johnson 4-26, Bradia Wahlgren 5-141, Austin Rund 1-21... Punting: Hansen ... Interceptions: none... Fumble recoveries: none ...