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Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Willmar wide receiver Chris Cunningham, right, heads for the corner of the end zone after catching a crossing pass from quarterback Augustine Hahn for a 37-yard touchdown and a 16-0 lead in the first quarter on Wednesday at Hodapp Field in Willmar.

Prep football: Cards sack Tigers, finish season 6-2

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By Rand Middleton

WILLMAR — A field that was a muddy bog 24 hours earlier following three days of rain was turned into a grip-fast speedway by a whirlybird in time for the Willmar Cardinals to blaze by St. Cloud Tech 42-14 on Wednesday evening.

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With little slippin’ or slidin’, the Cardinals shot to a 29-0 lead by half, the defense barely letting the Tech attack unit sniff mid-field as 1,189 looked on under a bright “Walleye Moon.”

The third-seed Cardinals will have a home game Tuesday to start the Section 6AAAAA postseason, hosting Buffalo.

The six regular-season wins are the most since Willmar went 7-1 in 2000, losing the finale at Clark Field to the Tigers 21-7.

Willmar piled up 406 yards of offense while limiting Tech’s land-based attack to 149 yards, most of that in the air against the Cardinal reserves in the fourth quarter when the visitors got both scores.

Junior quarterback Augustine Hahn threw for 234 yards putting him at 1,899 for the season. Tall target Adam Nibaur snared 7 throws for 100 yards, picking up hard yards after several catches.

Willmar started at midfield or better the entire first half. The first two drives stalled but after that it was Michael Heitzman breaking around left end for a 5-yard score and then Chris Cunningham on an over-the-middle catch-and-run covering 37 yards. In between, Joey Lee sacked Tech QB Bryant Bohlig for a safety.

Heitzman left the game in the second quarter with an apparent ankle sprain and Vaughn Johnson took over. Coach Jon Konold turned the junior linebacker/fullback loose on a 52-yard TD march capped by Johnson striding off left tackle for a 5-yard score. Nibaur used his 6-foot-6 frame to bring down Hahn’s well-placed end zone pass for a 29-nil lead at half.

The defense chased the Tech QB into the end zone on the first-play of the second half where LB Buzzy Tollefson recovered a fumble, forced by Leon Richards, for a 36-0 spread. Nibaur caught his second TD fling from Hahn, covering 7 yards, for the final Willmar posting.

Most Tech/Willmar encounters are not like this. You have to go back to 1987 when Willmar bit the Tigers 40-0 and 35-0 in back-to-back games, the second to open playoffs.

Willmar held sway on the line of scrimmage both ways. The defense was furious, as was Tech’s, in tackling and pursuit. But Willmar’s wasn’t on the field much until the last period resulting in anemic tackling totals.

Willmar 42, SC Tech 14

SC Tech (3-2, 5-3)              0    0    0 14 — 14

Willmar (4-1, 6-2)              16  13  13  0 — 42

W – Michael Heitzman 5 run (Max Trochlil kick)

W – Safety. Joey Lee tackled Tech QB in end zone.

W – Chris Cunningham 37 pass from Auggie Hahn (Trochlil kick)

W – Vaughn Johnson 5 run (kick fail)

W – Adam Nibaur 20 pass from Hahn (Trochlil kick)

W – Buzzy Tollefson recovered Tech fumble in end zone (Trochlil kick)

W – Nibaur pass 7 pass from Hahn (kick fail)

T – Cole Schreder 4 run (pass fail)

T – Andrew Weber 41 pass from Braondon from (run good)

St. Cloud Tech

First downs: 8 … Rushing: 27-40 … Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 8-16-109-0 … Fumbles lost: 3 … Penalties: 4-55

Rushing: Brennan Paulsen 8-18, Austin Klaverkamp 1-4, Josh Falk 9-36  … Passing: Bryant Bohlig 0-4-0-0, Jay Kedrowski 5-8-38-0, From 3-4-71-0... Receiving: Weber 2-46, Junior Pickner 3-26, Jake Martig 2-24 … Punting: Andy Foley 6-37.8 … Interceptions: Josh Schaefer 

Willmar

First downs: 21 … Rushing: 42-132 … Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 21-37-274-1 … Fumbles lost: 0 … Penalties: 7-53

Rushing: Michael Heitzman 13-50, Vaughn Johnson 11-39, Cole Hagen 3-7, Sam Kerfeld 7-13, Auggie Hahn 6-12… Passing: Hahn 19-32-234-1, Zach Radermacher 2-5-30-0 ... Receiving: Nic Coquyt 2-10, Chris Cunningham 4-65, Colton Carlson 2-19, Adam Nibaur 7-100, Austin Grove 2-40, Max Trochlil 1-21, Tyler Pendall 2-17, Cole Hagen 1-6, Kerfeld 1-9l  … Punting: Nibaur 2-34.0 … Interceptions: none … Fumble recoveries: Joey Lee, Travis Deegan, Buzzy Tollefson … Tackles (solo-assist): Eli Gunderson 3-0, Chris Cunningham 2-1, Colten Carlson 4-1, Vaughn Johnson 2-4, Buzzy Tollefson 2-0, Joely Lee 2-0, Leon Richards 1-4, Zac Rudolph 5-1, Tyler Stegeman 2-1, Travis Deegan 1-2 … QB sacks: Lee, Richards … Tackles-for-loss: Carlson, Richards, Lee.,

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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