Prep football: Willmar survives a third quarter Storm
SAUK RAPIDS — The Willmar Cardinals made it look easy jumping to a 36-0 lead but then watched it dwindle to 36-30 by the end of the third quarter.
It took a Tyler Stegeman pick-six to quiet the Storm in the fourth quarter and preserve a 42-30 Central Lakes win at Sauk Rapids on Friday night.
Willmar was unstoppable the first half. By intermission, they’d piled up 345 yards. The junior Augustine Hahn, in his first varsity start, completed 15 of 19 passes for 267 yards, including an 80-yard hookup with Chris Cunningham for a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
Junior Michael Heitzman ran for 45 yards and three touchdowns, and another junior, Austin Grove, nabbed 6 passes for 98 yards.
But the grinding Sauk engine finally turned over and caught late in the second quarter scoring a touchdown with 41 seconds left before halftime.
The Storm took over the game in the third quarter scoring three times, each time pushing the Cardinals off the line of scrimmage.
The Cardinals couldn’t move the ball. Hahn was intercepted twice.
Everything was flowing the Storm’s way. They were moving again but safety Tyler Stegeman picked off Sauk quarterback Tyler Bjork, and made a dazzling return 46 yards for six points and a 42-30 lead with 9:00 left to play.
Bill Magnuson’s Storm kept coming. They had first and goal with two minutes left but the defense held with OLB Colton Carlson and Stegeman stopping Bobby Wittowski on fourth and three with a minute left.
After giving up 30 straight points, the defense held the Storm scoreless the fourth quarter.
Willmar’s guest for the home curtainraiser Friday will be Brainerd, which buried Fergus Falls 72-14. Also, Apollo topped Rocori 27-15, St. Cloud Tech blanked Sartell 14-0 while Alexandria lost a non-conference meeting to Moorhead 28-12.
Total yardage was close by the end of the game: Willmar 483 yards, Sauk 441.Willmar 42,Sauk Rapids 30Willmar (1-0, 1-0) 14 22 0 6 — 42Sauk Rapids (0-1, 0-1) 0 6 24 0 — 30W– Michael Heitzman 1 run (Austin Grove pass from Augustine Hahn)W – Chris Cunningham 80 pass from Hahn (pass fail)W – Heitzman 8 run (pass fail)W – Heitzman 12 run (Tyler Pendill pass from Hahn)W – Johnson 2 run (Adam Nibaur pass from Hahn)S – Michael Lommel 2 run (run fail)S– Bobby Wittowski 35 run (Tyler Bjork run)S – Barclay Bates 3 run (Bjork run)S – Wittowski 7 run (Wittowski run)W – Tyler Stegeman 46 interception return (run fail)WillmarTeam statisticsFirst downs: 19 … Rushing: 31-152 … Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 21-32-331-2 … Fumbles lost: 0 … Penalties: 4-35Individual statisticsRushing: Augustine Hahn 10-79, Michael Heitzman 19-78, Vaughn Johnson 2-0 … Passing: Hahn 21-32-331-2 ... Receiving: Chris Cunningham 4-100, Austin Grove 6-98, Colton Carlson 1-10, Heitzman 1-12, Eli Gunderson 2-15, Adam Nibaur 2-24, Nick Coquyt 3-39, Johnson 1-24, Tyler Pendill 1-12 … Punting: Zach Radermacher … Interceptions: Eli Gunderson, Tyler Stegeman … Fumble recoveries: none … Tackles leaders (solo-assist): Johnson 5-0, Jacob Croonquist 3-3, Buzzy Tollefson 5-1, Zac Rudolph 5-1, Cunningham 7-2, Carlson 6-1, Stegeman 7-1 … Tackle-for-loss: Carlson, Stegeman, TollefsonSauk RapidsTeam statisticsFirst downs: 19 … Rushing: 49-305… Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 7-20-136-2 … Fumbles lost: 0 … Penalties: 8-45Individual statisticsRushing: Tyler Bjork 6-42, Bobby Wittowski 10-89, Logan Smoley 11-82l … Passing: Bjork 7-20-136-2