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ACGC finds success with two-headed monster

<b>T.J. Bartelt</b> Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City senior running backs Kurtis Huisman, left, and Deron Buboltz are each averaging over seven yards per carry this season.

Kurtis Huisman and Deron Buboltz won't have to look far for a Halloween costume to wear this year. They can go as the two-headed monster since they've been playing that part all season for Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City's football team.

And the two will try to put on another scare against Eden Valley-Watkins in the Section 5AA final today at 8 p.m. at St. Cloud State's Husky Stadium.

ACGC coach Terry Karlsgodt has always had excellent running teams, including the Class AA state championship team in 2001.

But this year's tandem of Huisman and Buboltz has been double-trouble for opposing defenses.

Huisman, a 195-pound senior, leads the area in scoring with 27 touchdowns and 32 extra-point kicks for 194 points. Buboltz, a 185-pound senior, is second with 152 points on 24 touchdowns and four two-point conversions. Buboltz is third in the area in rushing with 1,510 yards in 209 carries. Huisman is eighth with 1,110 yards in 151 attempts.

Despite being featured backs last season, the two have complemented one another well in their first season together in the backfield. Huisman led the Falcons last season with 1,354 yards, while Buboltz was Buffalo Lake-Hector's leading ground gainer with just under 1,000 yards. Buboltz transferred to ACGC this school year.

"It's worked out really well," said Karlsgodt. "They feed off each other. There is no jealousy or selfishness. And I think they have learned things from one another and have both become better players because of that."

ACGC is unbeaten this season, mainly because of a tremendous running attack. Of the Falcons' 585 plays from scrimmage this season, 521 or 89 percent have been on the ground. ACGC averages 7.0 yards per carry this season.

"(Deron) has such good acceleration," said Huisman, when asked to describe his backfield mate's attributes. "And he can cut so quickly. I can't do that."

"(Kurtis) has such good vision," said Buboltz. "He always knows which way to go. I'm not as good at that."

Karlsgodt said he feels they are equally talented and has no preference on which one carries the ball.

"I'll send a play in and they decide who carries the ball," Karlsgodt remarked. "I don't even know most of the time who's going to carry it. They decide that in the huddle or when they line up."

And there has never been a disagreement on who should get the ball on a certain play?

"Not at all," said the two in unison.

"One of us will just say 'I'll take this one' and we go with it," Buboltz explained. "We don't argue over it anything."

And when one says he'll carry it, the other is ready to help in whatever way he can.

"We like to block for each other, too," Huisman said. "If one of us has a big gain and the other helped with a good block, we're just as happy."

In the section semifinal win over MACCRAY last Saturday, Buboltz ran for 164 yards and Huisman 159.

That balance, both backs say, has been a tremendous benefit.

"Opponents can't key on one of us," Huisman said. "And not getting hit on every play helps, too. It's been a lot of fun this year."

Buboltz said he feels fresher than at any time last year because he doesn't have to carry the ball as much.

"My legs feel better after a game and I'm not as sore," he said. "That helps a lot late in the game, too. If one of us is getting a little tired, the other one will carry the ball."

The two often help one another defensively as well since they play on the same side. Buboltz is the right defensive end and is tied for the area lead with 10 sacks. He is third on the team with 50 tackles. Huisman is the right-side linebacker and is fifth on the team with 45 tackles.

"They are both very aggressive on defense," said Karlsgodt. "Defensive end is s totally new position for Deron. He was a linebacker/safety before. But he has developed into a solid pass rusher. And Kurtis can stop the run from his position or has the ability to play like a defensive back and cover deep as well."

Huisman also serves as the team's punter.

But it's in the backfield that the two excel as one. Opponents have no idea who to key on or how to stop them.

The two-headed monster has been so good this season that it's ... well, it's scary.