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Prep football: Bison chill Cards in quarterfinals

Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Willmar wide receiver Austin Grove picks up 5 yards before being hauled down by Bison linebacker Jon Senger (3) in the first quarter of Tuesday’s Section 6AAAAA quarterfinal game at Hodapp Field in Willmar.

WILLMAR — Different animal, same results for Willmar in Section 6AAAAA.

Last year it was the Elks who stampeded the Cardinals at Hodapp Field. Last night the Cards were trampled by Bison.

Buffalo, the low seed in the six-team district, overpowered and outplayed No. 3 seed Willmar 43-20 on a chilly evening at Hodapp Field before 613 paid.

Elk River, obviously underrated after plowing through a grinding schedule, came in here a year ago and destroyed the Cards 51-21 on the way to winning the section title.

The Bison (3-6) progress to the semifinals to play No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville, a chance to avenge a 21-3 loss to start the season.

Willmar ends up 6-3 and will lose 10 starters among 12 seniors.

The Bison won the line of scrimmage both ways and through both halves.

Willmar’s offense produced just two touchdowns; the other six-points came on n 80-yard kick-off return by Chris Cunningham which tied the score 7-7, as close as the Cards ever got to the lead.

The Bison, who finished tied for seventh in the 11-team Mississippi 8, outgained the host team 417 yards to 252.

Hunter Thompson (Page A1), a lanky senior wing back, spurted for 142 yards and three second-half touchdowns as the Buffs piled up 340 rushing yards in 59 plays. The outcome was payback for a 41-20 loss at Willmar that opened the 2012 campaign.

Auggie Hahn threw for 123 yards on 13 of 24 with two piks. Unofficially, the junior ends his first year on varsity with 2,032 yards and 2,492 yards of total offense.

The Bison seemed well-prepared for Willmar’s up-tempo spread offense, limiting big plays to a 44-yard fake punt and pass from Adam Nibaur to Colten Carlson.

Running back Michael Heitzman found little room between the tackles but managed 54 yards in 15 tries, though he fumbled 3 times.

Tackle Joel Engel recovered one of those in the Bison end zone for Willmar’s final score of the 2013 season.

The defense was under siege by the Bison backs all night. Nose guard Leon Richards made 9 stops, linebackers Vaughn Johnson 11 and Jacob Croonquist 7, end Zac Rudolph 6 and safety Travis Deegan 8. Tyler Stegeman blocked a kick and caused a fumble.

Buffalo 43, Willmar 20

Buffalo (2-6)        10 14  6  13— 20

Willmar (6-2)      7    7  6   0 — 43

B – Jon Senger 5 run (Luke Folkerds kick)

W – Chris Cunningham 80 kickoff runback (Max Trochlil kick)

B – Folkerds 35 field goal

B – Levi Bean 40 pass from Taylor Spier (kick blocked by Tyler Stegeman)

W – Michael Heitzman 1 run (Trochlil kick)

B – Taylor Spier 4 run (Hunter Thompson pass from Spier)

W – Joel Engel recover fumble in end zone (kick fail)

B – Thompson 29 run (kick fail)

B – Thompson 2 run (kick fail)

B – Thompson 5 (Folkerds kick)


First downs: 21 … Rushing: 59-340 … Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 3-6-77-0 … Fumbles lost: 1 … Penalties: 2-10

Rushing: Wyatt Brings  5-74, Joe McCleelan 7-35, , Hunter Thompson 24-142, Joe Johnson 3-22, Jon Stenger 13-52, Taylor Spier 7-15,   … Passing: Taylor Spier 3-6-77-0  ... Receiving: Levi Bean 2-71, Thompson 1-6  … Interceptions: Joe Johnson, Bean … Fumble recoveries: Sam Ortmann


First downs: 15 … Rushing: 30-129 … Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 13-24-123-2 … Fumbles lost: 2 … Penalties: 8-44

Rushing: Michael Heitzman 15-54, Auggie Hahn 15-75 … Passing: Hahn 13-24-123-2, Adam Nibaur 1-1-44-0 ... Receiving: Eli Gunderson 1-8, Heitzman 1-15, Chris Cunningham 3-26, Colton Carlson 1-44, Nibaur 4-49, Austin Grove 4-25 … Punting: Nibaur 1-47.0 …  Fumble recoveries: Colton Carlson … Tackles (solo-assist): Gunderson  2-1, Buzzy Tollefson 4-1, Max Trochlil 1-0, Joely Lee 0-1, Cunningham 3-1, Carlson 4-0, Vaughn Johnson 4-7, Jacob Croonquist 4-3, Cole Hagen 2-3, Leon Richards 6-3, Zac Rudolph 6-0, Travis Deegan 5-3, Tyler Stegeman 4-1 (forced fumble, blocked kick) … Tackles-for-loss: Carlson

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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