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Spuds mash Cardinals

After taking the handoff from quarterback Alex Grove, Willmar running back Alfred Richards punches through the line near the Moorhead goal line behind blocks from Cass Herzog (63) and Zech Streed (11) in the first quarter Friday at Hodapp Field in Willmar. Richards was tackled just short of the touchdown but he scored on the next play to give Willmar a short-lived lead. Tribune photo by Tom Larson.

WILLMAR -- Just when it looked like Willmar had the Spuds on the rope, the visitors from Moorhead slipped away and went on a scoring binge.

In an incredible defensive sequence, inside linebacker Zech Streed scored back-to-back touchdown in the third quarter for a 35-28 Cardinal lead -- the first on a fumble recovery and 40-yard run and the second on an interception return.

But the Spuds shook off the twin setbacks and went on to post 29 straight points to collect a 56-35 victory at Hodapp Field on Friday night in perfect football weather.

It's the most points Willmar had allowed since a 62-7 blowout at Moorhead on Sept. 21, 2001.

Willmar led 28-27 at halftime when Streed deflected the Spud extra-point kick after Zack Day had scored his second TD of the half in the last 10 seconds prior to intermission.

Willmar looked good offensively the first half.

Alfred Richards opened the scoring a one-yard burst, Dean Stier nabbed an eight-yard scoring pass from Alex Grove and Grove found wide-out Patrick Courtney with a arching pass covering 38 yards to the lip of the end zone.

Willmar had 10 first downs a halftime but would go the rest of the way without another.

Moorhead (2-3) had now won two straight after losing their first three games.

Trailing 35-27, junior quarterback Aaron Lien directed four TD drives with expert passing and the slashing runs by Chase Morlock, who had 191 yards of total yardage, and Day.

The Cardinals returns to Central Lakes play at its homecoming when they host the Sartell Sabres.

Moorhead 56, Willmar 35

Moorhead (2-3) 7 13 14 14-- 56

Willmar (2-3) 14 7 14 0-- 35

Wil - Alfred Richards 1 run (Kristian Suves kick)

Mhd - Aaron Lien 2 run (Lien kick)

Wil - Dean Stier 8 pass from Alex Grove (Suves kick)

Mhd - Zack Day 18 run (Lien kick)

Wil - Patrick Courtney 38 pass from Grove (Suves kick)

Mhd - Day 6 pass from Lien (kick blocked)

Mhd - Chase Morlock 75 pass from Lien (run good)

Wil - Streed 40 fumble return (Suves kick)

Wil - Streed 30 interception return (Suves kick)

Mhd - Tyler Meehleib 35 pass from Lien (Lien kick)

Mhd - Morlock 18 run (kick fail)

Mhd - Jacob Uglem 17 run (run good)

Mhd - Day 1 run (Lien kick)


Team statistics

First downs: 21 ... Rushing: 46-250... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 15-22-303-1 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 1-10

Individual statistics

Rushing: Jacob Uglem 12-95, Chase Morloch 13-99, Zach Day 13-62 ... Passing: Aaron Lien 15-22-303-1 ... Receiving: Morlock 4-96, Meehleib 3-83, Uglem 5-71 ... Punting: none ... QB sacks: A.J. Wheeler


Team statistics

First downs: 10 ... Rushing: 20-82 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 12-20-126-0 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 5-32

Individual statistics

Rushing: Alfred Richards 14-50, Alex Grove 6-32 ... Passing: Grove 12-20-126-0 ... Receiving: Dean Stier 4-29, Austin Rambow 3-28, Chris Cunningham 1-10, Richards 1-2 ... Punting: Streed 3-36.8 ... Interceptions: Streed 1 ... Fumble recoveries: Streed 1 ... Tackles (solo-assist): Brandon Zuidema (2-0), Chris Cunningham 5-0, Kyle Sokulski 3-0, Zech Streed 2-7 (1 tackle for loss), Chris Odens 5-4, Jordan Geurtz 4-4 (2 tfl), Seth Pollock 5-5 (1 tfl), Jason Gunvalson 2-2 (3 tfl), Mitch Johannes 6-5 (3 tfl), Josh Kelly 1-6, Bryce Enstad 1-1, Kenny Pachke 1-5 (1 tfl), Matt Cordes 2-2 ... QB sacks: Gunvalson 1½, Streed ½.