PAYNESVILLE — Through every stage of the first half against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted on Friday night, Paynesville looked like the team that had won three consecutive games coming in.
In the second half, the Bulldogs appeared to be even stronger.
Paynesville used a 34-point third quarter to down the Lakers 66-8 on Homecoming Night and record its fourth straight win by 21 or more points.
The Bulldogs utilized their high-octane offense, spreading the wealth as they outgained the Lakers 523 yards to 140 on offense.
The other side of the ball was just as strong for Paynesville, which forced four turnovers and limited HLWW to nine first downs.
Quarterback Max Weidner opened the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Levi Bast in the first quarter and added two rushing scores for good measure later on in the evening.
Carter Carlson and Zach Schroeder punched across runs of five and four yards, respectively, in the second quarter to put the Bulldogs up 24-0.
The Lakers added their lone score later in the quarter on a 15-yard run by Brennan Barth, who was otherwise bottled up. The HLWW quarterback rushed for 36 yards and passed for 58 yards and two interceptions.
Paynesville took a commanding 32-8 lead into the half before opening the floodgates. Carlson scored his second rushing touchdown of the day, finishing with an efficient 36 yards on five carries.
As it has been for each of the last four weeks for the Bulldogs, who are averaging 53 points per game over that stretch, it was death-by-committee for the opposing defense. The Lakers fell victim to 10 Paynesville players rushing for 368 yards while six different receivers caught passes.
Now five weeks into the regular season, the Bulldogs have established themselves as a part of the three-team class of Section 5AA alongside Minnewaska and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City. According to Minnesota-Scores' QRF, Minnewaska is ranked No. 8 in Class 2A, with ACGC at No. 9 and Paynesville right behind at No. 10.
Paynesville 66, HLWW 8
HLWW (1-3) 0 8 0 0 — 8
Paynesville (3-1) 8 24 34 0 — 64
P — Levi Bast 30 pass from Max Weidner (Zach Schroeder pass from Weidner)
P — Carter Carlson 5 run (Conversion good)
P — Schroeder 4 run (Schroeder run)
H — Brennan Barth 15 run (Barth run)
P — Weidner 5 run (Luke Johnson run)
P — Weidner 5 run (Schroeder run)
P — Carlson 4 run (Conversion failed)
P— Daltin Christinsen (Conversion failed)
P — Christensen 63 interception return (Josh Kranz run)
P — Caden Spanier 33 pass from Grady Fuchs (Conversion failed)
First downs: 9 ... Penalties: 2-10 ... Rushing (Individual and team): Brennan Barth 13-36, Connor Huston 9-31, Garret Grimler 4-10. 32-82 ... Passing (Individual and team): Barth 10-19-58-2 ... Receiving (Individual and team): Ben Paulson 8-58. 10-58 ... Interceptions: Paulson 1 ... Fumble recoveries: None ... Tackles (solo-assist): N/A ... QB sacks: None
First downs: 23 ... Penalties: 4-33 ... Rushing (Individual and team): Zach Schroeder 8-94, Max Weidner 6-68, Daltin Christinsen 2-68, Grant Fuchs 3-51, Carter Carlson 5-36, Jake Arnold 3-15, Sam Hopfer 3-14, Levi Bast 1-7, Shawn Rue ... Passing (Individual and team): Weidner 9-14-1-1, Fuchs 2-4-41-0. 1-18-152-0 ... Receiving (Individual and team): Caden Spanier 2-41, Grant Ludwig 3-35, Bast 1-30, Schroeder 2-21, Sam Oehrlein 2-19, Luke Johnson 1-9 ... Interceptions: Christinsen 1, Oehrlein 1 ... Fumble recoveries: Lucas Holtz 1, Josh Tupy 1 ... Tackles (solo-assist): Jack Poepping 5, Holtz 5 ... QB sacks: Tupy 2, Fuchs 1