Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.
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BENSON — Emma Peterson’s runner in the lane fell at the buzzer and the Braves came away with a 63-62 non-conference win over Hancock on Thursday. Trailing by one, Benson...
MINNEAPOLIS -- The ACGC Falcons, trailing Mahnomen by 19 points in the fourth quarter, rallied for two scores but couldn't get all the way back and lost 26-20 in the Class A semifinals Saturday at the Metrodome. "We came in and did a good job of treating it like any other game," said Falcons receiver Lee Whitcomb, who scored one of his team's fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 46-yard pass play. "We knew we couldn't come in and treat it like a big game in the dome and we didn't. We left it all out there on the field and we tried our best." The Falcons finished the season 9-3.
MINNEAPOLIS -- In Dawson-Boyd's short history of playing in state football games, the Blackjacks never had known what it was like to walk around the Metrodome with that aching feeling of a loss in their stomachs. Until Saturday. In their fourth state tournament game in the dome, the defending Class A state champions fell victim to too many mistakes and lost to Bethlehem Academy 29-20 in the Class A state semifinals. "It's never easy to lose," said Blackjacks head coach Cory Larson. "Especially when you get this far in the playoffs and you know how good it feels to win games like this.
Two tall, athletic and powerful front row players bound for college teams next fall are the anchors of this year's Tribune All-Area Volleyball Team. Willmar senior Emily Minnick and Litchfield senior Bailey Koch are repeat first-teamers this year, and they are among seven area players who have again earned spots on the 21-player All-Area team. Minnick will play at North Dakota State next year and Augustana will be the lucky recipient of Koch's abundant talents. BBE senior Brittany Roelike, a four-year starter, is the lone three-time All-Area player on this year's team.
MORRIS -- It's not like the Dawson-Boyd football team has anything to prove, it's just that they keep proving things anyway. Earlier this season, the Blackjacks proved that a defending state champion could rebound from a tough loss.
ST. CLOUD -- Nick Kubesh returned to the BOLD football team's sideline, head down, feeling like he might have just cost his team a shot at the Class AA state semifinals. The Warriors' kicker had just missed a conversion kick in overtime after a BOLD touchdown, meaning that if Holdingford was able to score in its possession and add the kick, it would be game over, season over, for the Warriors. "I was really down," Kubesh said. "(BOLD head coach Steve) Solem came up to me and told me to keep my head up and believe in myself because they were going to need me to do it again." And they did.
It takes a lot for a team with a winning tradition to swallow a little pride after taking a serious beating from a nearby rival, regroup just one game into the season and battle back to earn a spot in a state tournament. But that's what the ACGC football team did, winning eight of nine games and a section championship after suffering a 34-0 beatdown against fellow state tournament team BOLD back on Aug. 31. "I think we've always thought we could get here," said Falcons quarterback and defensive back Dylan Hoerchler, who will lead the team against St.
Dawson-Boyd has a lot going its way as a Class A state quarterfinals football game against Browerville approaches. The Blackjacks have the confidence of the king as the defending state champions, for one. Two, it's going to play a team that runs a veer offense similar to that employed by Mahnomen, the team Dawson-Boyd dispatched in last year's state championship game. Third, the Blackjacks are coming off a decisive 42-21 win over a fierce rival, Minneota, in the Section 5A championship game last weekend.
Smart, composed, tough and athletic. Quick on the line, fast in the backfield, team-oriented and coached-up to the hilt. Even a few of those attributes will make you a pretty good football team. If, like BOLD, you've got them all, it's no surprise your outfit is undefeated, ranked No. 4 in the state and playing in the state quarterfinals this week. "This is just a great group to be around," said Warriors head coach Steve Solem. "I guess there are some similarities to our other teams but there's not a big star on this team.
ST. CLOUD -- The ACGC football team held the ball twice as long, ran twice as many plays and gained twice as many yards. And yet it took an improbable fourth down conversion and an improvised play call in the final 30 seconds of the game for the Falcons to turn back BBE 6-0 in the Section 4A championship game Saturday at Huskies Field. After having a 36-yard field goal erased by a penalty with about a minute left in the game, ACGC was facing fourth-and-22 from the Jaguars' 29 yard line.