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EV-Watkins wins battle of the birds

ST. CLOUD -- True to its nickname, Eden Valley-Watkins took to the air to surpass ACGC 36-20 on Thursday for the Section 5AA football crown at Husky Stadium.

ST. CLOUD -- True to its nickname, Eden Valley-Watkins took to the air to surpass ACGC 36-20 on Thursday for the Section 5AA football crown at Husky Stadium.

The Eagles soared on the right wing of Kiel Tschumperlin. The third quarterback to lead the Eagles to their section trifecta threw for his team's first three scores, plus executed a long pass play with two minutes left to undercut a valiant ACGC comeback.

Eden Valley-Watkins, the 2005 AA state champ and the 2004 runners-up, has now won 14 of 15 playoff games over the past three seasons. ACGC was a victim for the third time in that stretch and for the second time in the section title game.

The first two meetings were all EVW. Not this time. ACGC hung on tenaciously, getting to within a touchdown with three minutes left on a six-yard pass from Justin Schroeder to Vance Martin and Kyle Johnson's conversion kick.

ACGC had the Eagles in a hole on third down with just over two minutes left. But on third and long, the junior Tschumperlin faded back and found Mitch Forstad open down the middle for a 48-yard gain to the Falcons' two. Two plays later the Eagles iced the win on the 25-degree night when Paul Stommes bulled in from the one.

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The Eagles took their opening possession 69 yards for a 7-0 lead. Tschumperlin first pass of the game went 38 yards to Dusty Kramer who beat single coverage down the middle of the field for the score.

Impressively, the Falcons answered. Kurtis Huisman rimmed the right side for 47 yards to ignite the 77-yard march. On fourth and four from the 10, Schroeder kept around the left end for seven yards and a first down. A.J. Frederiksen barged over right guard for the last three yards to complete the eight-play drive.

But the three first downs on that drive were all the Falcons got for the half. The ACGC defense, led by linebackers Frederiksen and Nic Leither and tackle Dave Nelson, also stiffened. EVW got a break with 3:30 left in the second quarter when Huisman fumbled at midfield.

Tschumperlin completed four passes in a 46-yard drive, the last an ally-oop pass from the 11 to tightly covered Matt Schreiber in the corner of the end zone for a 14-7 halftime lead.

The Eagles extended the lead to 20-6 on a 43-yard pass from Tschumperlin to Adam Hesse, again behind the coverage with 9:31 to go in the third quarter. Jarrod Nohner made it 26-7 with a spinning 32- yard run with only seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.

But there was no quit in ACGC. Schroeder, making his first start of the post season after suffering a concussion in the regular-season finale, connected with Tom Huisman on a 43-yard TD that brought the ACGC fans to their feet. It stayed 26-13 after the two-point conversion failed.

The Falcons held and then drove down field again to score on the short pass to Martin from Schroeder. Johnson's kick closed the gap to one score again.

But Tschumperlin and his mates always seemed to have an answer.

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Tschumperlin connected on 9 of 20 passes for 176 yards and three scores. Schroeder was 11 of 20 for 172 yards, two TDs, and one interception.

Kurtis Huisman, plowing and spinning, ran for 118 yards in 19 carries. Nohner, a shifty runner, got 133 yards in 28 attempts for the Eagles. Both teams got 13 first downs. The Eagles advantage in total yards was slight, 359 to 316.

EV-Watkins 32, ACGC 20

ACGC (7-4).......................................7 0 0 13 -- 20

EV-Watkins (10-1)................................7 7 6 12 -- 32

EVW - Dustin Kramer 38 pass from Kiel Tschumperlin (Luke Euerle kick)

ACGC - A.J. Frederiksen 3 run (Kyle Johnson kick)

EVW - Matt Schreiber 11 pass from Tschumperlin (Euerle kick)

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EVW - Adam Hesse 43 pass from Tschumperlin (kick failed)

EVW - Jerrod Nohner 27 run (pass failed)

ACGC - Tom Huisman 43 pass from Justin Schroeder (run failed)

ACGC - Vance Martin 6 pass from Schroeder (Johnson kick)

EVW - Paul Stommes 1 run (pass failed)

Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City

Team statistics

First downs: 13 ... Rushing: 32-144 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 11-20-172-1 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 0

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Individual statistics

Rushing: Kurtis Huisman 18-119, Nic Leither 2-13, Aaron Haag 4-10, A.J. Frederiksen 1-3 ... Passing: Justin Schroeder 11-20-172-1 ... Receiving: Tom Huisman 4-71, Vance Martin 3-50, Brooks Maurer 3-43, Erick Larson 1-8 ... Punting: Justin Schroeder 3-37 ... Interceptions: none ... Fumble recoveries: none ... Tackles (solo-assist): Nic Leither 4-6, A.J. Frederiksen 4-5, Dave Nelson 2-9, Tom Huisman 6-1, Joel Slinden 2-5, Mike Amor 2-3 ... QB sacks: Nic Leither Β½, Dave Nelson Β½

Eden Valley-Watkins

Team statistics

First downs: 13 ... Rushing: 45-183 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 9-20-176-0 ... Fumbles lost: 0 ... Penalties: 8-45

Individual statistics

Rushing: Jerrod Nohner 28-133, Paul Stommes 11-35 ... Passing: Kiel Tschumperlin 9-20-176-0 ... Receiving: Dustin Kramer 4-67, Matt Schreiber 3-32, Adam Hesse 1-43, Mitch Fodstad 1-47 ... Punting: Travis Donnay 5-26.2 ... Interceptions: Zach Luebtke 1 ... Fumble recoveries: Kevin Kramer 1 ... Tackles (solo-assist): not available ... QB sacks: not available

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