Willmar pushes past Tech with late surge

ST. CLOUD -- Cory Hanson scored on a 21-yard touchdown run with 1:55 remaining in the game, rallying the Willmar Cardinals to a 31-27 win over St. Cloud Tech in a Central Lakes Conference game Friday night.

ST. CLOUD -- Cory Hanson scored on a 21-yard touchdown run with 1:55 remaining in the game, rallying the Willmar Cardinals to a 31-27 win over St. Cloud Tech in a Central Lakes Conference game Friday night.

Not since the Cardinals beat both Brainerd and Alexandria in 2000 on the way to tying for the Central Lakes title have the Cardinals licked such a formidable foe on the road.

Willmar (4-2, 4-2) outgained the Tigers 452-304. Hanson, a senior, rushed for 184 yards in 28 tries and two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Andy Boersma and Jordan Smith also had big games for Willmar and quarterback Michael Dunham completed his first six throws on the way to 173 yards passing.

Linebackers Justin Schwie-ger, Josh Mead, Jarod Hennen, Trent Molacek and Ben Lippert helped the Willmar defense put the brakes on St. Cloud Tech at crucial times.


Willmar marched the opening kickoff 84 yards for the early lead. Hanson busted runs of 16 and 31 and Dunham hooked up with Smith for a 31-yard gain before the junior quarterback burrowed in from the one.

Tech answered with a long march. Adam Wheeler, a 250-pound short-yardage specialist, bulled the last yards but the kick missed and Willmar still led 7-6.

Dunham directed another long drive lapping the first and second quarters. The key play came after a Willmar clip penalty when Andy Boersma gained 24 yards on a Dunham pass. Boersma bit off 17 more yards and fullback Levi Brown finished it from the two for a 13-6 lead.

Tech answered with 1:45 left in the half when Dill snuck in after a 35-yard pass to Aaron Fruth.

Willmar wasn't done. The Cardinals completed their best half of football as Dunham hit Smith for a 17-yard touchdown and a 19-13 lead heading to intermission. The 41-second drive was made possible by Boersma's 67-yard kickoff return to the Tech 27.

Willmar wasn't as sharp in the third quarter and Tech leaped in front 27-19.

Covering 6-5 Aaron Fruth, 5-10 cornerback Joel Schendel made a nice play to pick off a Dill pass late in the third quarter. The Cardinals moved downfield on a 34-pass to Boersma and a fourth-down pass from Dunham to tight end Ryan DeGree. Hanson zigzagged 11 yards for the TD but the conversion failed and Willmar still trailed 27-25.

Willmar, which got 23 first downs, got the ball back but 85 yards away. Hanson sprinted for 17, Brown picked up key yards and Boersma found an opening to the Tech 20. On the next play, Hanson hit the middle of the line, pushed off one defender and spun away from two more to score with 1:55 left and a 31-27 lead. Ben Lippert hijacked a Dill pass a few plays later to seal the victory in front of the stunned Tigers' faithful at snug Clark Field.


Willmar 31, SC Tech 27

Willmar (4-2, 4-2)......... 7 12 0 12 -- 31

SC Tech (3-2, 3-3)........ 6 7 14 0 -- 27

Wil - Michael Dunham 1 run (Jordan Smith kick)

Tec - Adam Wheeler 3 run (kick blockedl)

Wil - Levi Brown 1 run (kick blocked)

Tec - Tye Dill 1 run (Charles Klaverkamp kick)

Wil - Smith 16 pass from Dunham (run fail)


Tec - Aaron Fruth 13 pass from Dill (Klaverkamp kick)

Tec - Taylor Ford 24 run (Klaverkamp kick)

Wil - Cory Hanson 11 run (pass fail)

Wil - Hanson 21 run (kick fail)


Team statistics

First downs: 23 ... Rushing: 47-279 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 12-18-173-1 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 8-79

Individual statistics


Rushing: Cory Hanson 28-184, Andy Boersma 5-46, Michael Dunham 8-28, Levi Brown 6-21 ... Passing: Dunham 12-17-173-1, Jon Leaks 0-1-0-0 ... Receiving: Jordan Smith 6-74, Boersma 3-73, Leaks 1-6, Ryan DeGree 2-20 ... Punting: Smith 1-47.0... Interceptions: Jarod Hennen, Joel Schindel, Ben Lippert ... Fumble recoveries: none ... Tackles (solo-assist): Schendel 0-6, Jon Leaks 0-1, Mitch Schneider 0-4, Keith Olson 1-0, Cory Hanson 1-1, Hennen 3-5, Brett Blomquist 0-1, Adam Schow 0-1, Josh Mead 2-8, Griffin Leitch 0-1, Trent Molacek 1-7, Justin Schwieger 4-12, Jake Morris 0-1, Kent Underland 0-3, Adam Kremer 0-3, Thomas Boike 1-0. Lippert 0-7 ... QB sacks: none

St. Cloud Tech

Team statistics

First downs: 15 ... Rushing: 28-174... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 11-29-130-3 ... Fumbles lost: 0 ... Penalties: 4-20

Individual statistics

Rushing: Tye Dill 2-10, Taylor Ford 17-133, Adam Wheeler 9-31 ... Passing: Dill 11-29-130-3 ... Receiving: Aaron Fruth 7-96, Collin Stinogel 3-18, Jake Rengel 1-16, Eli Kelly 1-0 ... Punting: Collin Stinogel 1-46, Dill 1-35.04 ... Interceptions: Dill

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