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YME steamrolls Otter Tail, 36-7

GRANITE FALLS -- All top-seeded Yellow Medicine East needed was a little spark, a stellar play to get the momentum to fully swing its way Saturday against Ottertail Central in the Section 6AA semifinal game.

GRANITE FALLS -- All top-seeded Yellow Medicine East needed was a little spark, a stellar play to get the momentum to fully swing its way Saturday against Ottertail Central in the Section 6AA semifinal game.

Trailing 7-6 in the first quarter, YME's special teams gave the squad the lift it needed. Junior defensive end Casey Luepke blocked the Ottertail Central punt deep in Bulldogs' territory, giving the Sting the ball on the 13-yard line. Two plays later, senior quarterback Luke Berg completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Clay Sharkey to put YME up 12-7, lead they wouldn't relinquish. The Sting finished with a 36-7 win, setting up a section final against third-seeded West Central Area Friday at the Fargodome.

Ottertail Central (7-3) put YME's defense on its heels on the first play from scrimmage, completing a 39-yard pass play to immediately invade Sting territory.

The Bulldogs then turned it over to bruising, 204-pound fullback Tyler Lundquist, who carried the ball five of the next eight plays. Quarterback Jon Dahl snuck in from the one-yard line to put the Bulldogs up 7-0.

"Once again, we had a little scare there in the start," said senior linebacker Jordan Gaffaney. "This is the third game in a row that the opposing team has scored first."

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But instead of taking a full half to find its bearings, like what happened when Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City held a 14-0 halftime lead Oct. 19, YME pounded the ball 12 times for 62 yards to cut the lead to 7-6.

"They were a tough offensive club," YME head coach Dave Brokke said of Ottertail Central. "The first drive they did things well and caught us off guard and rammed it down our throats. Luckily, our offense came down and scored right away."

Then came the blocked punt and Berg's patient, across the field pass to Sharkey to take the lead. Berg was forced to his right, but the YME gave him plenty of time to wait for Sharkey to get to the left corner of the end zone.

YME's defense stiffened the rest of the game. Ottertail Central got as close as YME's nine-yard line, but the Sting held their ground, forcing a turnover on downs.

"Our defense is quick and big. We swarm; we're better at team tackling this year," said senior running back/defensive end Jerrod Lobdell. "It's nice having quick defensive ends, because you can prevent guys from getting outside. When you need them to squeeze down on off-tackle plays, they can do that because they're big enough."

YME's next three scores were from big plays. Lobdell scored on a 35-yard run in the second half, followed by Ryan Fromm's 78-yard TD reception. The Sting scored on their first four possessions of the half and held a 29-7 lead.

Lobdell, who finished with 107 yards rushing on 12 carries, scored another 35-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Berg completed 6-of-9 passes for 134 yards and Fromm caught three passes for 87 yards. Gaffaney recorded 10 tackles and Berg intercepted a pass to lead the defense.

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YME 36, Ottertail Central 7

xxxxx

Ottertail Central (7-3) 7 0 0 0 -- 7

YME (8-2) 14 14 0 7 -- 36

OTC - Jon Dahl 1 run (Luke Buckholz kick)

YME - Jerrod Lobdell 3 run (kick failed)

YME - Clay Sharkey 13 pass from Luke Berg (Ryan Fromm run)

YME - Lobdell 35 run (Sharkey pass from Berg)

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YME - Fromm 78 pass from Berg (Steve Risa kick)

YME - Lobdell 35 run (Risa kick)

Ottertail Central

Team statistics

First downs: 13 ... Rushing: 39-134 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 8-23-125-1 ... Fumbles lost: none ... Penalties: 6-40

Individual statistics

Rushing: Tyler Lundquist 16-101, Nick Olson 5-18, Craig Lachowitzer 6-15 .... Passing: John Dahl 8-23-125-1 .... Receiving: Luke Buckholz 4-51, Craig Lachowitzer 2-47, Andy Eckhoff 2-27 .... Punting: Tyler Lundquist 4-25 .... Interceptions: Nick Olson 1 .... Fumble recoveries: none .... Tackles (solo-assist): xx x-x ... QB sacks: xx

Yellow Medicine East

Team statistics

First downs: 7 ... Rushing: 31-169 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 6-11-134-1 ... Fumbles lost: none ... Penalties: 6-60

Individual statistics

Rushing: Jerrod Lobdell 12-107, Luke Berg 5-35, Ryan Fromm 4-16, Kyle Gaffaney 2-11 .... Passing: Luke Berg 6-9-134-0, Shawn Neu 0-2-0-1 .... Receiving: Ryan Fromm 3-87, Clay Sharkey 2-20, Dylan Hempel 1-24 .... Punting: Andrew Walters 1-34, Ryan Fromm 1-34 .... Interceptions: Luke Berg 1 .... Fumble recoveries: none .... Tackles (solo-assist): Jordan Gaffaney 4-6, Nick Rolfing 3-3, Tim Palm 3-1 ... QB sacks: n/a

NEXT -- xxxxxxx

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