WILLMAR — After two weeks on the road, the Willmar football team overpowered Big Lake in its home debut.
Going up 34-0 at halftime, the Cardinals scored nine touchdowns in a 65-0 North Central White district win over the Hornets on Friday at Hodapp Field.
“It’s good to have that victory under our belt,” said Willmar head coach Jon Konold. “The guys played really well and practiced well all week. We got back to the basics. We worked on our fundamentals, executed and played fast. On defense, we knew where we were going and played football.”
The win was the first time the Cardinals broke 60 points since beating St. Paul Johnson 62-20 in the Class AAAA state semifinals on Nov. 16, 2018. And, it was the largest margin of victory since Konold took over as head coach in 2009.
Willmar scored on all five of its first-half drives, with Michael Price finding the end zone three times. He finished the game with 88 yards on seven carries.
After the Cardinals’ first score, a 33-yard pass from Alex Schramm to Sam Raitz, the Hornets opened the ensuing drive with a 69-yard run by Trent Josewski that brought the ball to the Willmar 11-yard line. But after giving up the big play, the Cardinals’ defense kept the Hornets off the board when cornerback LaBlue Moo broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth down.
“These kids, they’ve been in two tight games leading up to tonight and they’ve faced some adversity,” Konold said. “They shook off that play, they tightened up on defense and executed well. LaBlue made a big play in the end zone for us to bat the ball down. It’s good to see the kids bounce back and be resilient.”
Finishing with 326 rushing yards as a team, Schramm carried the ball 10 times for 84 yards while Ramero Trevino powered his way to 76 yards on 11 attempts.
“Our kids up front really played well on both the offensive and defensive lines,” Konold said. “They opened up holes to get our guys in the open field and make some plays.”
Junior defensive end Jacob Flannigan had a big game on defense with seven total tackles, a fumble recovery and a sack. Moo had an interception along with three tackles.
The Cardinals (2-1) will host Sartell at 7 p.m. Friday for their homecoming game. The Sabres (1-3) lost for the third straight game on Friday, falling 35-6 to Brainerd.
Big Lake 0
Big Lake (0-3) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Willmar (2-1) 14 20 14 17 — 65
W – Sam Raitz 33 pass from Alex Schramm (LaBlue Moo kick)
W – Michael Price 15 run (Moo kick)
W – Schramm 5 run (Moo kick)
W – Price 26 run (kick failed)
W – Price 5 run (Moo kick)
W – Raitz 10 pass from Schramm (Moo kick)
W – Jaxxon Sjoberg 3 run (Moo kick)
W – Moo 37 field goal
W – Cullen Gregory 2 run (Moo kick)
W – Sjoberg 10 run (Moo kick)
First downs: 7 … Penalties: 4-30 … Rushing (Individual and team): Hayden Thieke 4-6, Trent Josewski 12-119, Nolan Miller 3-19. 32-114 … Passing (Individual and team): Tyler Anderson 5-17-1 37. ... Receiving (Individual and team): Thieke 4-26, Jonah Mallberg 1-11 … Interceptions: None … Fumble recoveries: Johnny O’Brien 1 … Tackles (solo-assist): N/A … QB sacks: N/A
First downs: 18 … Penalties: 5-40 … Rushing (Individual and team): Michael Price 7-88, Jaxxon Sjoberg 7-39, Alex Schramm 10-84, Cullen Gregory 4-18, Ramero Trevino 11-76, Jacob Streed 2-21. 41-326 … Passing (Individual and team): Schramm 6-8-0 74 ... Receiving (Individual and team): Brandt Sunder 3-20, Sam Raitz 3-54 … Interceptions: LaBlue Moo 1 … Fumble recoveries: Jacob Flannigan 1 … Tackles (solo-assist): Flannigan 1-6, Mattix Swanson 0-6, Zack Gadient 1-5, Sunder 3-1, Moo 3-0 … QB sacks: Flannigan 1