High School Football: Willmar Cardinals deal with feisty Big Lake Hornets
A strong second half lifts Willmar over Big Lake, 20-7
WILLMAR — Big Lake gave Willmar all sorts of fits on Friday night.
But, the Cardinals were able to piece together a pair of scoring drives while the defense got a second-half shutout for the second straight week to put Willmar in the win column, 20-7. It was a North Central District White Division game at Hodapp Field.
“They had a good game plan defensively and were physical with our guys,” said Cardinals head football coach Jon Konold. “We were able to hang in there and our defense played outstanding once again. We were able to make some plays offensively and had a couple nice drives to come out with a victory.
“They’re a solid football team and did a good job. But we were able to grind one out.”
After being forced to punt on its first drive, Willmar (4-1) churned out a seven-play, 41-yard drive that culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run for Alex Schramm to go up 7-0 with 5 minutes, 11 seconds to play in the first quarter.
The Hornets’ Wing-T offense struck early in the second when fullback Rieley Mullen cut his way through the middle of the Cardinals’ defense for a 57-yard rushing score. The two teams stayed tied at 7-all at halftime.
With Big Lake (0-5) focused on taking away the inside run, Willmar’s offense focused on getting outside to eke out yardage.
“They were pinching their D-ends and giving us fits with our zone read,” Konold said. “We tried to get to the perimeter.”
With the Cardinals in the red zone, junior running back Michael Price got to the outside and broke three tackles to score on a 9-yard scamper and a 13-7 lead.
After Willmar’s defense stopped Big Lake on a 4th-and-8 in Cardinal territory with 5:10 left to play, Price eventually tacked on some insurance with a 3-yard touchdown run at 1:16.
“Price had a nice game, especially in that last drive,” Konold said. Price finished with 78 yards on 21 carries. “He was able to get to the edge and mix in some inside runs.”
On defense, the Cardinals limited the Hornets to 101 rushing yards. The pass defense held Big Lake quarterback Brandon Stern to 3 of 12 passing and had interceptions from Tyler Ludwig and Eli Jorgenson.
“The kids came up big, especially in the fourth,” Konold said of the defense. “ I can’t say enough about those guys and how they’re playing.”
At 7 p.m. Thursday, Willmar has its regular-season finale against Becker. The Bulldogs (2-2) lost to Hutchinson on Friday, 20-7.
Big Lake 7
Big Lake (0-5) 0 7 0 0 — 7
Willmar (4-1) 7 0 6 7 — 20
W – Alex Schramm 3 run (LaBlue Moo kick)
BL – Rieley Mullen 57 run (Josh Hunt kick)
W – Michael Price 9 run (kick failed)
W – Price 3 run (Moo kick)
First downs: 7 … Penalties: 7-58 … Rushing (Individual and team): Haden Thieke 4-2, Aiden Miller 3-5, Rieley Mullen 11-79, Brandon Stern 8-8, Reed Bottema 3-7. 29-101 … Passing (Individual and team): Stern 3-12-49-2 ... Receiving (Individual and team): Josh Hunt 1-15, Thieke 2-34 … Interceptions: Ashton Mckenzie 1 … Fumble recoveries: None … Tackles (solo-assist): N/A … QB sacks: N/A
First downs: 11 … Penalties: 3-25 … Rushing (Individual and team): Michael Price 21-78, Alex Schramm 20-76, Jacob Streed 1-(-5). 42-149 … Passing (Individual and team): Schramm 4-12-41-1 ... Receiving (Individual and team): Price 2-21, Brandt Sunder 1-9, Samuel Raitz 1-11 … Interceptions: Tyler Ludwig 1, Eli Jorgenson 1 … Fumble recoveries: None … Tackles (solo-assist): N/A … QB sacks: Peter Coverdell 1, Aidan Donelan 1