Prep football: NLS looks to return to state
New London-Spicer is currently on a six game winning streak and the 8-1 Wildcats are seeking a third-straight trip to the Class AAA state playoffs. However, before they even think about reaching the state championship, they first have to get past...
New London-Spicer is currently on a six game winning streak and the 8-1 Wildcats are seeking a third-straight trip to the Class AAA state playoffs. However, before they even think about reaching the state championship, they first have to get past a tough Melrose squad in the Section 6AAA championship game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Cloud State.
Led by quarterback Ethan Bohlsen, NLS has accumulated 1,351 passing yards and nine touchdowns.
“We need a big game out of Ethan and we need to get our run game going,” New London-Spicer head coach Dan Essler said. “He needs to be accurate and sell the run on play action.”
The team averages 179 yards on the ground, guided by a multitude of talent. Dual-threat Shane Zylstra leads NLS in both rushing (570 yards) and receiving (476) and he’s scored 15 total touchdowns, including two on interception returns.
Back Trey Austvold, who missed four games with a broken collarbone, still ran for 386 yards and six touchdowns, and he also returned two punts and a kickoff for scores. Tailback Hunter Sjoberg added 225 yards and two touchdowns. James Magnunson, hauled in 13 receptions for 307 with two touchdowns.
Defensively, Zach Zwigerd leads the Wildcats with 80 tackles, eight of which went for lost yards. Defensive tackle Noah Welsh has 8.5 sacks. As a team, NLS has forced 15 turnovers, while only allowing 17.6 points per contest.
Melrose (8-2) comes into the matchup playing in a section championship game for the first time in more than 10 years. Running backs Zack Pierskalla and Anthony Welle ran all over Litchfield last week, combining for 296 yards and two scores.
While the Dutchmen’s offense is averaging more than 23 points per game the defense isn’t helping out a ton. The Dutchmen give up 21.2 points per game. Last Saturday was arguably their best defensive performance of the year as they tied a season low by only giving up six points to the Annandale Cardinals.
The game high temperature for Saturday’s tilt will be around 38 degrees with winds out of the south around four miles per hour. New London-Spicer with its experience and 40 upper classmen will be a tough team to beat.