Second-half meltdown: Willmar football loses to Rocori
WILLMAR -- Special teams blunders and second-half offensive struggles doomed Willmar on Friday, which fell to 0-2 with a 41-21 loss to Rocori at Hodapp Field.
WILLMAR - Special teams blunders and second-half offensive struggles doomed Willmar on Friday, which fell to 0-2 with a 41-21 loss to Rocori at Hodapp Field.
Everything seemed to be going the Cardinals' way in the first half, and when Donald Jurek hit Jake Evans on an 18-yard touchdown pass, Willmar had a 21-7 lead.
But things turned shortly thereafter when Keaton Ficker, who caught a 51-yard touchdown pass on the Spartans previous drive, returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards to the Willmar 12, setting up a Nick Warne touchdown run three plays later.
Two more special teams plays put Rocori ahead for good.
Gunner Feldhege returned a Willmar punt 75 yards for a third-quarter touchdown. Though Willmar kept the lead after blocking the extra point, it wouldn't last much longer.
After Rocori forced a three-and-out, Colin Kolbjornsen burst through the line, blocked a punt and tracked it down in the end zone, giving the Spartans their first lead.
They would add two more scores in the fourth quarter on a 26-yard touchdown reception by Ficker, and a 43-yard interception return by William Hufs.
After gaining 320 yards in the first half, the Cardinal offense sputtered in the second, gaining just 32.
"I thought we played really well in the first half," Coach Jon Konold said. "It just kind of fell apart on us in the second half."
Jurek finished 14-of-30 for 233 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
He hit Nick Prokosh for a 73-yard score in the first quarter, while also adding 51 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Despite the rough start, Konold remains confident his young team, which includes a completely revamped group of skill players, will pick things up in the coming weeks.
"We're fine," Konold said. "Wins and losses right now don't matter. It's about how we're getting better and how we'll keep getting better throughout the season. We're going to play everybody though and we'll find a way to win some games."
The Cardinals travel to Brainerd to face the 1-1 Warriors at 7 p.m. Friday.
Rocori 41, Willmar 21
Rocori (2-0).................0 14 13 14 - 41
Willmar (0-2)................. 14 7 0 0- 21
W- Donald Jurek 8 run (Ryan Liimatta kick)
W- Nick Prokosch 73 pass from Jurek (Liimatta kick)
R- Keaton Ficker 51 pass from Mason Primus (Uriel Rodriguez kick)
W- Jake Evans 18 pass from Jurek (Liimatta kick)
R- Nick Warne 5 run (Rodriguez kick)
R- Gunner Feldhege 75 punt return (kick blocked)
R- Colin Kolbjornsen block punt recovery in end zone (Rodriguez kick)
R- Ficker 26 pass from Primus
R- William Hufs 43 INT return (Rodriguez kick)
First downs: NA ... Rushing: 30-22 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 10-21-206-0 ... Fumbles lost: 0 ... Penalties: 4-26
Rushing: Mason Primus 6-3, Chase Smetana 2-2, Nick Warne 7-6, Mitchell Dahl 1-(-5), Matthew Koshiol 7-21 ... Passing: Primus 10-21-206-0 ... Receiving: Derek Thompson 4-94, Keaton Ficker 2-77, Eli Emerson 1-3, Koshiol 1-22 ... Punting: n/a ... Interceptions: William Huls 1, Jesse Huber 1 ... Fumble recoveries: name not available 1 ... Tackles (solo-assist): NA ... QB sacks: NA
First downs: 15 ... Rushing: 43-119 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 14-30-233-2... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 7-36
Rushing: Donald Jurek 12-51, Tyler Johnson 21-68, Caleb Owens 1-0, Nick Prokosch 1-(-5), Andy Schultz 2-5 ... Passing: Jurek 14-27-233-2, Schultz 0-3-0-0 ... Receiving: Jake Evans 4-32, Noah Slagter 7-93, Prokosch 2-99, Dunnick 1-9 ... Punting: NA ... Interceptions: none ... Fumble recoveries: none ... Tackles (solo-assist): Bryce Erickson 2-0, Slagter 4-1, Evans 3-1, Drey Dirksen 4-3, Prokosch 2-1, Tyler Johnson 2-4, Mason Hall 2-2, Grant Duininck 3-1, Josh Russell 0-1, Louis Russell 2-0, Brady Reigstad 3-2, Andrew Reigstad 0-1, Matt Bangston 1-0, Brady Orson 3-0, Ryan Liimatta 2-0 ... QB sacks: Reigstad 1