With Owen Huehnergarth running for as many yards as he had in the whole first half and Lane Kramer and Cayden Gassmann picking off the Panther quarterback, the Blazers used a big third quarter to seize control of their win at Monticello Sept. 10, 48-21.
They went into that frame up 20-13 after giving up the first touchdown of the game to the Panthers. Huehnergarth ran the final yard of their series for a touchdown at the 3:53 mark but Logan Burchard’s extra-point kick was blocked, 7-6. Midway through the second Nick Wulfekuhle ran for nine yards and Burchard’s kick made it 13-7. But just two minutes later, the Panthers tied it at 13-all, signifying that the No. 8-ranked team in 3A was not going to give the No. 9-ranked team in 2A any leeway.
That was OK by the Blazers as they edged ahead anyway with 52 seconds left in the half on a Gassmann-to-Padraig Gallagher pass of 45 yards for the lead. That set the stage for the third quarter.
Huehnergarth ran the first one in after Kramer’s pick, gaining 16 yards and a 27-13 lead. Gassmann’s pick, his second of the night, set up the next series and Huehnergarth capped that one with a 41-yard scramble. His hat trick for the quarter was complete when he finished a steady drive for a 4-yard run and a 41-13 mark. He gained over 136 yards in the frame, topping his first-half total of 132.
Wulfekuhle ended scoring with a 59-yard dash with 6:28 left in the game. Monticello tacked on a meaningless TD and two-point conversion with a little over two minutes to go.
Coach Mark Atwater added, “This was just a fun, hard-nosed football game. We felt like we had some things that would work very consistently with their alignment and we were able to execute them. It really all started upfront with our offensive line and tight ends. Those guys work extremely hard day in and day out. Obviously, our ball carriers get the credit in the stat book but those guys know the importance of how that group blocks upfront. It was great to see us explode a little bit offensively and be able to rush the ball like that.
“Defensively, I was super proud of how we were able to regroup and come out in the second half to really shut them down. We gave up some big plays but our guys shook it off mentally and were able to go out and make the next play. Turnovers became a big part of the game and we got takeaways when we needed them.
“It was a very physical game, something this group prides itself in. They practice the right way and it shows. Now the focus has to be on not deviating from that path. We need to continue to prep the same way each week and be ready to go for a big rivalry game this Friday.”
Beckman’s statisitcal leaders were: rushing — Huehnergarth 40-for-266, four TDs, Wulfekuhle 7-for-89, two, Johan Platel 4-for-30, Gassmann 4-for-16, Kramer 1-for-1; passing — Gassmann 5-of-7 for 60, one TD, one INT; receiving — Gallagher 1-for-45, one TD, Luke Schieltz 2-for-9, Eric Heinrichs 1-for-98, Huehnergarth 1-for-(-2); PATs-Burchard 6-of-7; punt returns — Schieltz 2-for-30; kick returns — Schieltz 2-for-55, Conner Grover 1-for-11; tackles — Wulfekuhle 5.5 (four solo), Oakley Harbaugh four (three), Schieltz and Elliot Naughton three (two), Ben Lueck 2.5 (two), Platel two (two), Burchard, Gassmann, Kramer, and Jason Koopmann 1.5 (one), Luke Boge 1.5, Grover, Wyatt Schulte, Eli Kluesner one (one), Gavin Davis one, Max Mullis, Michael Dinan and Heinrichs 0.5.