The Wheaton/Herman-Norcross Warriors jumped to a 30-0 halftime lead on the way to a 44-6 win over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Friday night in Fergus Falls.
“We had trouble keeping pace with Wheaton’s physical play tonight,” commented Hillcrest Head Coach Derrick Clark. “I thought we played okay defensively on their first drive but we fumbled the ensuing kickoff giving them good field position. After they scored the second time we just couldn’t find our rhythm. They have a lot of weapons on offense and we struggled to contain all of them. Defensively they are a very physical team and we struggled to move the line of scrimmage.”
Zach Braaten scored on a one yard run at 6:16 of the first quarter to put the Warriors on the scoreboard. Clint Determan made it 7-0 with the PAT kick. At 3:54 Jarred Ehlers scored on a two-yard run, making it 13-0.
Wheaton/Herman-Norcross added three second quarter scores on a 73 yard pass from Braaten to Matthew Thielen and a two-point conversion run by Ryder Schmidt at 7:29, a 12 yard TD pass from Braaten to Gunner Martinek and an extra-point kick by Determan, and a safety on a bad snap on a punt.
Braaten and Thielen connected on a 7 yard touchdown pass and Determan’s extra point kick increased the score to 37-0 at 8:21 of the third quarter.
Hillcrest scored their lone touchdown when Abraham Burleigh scored on a 12 yard run at 11:15. Determan scored the final Warrior TD on a 59 yard run and then finished the scoring with another PAT kick to put the final at 44-6.
“Defensively we were led by Anthony Panza (6 solo tackles, 5 assists) and Simon Strommen (4 solo tackles, 6 assisted),” reported Coach Clark. “I thought they both played well at the linebacker position and filled well in the run game. Zeke Irhke had a nice interception as well.
Offensively, we were led by Abe Burleigh who filled in at running back for Ben Christenson who sustained an injury in the first half and didn’t return.”
Wheaton/Herman-Norcross finished with 357 total yards, 255 coming on the ground. Martinek ran for 102 yards on 11 carries and Determan had 79 rushing yards on just 6 attempts. Braaten was 5-for-7 throwing the football for 102 yards and 3 TD passes. Braaten hauled in 2 passes for 80 yards.
Hillcrest had 116 yards of offense, 106 rushing. Leaders were Burleigh (18 carries, 80 yards) and Caden Fischer (3 completions, 8 attempts, 10 yards, 11 carries, 15 yards).