Staples-Motley 24, Frazee 14
Key: Matt Miller returned an interception 80 yards to seal SM's victory.
Subdistrict: SM 1-0, F 0-1
Overall: SM 1-1, F 0-2
Next: Staples-Motley at Osakis 7 p.m. Friday.
STAPLES - Travis VanOverbeke enjoyed his first celebratory speech as a Staples-Motley head coach.
The second year coach even quoted rapper Ice Cube saying, "Today was a good day."
That's because the Cardinals snapped a 39-game losing streak - the longest in the state - with Friday's 24-14 Midwest Blue Subdistrict victory over the Frazee Hornets in front of an appreciative home crowd.
"That felt pretty good to be a little energetic rather than having a somber moment," said VanOverbeke. "It felt great. These guys have earned it. I am the most happy for these guys on the squad and this school.
"We got guys who left it all out there for us tonight. I'm proud of them. I think they realized what they've just done here. Maybe it hasn't set in yet, but it will. It certainly will. The monkey is off the back."
The Cardinals last won Oct. 13, 2010. Junior Matt Miller couldn't even remember that far back. But the receiver and defensive back will likely remember Friday's game as he opened the second half with a 60-yard end-around for S-M's first touchdown and then capped off the win with an 80-yard interception return for a score late in the fourth quarter
"Coach said we wanted to spread them out a little bit because we hadn't done that yet," said Miller. "I got around that corner and there was no one there. I just saw open field."
Miller's TDs bookended Hunter Berggren's 1-yard TD plunge in the fourth quarter that put S-M up 16-14 at the 8:47 mark.
Berggren rushed the ball 17 times for 113 yards and caught two passes for 21 more. His touchdown was set up by a Connor Schmitz interception at Frazee's 47. Five plays later, all Berggren rushes, S-M scored.
But Frazee marched down the field in hopes of answering. On fourth and three on the SM 29, Frazee quarterback Jon Hoffmann threw a pass right to Miller, who returned it down the Hornets sideline for the insurance touchdown.
"They were always throwing it to No. 3 (Tanner Bachmann) so I was keying on him," Miller said. "They under threw it so I cut right in front of it. I found some open field and I went. It was a really good feeling. It was a great feeling. That big of a lead was something we hadn't had before."
Defense was the hero for the Cardinals, especially in the first half. Frazee rattled off 39 plays for 116 yards compared to SM's 19 plays for 76 yards. The Hornets went into halftime, however, with only a 6-0 advantage.
"Coming into tonight I was telling our guys that our defense needed to stay off the field," said VanOverbeke. "That wasn't happening in the first half. We just ended up keying on Bachmann. They wanted to run middle and we fortunately got some stops going and some momentum our way. Everything seemed to work out alright for us on defense. We seemed to be stopping them although they had the ball for almost the entire first half."
Bachmann finished with 128 yards rushing on 29 carries. He also threw for 56 yards, but got crushed on the second to last play of the game by defensive end John Lund and threw the ball away on Frazee's final play from scrimmage.
S-M was close to snapping the streak last week when it lost at rival Pequot Lakes 38-30 in the season-opener for both teams. But to get the monkey off their back at home was worth waiting a week.
"We were always looking for this win," Miller said. "We almost got it at Pequot. We would have enjoyed that, but we needed this win and we got it."
Frazee 0 6 8 0 - 14
Staples-Motley 0 0 8 16 - 24
F-Riley Utke 9 pass from Tanner Bachmann (kick blocked) 1:54
SM-Matt Miller 60 run (Hunter Berggren run) 11:45
F-Bachmann 18 run (Bachmann run) 8:47
SM-Berggren 1 run (Jacob Bendson run) 8:47
F-Miller 80 interception return (Berggren run) 4:36
Rushes-yards: SM 27-222, F 48-176
Pass comp-att-int-yds: SM 6-12-1-45, F 5-22-4-66
Total offense: SM 39-267, F 70-242
Rushing: SM-Jeremy Miller 4-2, Hunter Berggren 17-113, Mason Rychner 3-25, Matt Miller 2-63, Jacob Bendson 1-(-1) , F-Tanner Bachmann 29-128, Riley Utke 6-6, Jon Hoffmann 1-(-3), Jeff Marshall 11-48, Nathan Nguyen 1-(-3)
Passing: SM-Rychner 6-12-45 , F-Bachmann 4-13-56, Hoffmann 1-9-10
Receiving: SM-Tyler Johnson 1-12, Jeremy Miller 2-6, Matt Miller 1-6, Berggren 2-21, F-Utke 2-19, Logan Wacker 2-32, Nguyen 1-15