Area Football: Pirates dominate all 3 phases to beat CGB

VERNDALE--It was with offense. It was with defense. And even special teams. Any way you looked at it the third-ranked and unbeaten Verndale Pirates dominated the Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Wolverines in all three phases to post a 48-8 District ...


VERNDALE-It was with offense.

It was with defense.

And even special teams.

Any way you looked at it the third-ranked and unbeaten Verndale Pirates dominated the Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Wolverines in all three phases to post a 48-8 District 9 West, South Subdistrict victory Friday, Sept. 21.


Starting with special teams, Verndale senior captain Jackson Weniger blocked a punt out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 10-0 Pirates' lead at the 5:42 mark of the first quarter.

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Verndale 48, CGB 8

Key: A blocked punt and punt return for touchdown

Sub: V 2-0, CGB 0-4

Overall: V 4-0, CGB 0-4

Next: Verndale at Rothsay 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28.

---   ---   ---   ---   ---


Verndale's other senior captain Matthew Steege returned a punt 78 yards to open up the second half scoring, which handed Verndale a 40-0 lead.

"I just saw some good blocks from the guys up ahead," Steege said. "Orlando had a really big block for me and I just saw a really big hole open up and I just hit it."

Steege did his damage on offense, too. The halfback rushed for just 39 yards on seven carries, but found the end zone twice on scoring runs of 3 and 11 yards. He even added a 23-yard touchdown reception from Tate Bounds to give the Pirates a 34-0 halftime lead.

Fellow halfback Jarret Kveton opened up the scoring with a 3-yard TD run, which was followed shortly after by Weniger's blocked punt.

"We work hard on our special teams," Mahlen said. "I know some teams don't, but as you can see we have all of our starters out there on special teams."

Quinn Kern added a late Pirate touchdown to make it 48-0. In all, Verndale gained 472 yards of offense, of which 287 came from the Pirates new running attack-the wishbone.

"We just started running the wishbone this week," Verndale head coach Mike Mahlen said. "The last three games we didn't run it. But we wanted to incorporate that a little bit in case you run into bad weather or what not. We'll need that down the road."

Bounds hit on 11-of-19 passing for 185 yards. Fullback Craig Orlando caught four passes for 99 yards and Kern corralled three passes for 43.


"We threw quite a bit tonight, but against Underwood (last Friday) we threw about 20 sometimes and we didn't complete very many of them," Mahlen said. "We worked hard on picking up the blitz. Last week, we had trouble with that and we really worked hard on that and I think we did a fairly good job of that. It's hard to know without watching the film, but I think we did a better job. Tate threw the ball a lot better, too."

Verndale's defense also did a number on the Wolverines, holding them to 146 yards of total offense, most of which came on CGB's first drive of the fourth quarter, which resulted in its only score.

The Wolverines gained just 40 yards in the first half. Steege collected an interception, but could have had a few more.

"We had to stop their passing game," Steege said. "We aren't the best at covering the pass right now so we've been practicing like crazy on that."

The victory was Verndale's 22nd-straight regular season win. The Pirates last lost in the regular season on Sept. 25, 2015, against Underwood. That was also the last home loss for Verndale.

"This win is a good confidence booster," Steege said. "We've come together as a team really well. We just collaborate really well. We don't bicker with each other. We just always pick each other up."


Clinton-GB 0 0 0 8-8

Verndale 18 16 14 0-48


First quarter

V-Jarret Kveton 3 run (Craig Orlando pass from Tate Bounds) 7:46

V-Jackson Weniger blocked punt for safety 5:42

V-Matthew Steege 3 run (Kveton run) 2:31


Second quarter

V-Steege 23 pass from Bounds (Kveton run) 8:34

V-Steege 11 run (Kveton run) 2:30


Third quarter

V-Steege 78 punt return (run failed) 10:19

V-Quinn Kern 7 run (Weniger pass from Bounds) 6:36


Fourth quarter

CGB-Nate Moberg 11 run (Moberg run) 8:17


Team statistics

Rushes-yards: V 43-187, CGB 35-137

Pass comp-att-int-yds: V 11-19-2-185, CGB 1-12-1-9

Total offense: V 62-472, CGB 47-146


Individual leaders

Rushing: V-Matt Steege 7-39, Jarret Kveton 18-51, Craig Orlando 1-1, Tate Bounds 2-7, Quinn Kern 4-40, Dilan Orlando 1-(-1), Jake Ismil 3-26, Jade Finck 2-4, Ben Brownlow 1-(-5), Matt Mensinger 1-3, Devon Kaiser 1-(-1), Isaak Reed 1-30; CGB-Dylan Finberg 9-27, Sam Adelman 11-39, Nate Moberg 12-64, Michael Niesen 1-2, Charlie Kleindl 1-5, Jakob Adelman 1-(-5)

Passing: V-Bounds 11-19-185 ; CGB-Sam Adelman 1-12-9

Receiving: V-Orlando 4-99, Kern 3-43, Weniger 2-12, Steege 2-31; CGB-Jakob Adelman 1-9

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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