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High School Football: Huskies’ defense hounds Staples-Motley

102819.S.BD.Pillager Staples Football2.jpg
Pillager's Tucker Peterson runs with the ball as Staple-Motley's Sivert Klefsaas (27) and Alex Giza (56) try to stop the run Saturday, Oct. 26, at Pillager. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

PILLAGER -- Twenty eight points isn’t a rare score for football, but how the No. 2 seeded Pillager Huskies scored their 28 points Saturday, Oct. 26, is.

A safety, a blocked punt recovered in the end zone, two touchdown passes and just one running TD helped Pillager to a 28-8 victory over the No. 3 seeded Staples-Motley Cardinals in the Section 6-2A Semifinals.

And while the scoring was unusual for the run-heavy Huskies, Pillager’s defense was its usual nasty self as it held the Cardinals to just 65 first-half yards and 150 for the game.

“Our defense, I don’t know what it is,” Pillager senior quarterback Erik Peterson said. “We got Judah Beard out there always yelling at us to keep our energy up. He’s always out there jumping around and shouting. We have a lot of great athletes and we just fly around and play good defense.”

Staples-Motley head coach Chris Kappler praised Pillager’s defense.

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“We challenged our guys with a lot of one-on-one battles and Pillager just played really well tonight,” Kappler said. “They just beat us. Their kids are fast and they are aggressive. They’re a good team. It takes a lot to beat them and we just didn’t bring enough.”

Pillager suffered three fumbles lost, but the first fumble set up the Huskies’ first points. On first and goal from the Cardinals’ 3, Erik Peterson attempted a quarterback sneak but the ball popped loose and S-M’s Ryan Wick picked it up at the one yard line. Three plays later Pillager’s defensive line met Sivert Klefsaas in the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 first quarter lead.

“The offense was going great, but we had the fumbles,” Erik Peterson said. “We’ll fix that, though. Hopefully we’ve got that out of our system. We’re going to have a great week of practice and hopefully show up in the (Fargo)dome and we’ll be good.”

Two possessions later, S-M was forced to punt from their own 4. For the second time in the game Pillager blocked it -- this time by Spencer Schaefer -- and Cole Hiltner landed on the ball in the end zone for the game’s first touchdown and a 10-0 Pillager edge.

The Cardinals next drive lasted 11 plays, but on play 11 Max Strickland’s pass was intercepted by Luke Woidyla.

Pillager than used six plays to set up Erik Peterson’s 18-yard TD pass to Woidyla and a 16-0 halftime edge.

Erik Peterson was 7-of-10 passing for two touchdowns and 88 yards. Tucker Peterson led the Huskies ground game with 195 yards on 24 carries.

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It was Tucker Peterson’s longest run that handed Pillager a 22-0 edge. After two straight Pillager drives to start the second half ended with fumbles, Tucker Peterson ended the third with a 64-yard sprint off tackle.

“In practice, we came up with this new formation with Tucker in the backfield and we ran that formation almost the whole game,” Erik Peterson said. “He got more carries with that. He’s a great running back.”

Saturday’s rushing total pushes Peterson’s rushing yards for the season to 1,208. It’s the ninth straight game he’s rushed for more than 100 yards.

In the fourth quarter, Erik Peterson hit Schaefer on a 12-yard crossing route for the Huskies final touchdown and a 28-0 lead.

“We just came out of halftime and we knew we couldn’t let up,” Erik Peterson said. “We just needed to come out with the same energy we started the game with. We tried to keep our energy up the whole time and the momentum went our way.”

The Cardinals prevented the shutout when Klefsaas broke free for a 31-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds left. Cade Schmidt tacked on the 2-point conversion for the final score.

S-M finishes the season 7-3.

“Coming off a 1-8 season, I can’t say anything bad about how our season went,” Kappler said. “Our juniors and seniors are a great group of kids. They led this team and they continue to lead it. Nobody quit and that’s an attribute that no matter where we are as a team I really appreciated.”

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The victory is Pillager’s fifth straight and sends the Huskies to the Section 6-2A Championship 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 at the Fargodome in Fargo. It’s the fourth straight section final for Pillager, who won the section title last year.

“It’s always fun to play in the Fargodome,” Erik Peterson said. “It’s a great atmosphere and hopefully we can play well and get our second championship.”

For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/32ViZks .

Staples-Motley 0 0 0 8 -- 8
Pillager 2 14 6 6 -- 28

First quarter
Pill-Safety (ball carrier tackled in end zone) 5:28

Second quarter
Pill-Cole Hiltner recovers blocked punt in end zone (Cade Barrett pass from Erik Peterson) 6:41
Pill-Luke Woidyla 18 pass from Erik Peterson (pass failed)

Third quarter
Pill-Tucker Peterson 64 run (run failed) 3:06

Fourth quarter
Pill-Spencer Schaefer 12 pass from Erik Peterson (run failed) 5:23
SM-Sivert Klefsaas 31 run (Cade Schmidt run) 44.9

Team statistics
Rushes-yards: 42-150, 41-227
Pass comp-att-int-yds: 1-11-1-(-2), 7-10-0-88
Total offense: 53-148, 50-313

Individual leaders
Rushing: Tucker Peterson 24-195, Luke Woidyla 5-24, Hunter Gjovik 4-9, Griffin Decker 2-2, Erik Peterson 1-2, Tyler Hines 1-2, Blake Clark 1-1, Hunter Carlson 1-0, Jimmy Winkelman 1-(-2), team 1-(-6); SM-Garrett Carlson 13-76, Sivert Klefsaas 18-76, Will Danilyuk 2-13, Cade Schmidt 5-4, Max Strickland 2-(-9), team 2-(-10)
Passing: Pill-Erik Peterson 7-10-88; SM-Strickland 1-10-(-2), Garrett Carlson 0-1-0
Receiving: Pill-Spencer Schaefer 3-29, Woidyla 2-45, Cade Barrett 1-3, Hunter Gjovik 1-11; SM-Carlson 1-(-2)

Pillager 28, Staples-Motley 8

Key: Pillager’s defense held S-M to 150 yards

Overall: Pill 7-2, SM 7-3

Next: Pillager vs. No. 1 Osakis/No. 4 West Central winner in Section 6-2A Championship at Fargo 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1

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