High School Football: Mountain Lake stymies Verndale in Nine-Man state quarterfinals
BUFFALO--Third-ranked Verndale was denied a trip to U.S. Bank Stadium as the fifth-ranked Mountain Lake Wolverines stymied the normal high-scoring Pirate offense for a 23-6 win in the Nine-Man state quarterfinals Friday, Nov. 9.
BUFFALO-Third-ranked Verndale was denied a trip to U.S. Bank Stadium as the fifth-ranked Mountain Lake Wolverines stymied the normal high-scoring Pirate offense for a 23-6 win in the Nine-Man state quarterfinals Friday, Nov. 9.
"I think they're just better better than us," Verndale head coach Mike Mahlen said, "for sure on the offensive and defensive lines. We couldn't stop their run. They were running about five yards every time and they had about four or five fourths and short, and made every one of them."
Verndale was held to just 87 yards rushing on 30 carries. Senior quarterback Tate Bounds completed only 9 of 22 passes for 99 yards with two interceptions. Mountain Lake ran for 252 yards on 56 attempts and didn't throw a pass.
The unbeaten Pirates had averaged 43.8 points a game over their first 10 games before managing just 12 in a section final shutout of Underwood. Friday, they were up against a stingy and unbeaten Wolverine defense that had limited their opponents to an average of just 8.8 points.
A 1-yard run by Bounds in the first quarter gave Verndale its only score. It put the Pirates up 6-0 and marked the first time this season Mountain Lake trailed any opponent.
That lead was short-lived as less than three minutes later the Wolverines took an 8-6 lead on a 4-yard run by sophomore running back Mace Herrig who also ran for the two-point conversion.
Neither team scored in the second quarter.
Herrig scored again from four yards out in the third and Abraham Stoesz successfully ran the two-point conversion. Stoesz iced the game when he scampered in from 21 yards out in the fourth and David Larson kicked the final point.
Despite the disappointing loss, Mahlen expressed satisfaction with the Pirates' season.
"Our kids over-achieved this year," he said. "Nobody expected us to win the conference or section, but they really played together as a team."
The Pirates, who were making their 16th state tournament appearance, finish 11-1. Mountain Lakes takes an 11-0 record into the Nine-Man state semifinals against the Stephen-Argyle/Mountain Iron-Buhl winner 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Verndale 6 0 0 0-6
Mountain Lake 8 0 8 7-23
V-Tate Bounds 1 run (run fail) 7:04
ML-Mace Herrig 4 run (Herrig run) 1:10
ML-Herrig 4 run (Abraham Stoesz run) 2:49
ML-Stoesz 21 run (David Larson kick) 4:15
Rushes-yards: V 30-87, ML 56-252
Pass comp-att-int-yds: V 9-21-2-99, ML 0-0-0-0
Total offense: V 186, ML 252
Rushing: V-Jarret Kveton 12-41
Passing: V-Tate Bounds 9-21-2-99
Receiving: V-Brayden Vertina 3-45
Overall: Verndale finishes 11-1, ML 11-0. Next: Mountain Lake vs. Stephen-Argyle/Mountain Iron-Buhl winner in Nine-Man state semifinals, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16.