SPENCER - For the Emmetsburg E-Hawks, it took just :07 into Friday's season opener with Spencer's Tigers to see that the E-Hawks were more than ready to play football in the 2012 season. A total of eight turnovers by the Spencer Tigers would help propel Emmetsburg to a 46-21 victory over the Tigers in the first game of the 2012 campaign.
The first half belonged exclusively to Emmetsburg, starting with the opening kickoff. The Tigers won the toss and elected to receive, and after a touchback on Taylor Wegner's kickoff, Spencer's first offensive play of the season turned into a harbinger of things to come.
A fumble on the exchange would be pounced on by Clayton Henderson at the Tigers' nine-yard line. After a motion penalty, Andrew Wellik took his first handoff of the season and raced 14 yards for a touchdown just :15 into the game. The conversion kick by Nick Merwald was on the money and Emmetsburg led by a 7-0 tally.
After the kick, Spencer took over and had some success moving the ball, working down to the E-Hawk 20 yard line, only to fumble the ball again. This time Austin McCartan collected the loose ball and the E-Hawks took over with 7:11 to go in the first quarter.
Steady runs from Wellik and Cody Henderson along with McCartan marched the E-Hawks downfield and with 5:12 to go in the quarter, McCartan ran in from four yards out. Merwald's kick was good again for a 14-0 lead.
The Tigers would be held to three downs and a punt, giving the E-Hawks the ball again. Under the guidance of quarterback Jake Jackson, Emmetsburg marched downfield, capping a 69-yard drive off with a 20 yard run by Wellik with 1:10 to go in the quarter. The conversion snap didn't connect, leaving Emmetsburg with a 20-0 lead to end the first quarter.
The Tigers would get a good return on the kickoff and started near midfield, only to fumble the ball a third time in the half, and Jake Jackson pounced on the orb at the E-Hawk 41. A nice drive downfield would be capped by a 14-yard run by McCartan with 9:35 to go in the half. A try for a two-point conversion was stopped short, making the score 26-0.
Things continued to go sour for the Tigers, as they again managed to start a drive, only to see a pass from quarterback Matt Finnern picked off at the midfield stripe by Brady Christensen, wo returned it 15 yards down to the 35 with 7:59 to play in the half.
Using the turnover to good advantage, the E-Hawks quickly engineered a score as with 6:14 on the clock, Jackson hit Nick Schany with a 29-yard strike for a score. The conversion kick went wide, though, leaving Emmetsburg with a 32-0 advantage.
Spencer would take over after the kick and once again started driving, getting down to the E-Hawk one-yard line with 1:05 to go in the half, but a fumble by Finnern on the exchange was scooped up by Taylor Wegner at the four-yard line.
Emmetsburg would work out of the shadow of their own goal posts to end the first half with the 32-0 advantage off four turnovers.
It was a different game in the second half, as the E-Hawks got the ball to start the half, but ended up punting. The Tigers would take over and got their first score on a 60-yard run by Blake Altenhofen. The kick was good for a 32-7 score with 8:16 to go in the third.
The E-Hawks would take over and got to the Tigers' 38, after a late hit out ouf bounds on the Tigers, but the drive would stall, forcing a punt with 7:09 to go in the third.
Spencer would take the punt and engineered a drive that would pay off with a three yard keeper by Finnern with 2:43 to go in the quarter. The kick made the score 32-14 to end the third frame.
Starting the final quarter with the ball at the Tigers' 30, the E-Hawks worked downfield, capping off the drive with a one yard plunge by Wellik with 9:26 to go in the game. Merwald had the range for the PAT?for a 39-14 tally.
Spencer would take over and worked into E-Hawk territory, but Nick Schany would come up big with a leaping interception at the Emmetsburg 38 with 7:43 to go . The E-Hawks took over and once again, Jackson took to the air, hitting Schany with a 45 yard throw that brought the E-hawks down to the Tigers' 22 yard line.
With a new set of downs, the second team offense took over and got on the board with a 12-yard run by Allen Jensen with 4:38 to go in the game. Merwald made the kick for a 46-14 score as the second team defense took over.
Spencer was able to take over and push in a final score off a 34-yar yard run by Brady Illg with 3:47 remaining in the game and the kick would make the score 46-21 as the E-Hawks would get a final series and punt before the clock ran out for the win.
The E-Hawks would amass 372 yards rushing against Spencer's 360 and had 68 yards passing opposed to 19 for the Tigers to toal 436 total yards of offense against 356.
Andrew Wellik would rush the ball 24 times for 260 yards with three touchdowns, while Clayton Henderson added nine carries to pick up 42 yards. Austin McCartan rushed six times to gain 40 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns and Allen Jensen added eight rushes for 26 yards and a touchdown.
Jake Jackson completed three of six passes for 67 yards, with Nick Schany making two catches for 59 yards and one touchdown.
Jake Jackson would make 15 tackles, while Clayont Henderson added nine stops. Fumbles were recovered by Jakcson, McCartan and Taylor Wegner, and interceptions were made by Brady Christenson and Nick Schany.
The E-Hawks will host Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley this Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Emmetsburg.