With the co-leader of Class 1A District One coming to town on Friday to take on the Emmetsburg E-Hawks for Senior Night, a couple of things were for certain. An emotional game would be played on Duane Twait Field, and the winner would stand alone in the district standings when the final horn sounded.
Despite a somewhat slow start, the E-Hawks drew on that emotion and came away with a most convincing, 51-0 shutout over South O'Brien to improve to 5-0 in the league and 7-1 on the year with one game remaining in the regular season, a trip to LeMars on Friday to meet the Jays of Gehlen Catholic.
Emmetsburg's opening drive finished in a punt, somewhat uncharacteristic for the E-Hawks, but the visiting Wolverines would get a couple of first downs before they turned the ball over on downs to the E-Hawks at the Emmetsburg 26 yard line with 5:18 to go in the first quarter.
Emmetsburg would start working their way downfield until with 4:51 to go in the quarter, Andrew Wellik displayed his sheer power as he bowled over several defenders to race 57 yards for a touchdown. Nick Merwald placed the PAT?kick through the uprights for a 7-0 lead and Emmetsburg would never look back.
The Wolverines took over and started a drive downfield, but with 2:53 to go, Brady Christensen stepped in front of a pass aimed at the end zone and returned it to the E-Hawks' 17 yard line. However, the E-Hawks couldn't convert the turnover into anything and ended up punting the ball away. South O'Brien took over at the Emmetsburg 42 yard line, but didn't move on three downs and punted.
The E-Hawks would take over at their seven yard line and ended the quarter with the 7-0 advantage.
Emmetsburg would drive downfield to start the second quarter, but stalled out at their own 37 and punted, putting the Wolverines on their own 38. But disaster would strike the Wolverines, as an exchange was fumbled. Wolverine quarterback Kody Nelson accidentally kicked the ball backwards, where E-Hawk Nick Schany pounced on the loose ball at the Wolverine 29 yard line with 6:50 to go in the half. On second and seven, Jake Jackson handed off to Brady Christensen, who raced 26 yards for the touchdown with 6:13 to go in the half. Merwald's kick was good, making the score 14-0.
South O'Brien would go three and out after the kickoff, and Emmetsburg would take over at the Wolverines' 42 yard line with 4:49 to go in the half.
The E-Hawks would march downfield and with 2:01 to go in the half, Andrew Wellik bulled in from 20 yards out for his second score of the game. The kick from Merwald gave Emmetsburg a comfortable 21-0 lead with 2:01 to go in the half.
Once again, the Wolverines would go three and out in the face of a determined E-Hawk defense, which stymied the passing game and kept the Wolverine running game bottled up.
After the Wolverines turned the ball over on downs at their 38 with 1:07 to go in the half, the E-Hawks tried to drive downfield, but with time winding down and facing a fourth and five at the Wolverines' 24 yard line, Coach Dunlap sent Nick Merwald out for a 41-yard field goal attempt. Merwald coolly put the ball up and through the uprights, tying Jamie Daum's Emmetsburg record of a 41-yard field goal to make the score 24-0 with :19 to go in the half, giving the E-Hawk faithful plenty to cheer about at halftime.
South O'Brien would get the ball to open the second half, but went three and out. Emmetsburg would take over at their own 45 and quickly drove downfield, capping the drive off with a 25 yard run from Cody Henderson to score with 9:26 to go in the third. The kick was good, making the score 31-0.
Another three and out would result for the Wolverines, who were simply shut down by the Emmetsburg defense at every move.
The E-Hawks got the ball at the Wolverines' 47 yard line with 8:08 to go in the quarter. On first down, Christensen took the handoff again and raced 57 yards down the near sideline to score with 7:47 to go in the third. Merwald's kick made the score 38-0 and started the continuous clock.
South O'Brien would take over on their own 23 after the kick, but with 4:58 to go in the quarter, the Wolverines fumbled the football, which was recovered by Austin McCartan at the Wolverine 31 yard line.
Emmetsburg took possession and the reserves came in to march the ball downfield. With 2:28 to go in the third, Allen Jensen would cap off the drive with a three yard touchdown.Taylor Wegner kicked the conversion to make the score 45-0 to end the third quarter.
Once again, Emmetsburg's defense stopped South O'Brien to start the final quarter as the Wolverines gave the ball up on downs. It wouldn't take long for the E-Hawks to strike again as Aaron Bird would get the call from Brandon Elbert and scored off a two yard run with 4:42 to go in the game. The conversion kick drifted left, making the score 51-0.
South O'Brien would be unable to move the ball any further against the E-Hawk reserves and sophomores, who finished out the game for the 51-0 shutout victory on Senior Night.
For the E-Hawks, 338 yards of rushing came off 45 attempts, while the Wolverines managed 112 yards off 37 attempts.
Jake Jackson completed four of seven passes for 73 yards, while Kody Nelson connected on four of 12 passes with one interception.
For the E-Hawks, Andrew Wellik picked up 142 yards off 16 carries, while Brady Christensen rushed for 85 yards on three carries. Allen Jensen ran the ball seven times to gain 45 yards, while Cody Henderson added five carries for 37 yards. Aaron Bird rushed four times to gain 21 yards, while Mitch Petersen gained eight yards on three carries.
Austin McCartan had a four yard carry, while Jake Jackson ran the ball five times for eight yards.
Cody Henderson had a 29 yard reception and Andrew Wellik hauled in a 20 yard catch, while Austin McCartan made a 13 yard catch and Nick Schany pulled in an 11 yard toss.
Defensively, Austin McCartan made nine tackles and recovered a fumble, while Mitch Peterson added seven tackles. Nick Schany recovered a fumble and Brady Christensen intercepted a pass.