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Kerry Collins, Published October 22 2009

Ground pounders: Hawley rushes for 258 yards in victory, but coach wants to see more

HAWLEY, Minn. – Peder Naatz is a tough guy to please.

After his Hawley football team racked up 258 yards and six touchdowns on the ground in a 56-19 win over Lake of the Woods on Wednesday, Naatz was unimpressed.

“I wasn’t especially happy (with the running game),” Naatz said. “We didn’t do a good job up front, and that’s something we have to improve.”

Lake of the Woods thought the Nuggets rushing attack was effective enough.

After Hawley punted on its first possession, the Nuggets scored the next five times they had the ball for a 36-0 lead in the second quarter.

Three of Hawley’s five first-half TDs came on runs from Nate Mattson – who rushed for 158 yards and four touchdowns. The effort put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth year in a row.

“He’s been a mainstay for us,” Naatz said. “He’s played for four years and had 1,000 yards every year, but in all honesty, he could’ve had over 3,000 yards this year probably.

“It’s not all about stats. We prepare our kids to be strong in the playoffs. Could we have kept him in longer in some more games? Probably.”

The Bears (5-3) would’ve been blanked in the first half if not for a 69-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Aaron O’Connell to Marcellis Sontowski, but the Nuggets were well in charge by then.

Nine different Nuggets carried the ball in the win. Nick Bjorndahl and Alex Ames also had rushing touchdowns and Jon Spaeth caught a touchdown pass.

Hawley (7-1) was without quarterback Taylor Harms (ankle) and running back Kevin Olson (groin) again this week because of injuries, but the Nuggets didn’t need them.

But they will need them soon. Wednesday was the regular-season finale, and the section playoffs begin Tuesday.

“Harms could’ve played (Wednesday) if we needed him, so he should be ready to go,” Naatz said. “But we might be without Olson for another week-and-a-half or two.

“But we’re going to need them. If we get to the section championship game without them, our hands would be absolutely full. They’ll be full even with them.”

In the first round of the playoffs, Hawley will face either Walker-Hackensack-Akeley or Bagley. The Nuggets beat both teams by 63-0 counts in the regular season.

LOW 0 7 6 6-19

Hawley 21 15 12 8-56

H: Mattson 2 run (Arens kick)

H: Mattson 1 run (kick failed)

H: Bjornson 14 interception return (Boyer run)

H: Spaeth 19 pass from Boyer (Arens kick)

H: Mattson 5 run (Arens kick)

LOW: Sontowski 69 pass from O’Connell (Pepera kick)

LOW: Sontowski 1 run (kick failed)

H: Mattson 4 run (run failed)

H: Schultz 10 run (run failed)

LOW: Hiemstra 2 run (pass failed)

H: Ames 3 run (Pekas run)


RUSHING: LOW, Sontowski 12-35, Hiemstra 6-12, Kraft 1-4, Gustafson 6-2, Dahl 1-1, Pepera 5-(minus 9), Berggren 1-(minus 9), Novak 4-(minus 13). H, Mattson 25-158, Bjorndahl 4-33, Pekas 3-26, Jetvig 4-11, Ames 3-11, Schultz 3-10, Regnier 1-7, Boyer 5-4, Hinrichs 1-(minus 2).

PASSING: LOW, Novak 3-14-2, 98 yards; Pepera 1-5-2, 8 yards. H, Boyer 2-6-0, 40 yards; Hinrichs 1-1-0, 19 yards.

RECEIVING: LOW, Sontowski 1-69, Pepera 1-18, Johnson 1-11, Dahl 1-8. H, Grandbois 1-21, Spaeth 1-19, Regnier 1-19.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548