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Kevin Schnepf, Published October 31 2010

Warbirds on the warpath: Wyndmere-Lidgerwood pulls off stunning upset of No. 1-ranked Hillsboro

HILLSBORO, N.D. – No one expected this.

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood shocked top-ranked Hillsboro 50-8 in Saturday’s North Dakota 9-man state quarterfinal high school football playoff game.

“We didn’t expect this score, but we expected to win,” said Wyndmere-Lidgerwood senior Ryan Orth, who helped the Warbirds avenge their only loss of the season – a

22-20 season-opening setback to the same Hillsboro team.

No one expected this game to be over at halftime, when the Warbirds built a 44-0 lead. Six minutes before halftime, the mercy rule went into effect – in which the clock keeps running when a team builds a 30-point lead or larger.

“Sometimes that happens in sports,” said Wyndmere-Lidgerwood head coach Scott Strenge, whose 10-1 team will play Thompson in next Saturday’s semifinals. “We just got rolling and they couldn’t stop it.”

No one expected a Hillsboro offense, which was averaging 434 total yards and 48 points per game, to be limited to 26 total yards in the first half. Running back Alex McLean, with 1,566 yards rushing for the season, had 9 yards Saturday. Quarterback Brandon Otto, who had 843 yards rushing this season, had 17 yards.

“Our ends really worked on getting to McLean because he is a hell of a player,” said Warbird senior quarterback Brock Wieber.

Not many expected Wieber to play Saturday, after injuring his left leg in last week’s playoff win at Napoleon. Used sparingly at quarterback, Wieber still completed 7 of 8 passes for 83 yards and three touchdowns.

“He threw some unbelievable balls today,” Strenge said. “He’s banged up pretty good but he still performed pretty well.”

So did Orth and fellow senior Kelly Illies. When Wieber lined up as a receiver, it was either Orth or Illies taking shotgun snaps – a formation Orth jokingly suggested to Strenge on Friday night.

“It was a different wrinkle so I said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Strenge said of Orth’s suggestion. “And why not? Ryan is so quick. He’s lightning in a bottle.”

Orth ended up running 12 times for 154 yards. Illies, one of four starters who did not play against Hillsboro in August, ran 14 times for 67 yards.

Combined with Wyndmere-Lidgerwood’s near flawless performance on both sides of the ball, three turnovers and a fumbled kickoff that led to four of the Warbirds six first-half scores was simply too much for Hillsboro to overcome.

“We were just shellshocked,” said Hillsboro head coach Scott Olsen, whose team’s season ends with a 10-1 record. “They are more athletic than us and they were more physical than us today.”

Wynd-Lidg 24 20 6 0–50

Hillsboro 0 0 0 8–8

WL–Vasquez 20 pass from Wieber (Orth run)

WL–Vasquez 1 pass from Wieber (Orth run)

WL–K. Illies 17 run (Orth run)

WL–Wieber 1 run (Orth pass from Wieber)

WL–Orth 40 run (run failed)

WL–J. Illies 36 pass from Wieber (run failed)

WL–Vasquez 30 pass from Bell (run failed)

H–Spokely 3 run (Dufner run)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: WL–Orth 12-154, K. Illies 14-67, Wieber 3-1, Vasquez 1-1, L. Illies 1-2, Bell 2-2, Manikowski 1-4. H–B. Otto 7-17, McLean 8-9, Bowen 7-21, Bolstad 6-40, Dufner 7-43, Spokely 1-3.

PASSING: WL–Wieber 7-8-0 82 yards, Bell 4-8-1 56 yards. H–B. Otto 0-5-2 0 yards, Dufner 0-1-0 0 yards.

RECEIVING: WL–Vasquez 6-82, J. Illies 3-54, Bell 1-6, Orth 1-0.


Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549