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Kevin Schnepf, Published November 06 2010

MN 9-man football: Underwood bests Fergus Falls Lutheran

The 70-mile bus ride the Underwood (Minn.) High School football team took back home from the Fargodome on Friday seemed a lot shorter than the 10-mile jaunt it endured about a month ago.

Winning makes any trip seem shorter.

And Underwood was a big winner Friday with a 27-14 win over Fergus Falls Hillcrest to capture the Minnesota 9-man, Section 4 championship.

It was quite a turnaround considering Underwood suffered a 49-14 loss Oct. 1 at Hillcrest – a private Lutheran school located about 15 miles west of Underwood.

“They got the best of us in that first game,” said Underwood quarterback Dalton Jampsa. “We wanted revenge and we got it.”

Jampsa and fellow senior Jason Umlauf were two big reasons for the surprise win. Jampsa ran Underwood’s option offense to perfection, carrying the ball 22 times for 182 yards.

When the Hillcrest defense started focusing on stopping Jampsa, Umlauf broke free – rushing 23 times for 174 yards.

Umlauf’s 26-yard scoring run and Jampsa’s 29-yard scoring run gave Underwood a 21-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. It was the complete opposite of Oct. 1 – when Hillcrest jumped out to a 28-0 lead.

“Back then, we were ranked and maybe believing it too much and they weren’t ranked,” said Underwood coach Chuck Ross, whose team will play a Nov. 13 state quarterfinal game at St. Cloud State. “They wanted it more back then. I think we wanted it more today.”

Back on Oct. 1, Hillcrest running back Zach Taylor ran for 233 yards and five touchdowns. Friday morning in the Fargodome, Underwood’s defense limited Taylor to 38 yards rushing.

Hillcrest, which had 451 total yards on Oct. 1, had 232 on Friday.

“Taylor is a heck of a running back,” Ross said. “Our plan was to attack him and make sure we left him no escape routes.”

As suprising as Friday’s win was, so too was Underwood making its third trip to a state football tournament.

“I never thought it would happen,” Umlauf said. “At the beginning of the season, I didn’t know what to expect. This was fun.”

Underwood 0 7 6 14–27

Hillcrest 0 7 0 7–14

H–Taylor 8 run (Reksten kick)

U–Umlauf 4 run (Hauge kick)

U–Umlauf 26 run (kick blocked)

U–Jampsa 29 run (Jensen pass from Jampsa)

U–Umlauf 8 run (kick failed)

H–A. Twedt 35 pass from Tungseth (Reksten kick)


RUSHING: Underwood, Jampsa 22-182, Umlauf 23-174, Collins 13-40. Hillcrest, A. Twedt 11-55, Taylor 14-38, Undseth 2-29.

PASSING: Underwood, Jampsa 1-8-0 10 yards. Hillcrest, Tungseth 10-20-2 125 yards.

RECEIVING: Underwood, Woodman 1-10. Hillcrest, Taylor 6-73, A. Twedt 1-35, Stender 1-10, G. Twedt 1-6, Undseth 1-2.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor

Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549