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Kevin Schnepf, Published November 13 2010

MN Class 2A state football quarterfinals: OTC holds on for win

Jake Smith and Adam Marso were sixth-graders the last time an Ottertail Central football team reached the state semifinals.

“That’s back when Kyle Belmont was a stud,” Marso said.

On the same Fargodome field where Belmont played for North Dakota State, Smith and Marso – now high school seniors – helped lead Ottertail Central to a 21-6 win over Pelican Rapids on Friday in the Minnesota Class 2A state quarterfinals.

The 12-0 Bulldogs advance to next Friday’s semifinals in the Metrodome of Minneapolis.

“This is a pretty super group of kids,” said Ottertail Central head coach Don Seipkes, who in his 38 years of coaching finished second in the 2004 Class 1A playoffs and second in the 2000 Class 2A playoffs.

Thanks to a big defensive stand and two big catches by Smith and Marso, Ottertail Central was able to shake off the pesky Pelican Rapid Vikings, whose season ends with a 7-4 record.

Clinging to a 14-6 lead in the third quarter, the Bulldog defense stuffed Viking running back Tom Gaustad on a fourth-down-and-two play inside midfield.

“Our front line and our linebackers have made big plays like that all season,” Seipkes said.

That led to a big, third-down 20-yard catch by Smith – who outleaped and outwrestled a Viking defender for the ball as the third-quarter buzzer sounded.

“I thought that one was going to be intercepted at first,” Seipkes said. “That was an awesome catch by Jake.”

“Just run your pattern well and Marty (quarterback Marty Charest) will throw the ball up there for you to get,” Smith said.

Three plays later, Charest threw another strike – this time to the left side of the end zone where Marso made a leaping 25-yard touchdown catch, barely getting his one foot to stay inbounds.

“That was pretty sweet,” Marso said. “I sensed I could get up there and get that one foot down.”

The catch gave the Bulldogs a 21-6 lead. But the win didn’t come easy after a slow start.

A fumble on their first possession led to a Pelican Rapids field goal. Tom Gaustad’s 40-yard run set up another Cris Molina field to give the Vikings a 6-0 lead.

But Ottertail Central dominated the second quarter.

After Adam Marso’s 30-yard kickoff return, the Bulldogs marched 59 yards in 10 plays to score their first touchdown – a six-yard run by Jake Smith.

On the ensuing kickoff, Austin Skibness’ squibber bounced off the foot of a Pelican Rapids’ player and was recovered by Tyler Olson on the Viking 48. Ten plays later, Brendan Hart scored on a two-yard run and the Bulldogs had a 14-6 halftime lead.

Pelican Rapids 3 3 0 0 – 6

Otter Tail Central 0 14 0 7 – 21

PR-Molina 35 FG

PR-Molina 32 FG

OTC-Smith 6 run (Skibness kick)

OTC-Hart 2 run (Skibness kick)

OTC-Marso 25 pass from Charest (Skibness kick)


RUSHING: PR, Gaustad 18-101, Schell 10-9, Evenson 2-6, Cossette 4-19. OTC, Hart 26-93, Olson 12-63, Smith 11-53, Charest 1- (-3).

PASSING: PR, Schell 4-8-1 57 yards. OTC, Charest 5-8-0 92 yards.

RECEIVING: PR, Halbakken 2-51, Gaustad 1-3, Cossette 1-3. OTC, Marso 4-72, Smith 1-20.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor

Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549

Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be

found at www.areavoices.com