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Published August 24 2011

Edgeley-Kulm back shakes off opening jitters in football win over Richland

COLFAX, N.D. – The nerves started for Edgeley-Kulm junior running back Tallen Berg on the first day of practice. Then it began to build leading up to Tuesday’s North Dakota 9-man season opener against Richland.

Berg was jittery as he went to bed Monday night. And he had butterflies in his stomach and sweaty palms as we awoke Tuesday morning.

All the apprehension went away after he took his first hit on a 4-yard carry to open his team’s first offensive series.

Berg ran for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lift the Rebels to a convincing 47-6 victory against the Colts before a large crowd at Richland High School’s football field.

“First day of practice, you are looking forward to the first game,” Berg said. “Usually the night before you start thinking about it. And it just builds and builds until that first plays comes. We came out hard and we played every play like we needed to.”

It was a festive atmosphere in Richland. The smell of popcorn filled the night air, and spectators from both small communities filled each sideline.

Both teams struggled last year in the win column: Richland was 2-7; Edgeley-Kulm was 4-6.

But the promise of a new season wiped away those memories.

Richland moved the ball early, using a power running game to get deep into Rebels territory. A 13-play drive stalled, however, and Edgeley-Kulm took control with a grinding, big-play running game of its own.

The Rebels took an 8-0 lead with a lengthy first drive. They kept pounding away in the first half until the game was out of reach.

“We couldn’t stop their power (running play),” Richland coach Kal Triplett said. “They kicked our ends out and double teamed us down, and we couldn’t get a guy there. They could have ran it all night on us. We had a hard time with that one play and they ran it to death.”

Berg was Edgeley-Kulm’s workhorse. His 37-yard touchdown run put the Rebels ahead 22-0 with 10:08 remaining in the second quarter.

Speedy sophomore running back Mason Madcke also broke a few long runs. He finished with 118 yards on 12 carries. Madcke scored the game’s second touchdown on a 36-yard scamper late in the first quarter.

The Rebels passed just four times.

“Our line has worked together in practice and they showed it tonight,” Edgeley-Kulm coach Jon Schiele said. “They really came together and they did a lot of things right. For the first game, I am really proud of the way they did.”

Edgeley-Kulm held a 35-0 halftime lead.

The Colts broke through on the scoreboard with a 70-yard pass by Matthew Workin to Austin Heyen late in the third quarter.

By then, the damage was already done. Much of the second half was played with a running clock.

It was a perfect start for the Rebels. And Triplett said he saw plenty of positives to build on for the second week of the season.

With several weeks to play, both teams are still in the playoff hunt.

That’s the beauty of opening night. Anything is possible, and every team has a chance at a state title.

“It’s a blast,” Schiele said. “It’s something you look forward to from the first day of practice and in the middle of the summer. It’s good to get this one under our belts. Opening night is great.”

EK 15 20 6 6–47

R 0 0 6 0– 6

E-K-Elhard 11 pass from Diegel (Madcke run)

E-K-Madcke 36 run (DeLaurier kick)

E-K-Berg 37 run (DeLaurier kick)

E-K-Jangula 5 run (pass failed)

E-K-Berg 23 run (DeLaurier kick)

R-Heyen 70 pass from Workin (run failed)

E-K-Jangula 3 run (kick failed)

E-K-DeLaurier 80 run (run failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: E-K, Berg 14-184, M. Madcke 12-118, Case 5-16, Jangula 2-8, L. Madcke 1-6, Rott 2-6, DeLaurier 2-80. R, Heyen 12-28, Griffith 12-63, Hage 4-13, Wagner 1-(-11), Thompson 5-25, Muscha 4-21, Knudsen 2-9.

PASSING: Diegel 2-4-0 15. R, Workin 3-6-0 87, Knudsen 0-2-0 0.

RECEIVING: Elnard 1-11. Case 1-4. R, Heyen 2-74, Griffith 1-13.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com