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Published October 22 2011

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood knocks off Hillsboro in ND 9-man football playoffs

WYNDMERE, N.D. – Brief as it may have been, Luis Vazquez certainly found a way to make an impact.

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood’s junior receiver barely played in two quarters, yet he caught two touchdowns, forced a fumble and was a tackle away from a kickoff return touchdown in a 36-14 win over Hillsboro in the first round of the North Dakota 9-man playoffs.

“When you are playing up against smaller guys,” Vazquez said, “you feel like you have an advantage over them.”

The Warbirds (9-1) move on to face Cavalier, while the Burros get an early adios from the playoffs.

It is also the second straight year that Wyndmere-Lidgerwood has eliminated Hillsboro (7-3) from the playoffs.

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood jumped out to a 22-0 lead following Vazquez’s second touchdown with 7 minutes, 43 seconds left in the second.

He was removed from the game after suffering an injury a later in the quarter.

It didn’t matter. Bell, who threw for 149 yards and five touchdowns, found his other favorite target, Jeff Illies, for three touchdowns.

“Those two are just freaks,” Bell said of his receivers. “It just all depends on where the safety is. That lets me know who I can throw to.”

Bell and Illies hooked up to start the game on a 17-yard touchdown pass. Following Vazquez’s two receptions, Bell went back to Illies.

Illies caught two more touchdowns – for 15 yards and 9 yards – helping the Warbirds take a 36-0 lead early in the third quarter.

Hillsboro had trouble breaking through the Warbirds’ defense at times, especially on third down.

But the Burros did get something with two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

One of them was a 55-yarder by Colby Tapson. Tapson finished the game with 137 yards.

Tapson’s 55-yard run helped pad his stats, but it was Bell who statistically stole the show.

In addition to his passing totals, he also rushed for 117 yards, helping the Warbirds rack up 338 yards of total offense.

“It helps when the running game and passing game are going well,” Bell said. “When one works, it allows you to use the other one pretty well too.”

H 0 0 0 14–14

WL 6 24 6 0–36

W-L: Illies 17 pass from Bell (run failed)

W-L: Vasquez 28 pass from Bell (Illies catch)

W-L: Vasquez 15 pass from Bell (Frank catch)

W-L: Illies 15 pass from Bell (Bell run)

W-L: Illies 5 pass from Bell (kick failed)

H: Dufner 9 pass from Otto (pass failed)

H: Tapson 55 run (Bowen catch)


RUSHING: W-L, Frank 10-34, Bell 15-117, Illies 2-38. H, Otto 20-72, Bowen 6-6, Tapson 14-137, Dufner 2-3.

PASSING: W-L, Bell 11-18-5 149 yards. H, Otto 2-9-1 22 yards

RECEIVING: W-L, Vasquez 5-73, Illies 4-48, Clark 1-17, Frank 1-9. H, Tapson 1-10, Dufner 1-12

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found at slightlychilled.areavoices.com