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Published November 04 2011

Wheaton-Herman-Norcross wins Section 4 title

FARGO – The Wheaton-Herman-Norcross High School football team worked all week on stopping Eagle Valley’s bread-and-butter passing plays.

However, the Warriors did much more than that on Friday.

Wheaton-H-N returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns in a 50-16 rout of the Rebels during the Minnesota 9-man, Section 4 championship game at the Fargodome.

“It was a great win,” said Warriors senior Patrick Conroy, who had a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. “The whole team just really stepped up. I think getting those interceptions kept us going, it motivated us.”

The Warriors’ first interception sparked Wheaton in what stared out a tip-and-tuck game.

With the game tied at 8-8 and Eagle Valley driving deep in Warriors territory, Nick Stafford jumped in front of a Tyler Oftedahl pass and ran 70 yards for the score.

Wheaton-H-N (10-1) forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Rebels possession, and the Warriors scored just before the half to take a 22-8 lead.

The rout was on.

“We were prepared for their two big pass routes,” Warriors coach Tony Thiel said. “The kids absolutely played it perfectly for us.”

The Warriors bottled up standout Eagle Valley running back Jacob Schauer for much of the game, limiting the speedy senior to 72 yards on 18 carries.

The Rebels (10-1) initially moved the ball efficiently when forced to go to the air.

Oftedahl found senior receiver Tate Benning from 47-yards out to make the score 28-16 with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter.

But a quick pair of fourth-quarter scores by Wheaton-H-N put the game out of reach.

Carter Thiel hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass with 11:53 on the clock. The Warriors recovered the ensuing kickoff when it bounced off a Rebels blocker. Wheaton-H-N then pushed the lead to 44-16 with a 5-play, 48-yard scoring drive.

The Warriors iced the game with Conroy’s late interception return.

Wheaton-H-N will play the winner of Section 1 at 1 p.m. next Friday at Spring Lake Park High School in the state quarterfinals.

“This is the greatest feeling right now,” Conroy said. “We are hoping to go all the way with this.”

W-H-N 8 14 6 22 – 50

EV 0 8 8 0 – 16

W-H-N-Brink 2 run (Brink run)

EV-Eckel 7 pass from Oftedahl (Nelson pass from Oftedahl)

W-H-N-Stafford 68 interception return (run failed)

W-H-N-Brink 6 run (Thiel pass from Schwagel)

W-H-N-Schwagel 2 run (pass failed)

EV-Benning 47 pass from Oftedahl (Nelson pass from Oftedahl)

W-H-N-Thiel 15 pass from Schwagel (Persing run)

W-H-N-Brink 7 run (Persing run)

W-H-N-Conroy 69 interception return (run failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: W-H-N, Brink 10-30, Cronen 12-61, Schwagel 15-56, Persing 15-91, Backman 3-12, Thiel 3-5. EV, Schauer 18-72, Mock 4-1.

PASSING: W-H-N, Schwagel 4-6-0 59, Persing 1-1-0 28. EV, Oftedahl 14-28-2 164.

RECEIVING: W-H-N, Thiel 2-43, Russell 1-15, Stafford 1-29. EV, Eckel 2-20, Mock 4-23, Nelson 4-62, Meyer 2-5, Benning 2-53.

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