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Chris Aarhus / Forum News Service, Published October 19 2013

Oakes shuts out Carrington

OAKES, N.D. – All those games of catch between Bryce Meehl and Ethan Zetocha are starting to pay off.

The Oakes duo hooked up six times for 133 yards, and the Tornadoes held down a powerful Carrington rushing attack in a 39-0 blanking of their North Dakota Region 1 rival Saturday at Cummings Field.

Meehl, a junior quarterback, threw for two scores and ran for another to help Oakes lock up a home playoff game. The second-seeded Tornadoes (6-2) host Fordville-Lankin-Park River next Saturday in the quarterfinals.

“We didn’t really want to go to Canada next week,” said Meehl, referring to a possible trip to Rolla with a loss. “We came out and played well enough to get a home game.”

Zetocha, a sophomore, caught four passes of 20-plus yards, two of which came with two defenders on him. One of his catches went for a 9-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

“We’ve been playing catch since we were 5 years old at daycare,” Meehl said. “We’ve spent some time together.”

Though he was only 12-of-25 passing, Meehl’s connections were daggers in Carrington’s defense.

On third-and-13, he hit Carter Zetocha down the right sideline for a 29-yard touchdown to open the scoring. And on the second of Blake Hollingsworth’s two first-half TDs, Meehl hit Ethan Zetocha with a 35-yard pass on fourth-and-5 that kept the drive alive.

“He’s a special kid; he really is,” Oakes coach Greg Dobitz said. “Our offensive line does a great job of keeping him clean. He puts the ball where it needs to be most of the time.”

Meehl finished with 225 yards passing and another 75 on the ground. He did so without all-state wide receiver Cole Ehrlin, who Dobitz said was “banged up.”

“I told my football team, ‘We did this without one of our best players,’” Dobitz said. “Cole Ehrlin wasn’t playing today. He leads us in touchdowns this year.”

Oakes, which had 424 total yards, may have been most impressive on defense, holding Carrington to 167 yards, including just 66 on the ground. However, starting tailback Seth Abaurrea didn’t see much action because of injury issues, logging just four carries for 13 yards.

“We knew we had to stop the run and I think you saw an emphasis on that today,” Dobitz said. “Carrington hangs their hat on running the football. They weren’t able to do that today.”

It’s been a difficult two weeks for Carrington after it started the season 6-0. The Cardinals (6-2) had a chance to lock up the No. 1 seed last week, but fell to Hillsboro-Central Valley by two points.

With this loss, they’ll be the No. 3 seed and will head to fifth-ranked North Prairie or second-ranked Larimore for the opening round of the playoffs.

“We didn’t come off the bus ready to play,” Carrington coach Marty Hochhalter said. “It just snowballed from there. No energy whatsoever. We came out flat and played flat.”

Carrington 0 0 0 0–0

Oakes 14 12 7 6–39

O-Zetocha 29 pass from Meehl (Meehl kick),

O-Hollingsworth 26 run (Meehl kick)

O-Hollingsworth 4 run (kick failed)

O-Meehl 1 run (kick failed)

O-Zetocha 9 pass from Meehl (Meehl kick)

O-Loepp 2 run (kick failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: C, Carr 6-21, Neumiller 5-13, Abaurrea 4-13, Smith 5-6, Hewitt 1-6, Ferguson 4-5, Paeper 2-2, Wendel 1-0. O, Loepp 19-79, Meehl 8-75, Hollingsworth 6-48, Kuipers 2-1, Schmit 1-1, E. Zetocha 1-(-5).

PASSING: C, Smith 5-12-0 63, Hewitt 2-6-0 38, Freeman 0-0-0 0. O, Meehl 12-25-0 225.

RECEIVING: C, Paeper 2-40, Bickett 1-32, Ferguson 1-14, Abaurrea 1-8, Fandrich 1-6, Miller 1-1. O, E. Zetocha 6-133, C. Zetocha 3-42, Kaleb Sell 1-23, Andersen 1-15, Hollingsworth 1-12.

Aarhus writes for the Jamestown Sun