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Eric Peterson, Published November 01 2013

Holdingford beats Otter Tail Central for section straight section crown

FARGO – A rough start and finish to the first half proved too much for Otter Tail Central to overcome Friday night at the Fargodome.

Holdingford converted an early Otter Tail Central turnover into six points and also scored on a long scoring pass on the final play of the second quarter. Those two touchdowns helped spark the Huskers to a 32-14 victory for the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 6 football championship.

“They hurt,” Otter Tail Central head coach Don Seipkes said of those big plays. “That’s part of the game.”

Holdingford (11-0) remained unbeaten, while earning its second consecutive section championship.

“It was a goal at the beginning of the season,” said Huskers senior quarterback Mitch Messman, who had a hand in all five of his team’s touchdowns. “We took care of business.”

Messman completed 9 of 14 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. His longest and likely most important completion came on the final play of the first half. After an Otter Tail Central punt, the Huskers took over at the OTC 49-yard line with 9 seconds remaining until halftime. Messman dropped back to pass and found senior wide receiver Jeremy Springer streaking open down the left sideline. Springer hauled in the long throw and scooted into the end zone as time expired in the half for the 49-yard score.

“I can’t take credit for that,” Messman said. “I’m just throwing it up there and my wide receiver went up there. And I have to give credit to my offensive line. I’m just the one throwing it.”

That big scoring play gave Holdingford a 20-7 lead going into halftime. The Huskers never had their lead dip into single digits from that point.

“That was just a huge play,” Holdingford head coach Luke Mitchell said. “Jeremy made a play and Mitch made a play. That’s what you count on your seniors to do.”

Holdingford never trailed, scoring its first points less than two minutes into the game. Otter Tail Central, which started the game’s first drive on its own 29-yard line, turned the ball over on the game’s first play from scrimmage. A high snap got over the head of sophomore quarterback Tony Ukkelberg. The Huskers covered the loose ball on the OTC 7-yard line. Four plays later, Messman bulled into the end zone from a yard out to give Holdingford a 6-0 lead with 10:10 to play in the first quarter.

“I really think that relaxes our team, when you can get an early score like that,” Mitchell said.

The Bulldogs tried to climb back into the game early in the second half. After a failed Holdingford fake punt, Otter Tail Central started a drive at the Huskers 28. The Bulldogs moved the ball to the Holdingford 5 before junior fullback Nick Trosdahl was dropped for a 2-yard loss. On the next play, Otter Tail Central went for it on a fourth-and-3 from the 7, but Holdingford stuffed Ukkelberg for no gain on a quarterback keeper with 6:37 to play in the third quarter. The stand helped the Huskers maintain their 20-7 lead.

“I owe our defense a big hug after that one,” Mitchell said with a smile. “They picked up my stupid (decision) after that fake punt.”

Messman had 1-yard touchdown runs in both the third and fourth quarters to protect his team’s lead. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Messman rushed for 76 yards and three touchdowns on 16 attempts to go along with his passing output.

“He’s a tremendous all-around quarterback for us,” Mitchell said. “He lets us be balanced on offense.”

Otter Tail Central (9-2) had its nine-game winning streak snapped, ending its season.

“We’ve had a great year,” Seipkes said. “(Holdingford) didn’t run over us like some people thought they were going to. We battled and gave them a game. … They made the big play. That was the key. They made the plays when the needed to make the plays; offensively and defensively.”

Holdingford 14 6 6 6-32

OTC 0 7 0 7-14

H-Mitch Messman 1 run (run failed)

H-Springer 14 pass from Mitch Messman (Springer pass from Mitch Messman)

OTC-Trosdahl 1 run (Tony Ukkelberg kick)

H-Springer 49 pass from Mitch Messman (pass failed)

H-Mitch Messman 1 run (run failed)

OTC-Trosdahl 1 run (Tony Ukkelberg kick)

H-Mitch Messman 1 run (pass failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: HHS, Gombos 13-92, Mitch Messman 16-76, Matt Messman 4-32, Bialka 5-21, Team 3-(-3). OTC, Trosdahl 27-99, A. VanErp 3-29, Tony Ukkelberg 3-4, Smith 8-3, Team 1-(-22).

PASSING: HHS, Mitch Messman 9-14-1 180 yards. OTC, Tony Ukkelberg 6-12-2 80.

RECEIVING: HHS, Springer 3-84, Gombos 2-44, Bialka 3-35, Catton 1-17. OTC, A. VanErp 1-37, Tyler Ukkelberg 2-23, Trosdahl 2-11, Marso 1-9.


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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com