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Greg DeVillers / Forum News Service, Published November 09 2013

Ada-Borup's football season ends with loss to Kittson

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The challenge was given to the Kittson County Central offensive line.

“We told the kids all week that we had to run the ball,” KCC coach Cory Waling said. “That fell on our offensive line. We felt we were more physical up front. We had to take care of business there.”

The Bearcats blockers responded to the challenge, opening holes for Kittson County Central to rush for 416 yards and six touchdowns Saturday. The big ground game sparked KCC to a 38-14 win over Ada-Borup in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota 9-man high school football playoffs.

The 12-0 Bearcats will meet Grand Meadow in a state semifinal game at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Minneapolis. Ada-Borup closes its season with a 9-3 record.

Both teams came into the quarterfinals with big passing offenses. But in the cold, windy conditions, the running game prevailed. J.D. Kappes was 8-of-21 passing for 106 yards for the Cougars, but they managed only 88 yards on the ground.

“On offense and defense, they controlled the line,” Ada-Borup coach Nathan Brager said. “We knew they had good skill people. We didn’t realize how good their linemen were. And our weakness has been run defense.”

How good was the Bearcats’ ground game behind the blocking unit of center Ian Bergh, guards Ethan Donaldson and Anders Lindegard and tight ends Tucker Cosley and Blayne Davis? On KCC’s 60 rushing attempts, only four resulted in negative yardage.

Carson Thorsteinson rushed for 153 yards on 27 carries. Nick Kasprowicz rushed for 157 yards on 14 carries. Fernando Blanco and Drew Olsonawski added 55 and 51 yards, respectively. Thorsteinson, Kasprowicz and Olsonawski each rushed for two touchdowns.

“The line was tremendous,” Thorsteinson said. “They’ve been doing well all year. But this was one of our better games running the ball.”

Said Waling: “It was a lot of grinding away with Thorsteinson; then we’d try to get them with a quick hit. It wasn’t anything fancy.”

The Bearcats built a 19-0 halftime lead on scoring runs of 17 yards by Thorsteinson, 1 yard by Olsonawski and 57 yards by Kasprowicz.

Ada-Borup made a quick run in the third quarter. On the second offensive play of the third quarter, Kappes hit Austin Merkens for a 60-yard scoring pass. The Cougars recovered the ensuing kickoff, leading to a 1-yard Lance Ruebke scoring run to cut KCC’s lead to 19-14.

But the Bearcats answered with a 12-play, 70-yard drive capped by Thorsteinson scoring from 2 yards out.

“We still felt we had a chance in the second half,” Brager said. “We had some opportunities. But we had some lack of execution. And you have to throw in how good Kittson is.”

Kittson Co. Central 12 7 6 13–38

Ada-Borup 0 0 14 0–14

KCC – Carson Thorsteinson 17 run (kick failed)

KCC – Drew Olsonawski 1 run (pass failed)

KCC – Nick Kasprowicz 57 run (Fernando Blanco kick)

A-B – Austin Merkens 60 pass from J.D. Kappes (Blake Fetting kick)

A-B – Lance Ruebke 1 run (Fetting kick)

KCC – Thorsteinson 2 run (kick failed)

KCC – Olsonawski 15 run (Blanco kick)

KCC – Kasprowicz 26 run (kick blocked)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING – A-B: Fetting 27-52, Ruebke 6-31; KCC: Kasprowicz 14-157, Thorsteinson 27-153, Olsonawski 10-57, Blanco 9-55

PASSING – A-B: Kappis 8-21-0, 106 yards; KCC: Olsonawski 4-14-0, 51 yards

RECEIVING – A-B: Merkens 2-65, Ruebke 4-39, Chase Hoven 1-11, Dylan Wilkens 1-3; KCC: Kasprowicz 2-29, Blanco 2-22

DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald