Tiger JV football team finishes winning season
The Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta junior varsity football team completed the 2011 season with a winning record.
With the assistance of several juniors, Nic Vipond, Marcus Cannon, James Burke, and Clay Staples, the sophomore class earned their first winning record in football.
The group of guys worked very hard all year and kept getting better. Several coaches were amazed that we could play with 14 players some games. These guys gained a lot of respect from other teams and coaches as they played their hearts out and never quit no matter what circumstances they encountered. All these players had key roles and they stepped up to the challenge.
The Tigers' season began Sept. 6. The Tigers started the game with a short return to the 35, and gained seven yards in three plays. The Warrior defense forced the punt. Corey Storck had a 28-yard punt and the coverage only allowed a three-yard return. BOLD racked up four first downs before the Warriors fumbled the ball and an alert Myles Smith pounced on the loose ball. Two plays later the Tigers gave it right back with an interception. Four plays later, the Warriors took a 6-0 lead. The ball hit the cross bar and bounced back out to keep the score 6-0. BOLD scored again after the Tigers fumbled the ball on the 12-yard line. Aaron Nelson blocked the kick to hold the score at 12-0. Things started to look up as Bryce Jergenson returned the ball over midfield spurred by a nice block from Jordan Thooft. The Tigers earned a first down as Jergenson found Nelson open in the flats. The Tigers lined up for a punt just four plays later, but Stork was able to find Nelson again for another first down. Three plays later, Smith scooted 26 yards into the end zone. The PAT failed as a result of the receiver not running the correct pass route which left the Tigers down 12-6. MACA tried to catch the unsuspecting Warriors with an onside attempt. It went right through the hands of one of the Tigers. The field position did not really matter as the BOLD running back escaped the grasp of the defense and ran almost 70 yards for a touchdown. The Tiger defense held to keep the score 18-6. The Tigers had another great kick return, only to fumble the ball just after crossing midfield. The Warriors wasted no time in converting the turn over into another six points. The quarterback was wrapped up and on his way down when he handed the ball to the running back that took it 35 yards to the promised land as time ran off of the clock. The kick was good, which stretched the lead to 25-6 at half-time. The same problems existed in the second half as BOLD had a good kick return, to start their eight-play, 52-yard drive. Once again the Tiger defense had the running back wrapped up behind the line of scrimmage, only to let him escape and put it in the end zone for six more. The kick was good which extended the Warrior lead to 32-6. Dillan Johnson had a great block on the ensuing kickoff to allow Jergenson to get the ball across mid-field. MACA moved the ball, but stalled out in the red zone. The defensive line fired off the ball and the defense started finishing the tackles. The game ended 32-6 in favor of the Warriors.
The Tigers were in action again on Sept. 12.
The hurricane force winds were blowing right down the field as the 14 players wandered onto field to face the 30-plus players from New London-Spicer. The Wildcats scored on their first possession, and kicked the extra point to take an early 7-0 lead. This would be the only score in the first quarter as both teams moved the ball at times, but never broke into the end zone. The final drive of the quarter for the Wildcats led to the first score in the second quarter. The kick was good, so NLS led 14-0. Now it was the Tigers' turn, as the crew from MACA drove 62 yards in 10 plays. There were penalties and negative plays, but they were overcome to set up the final 48-yard run by Smith after Jergenson found him on a quick slant. Jergenson's next target on the extra point was Storck. This closed the gap to 14-8 with 2:34 left in the half. The Tigers had another opportunity as they forced the Wildcats to turn the ball over and an alert James Burke fell on the ball. The very next play, the Tigers threw the ball right back to the Wildcats. Four good defensive plays gave the Tigers one last opportunity, but time expired and killed the drive before halftime. The third quarter was all in the Wildcats' favor. NLS took less than two minutes to score on their 55-yard drive. The kick was good, and the Wildcats went up 21-8. Their lead was extended by six more as the Tigers fumbled the opening kick-off. This turn over led to a 24-yard touchdown strike on the next play. The kick drifted wide, so the score stayed 27-8. The gale force winds forced the kick-off into the end zone, so the Tigers started deep. The Wildcats picked off the ball on the very next play as the Tiger receiver did not adjust to the winds affect' on the pass and the NLS corner did. The MACA defense stiffened up and forced the Wildcats back to almost midfield. After several positive gains, the linebacker for NLS made a great play on the ball and went almost 60 yards for a touchdown. The Wildcats went for two and made it so that put the Wildcats up 35-8 with 4:50 left in the third quarter. After a time out and a little pep talk, the rest of the game was in favor of the MACA Tigers. The offense started moving the ball and kept it on the ground. A critical fourth down conversion kept the drive alive as the Tigers went 81 yard in 15 plays and took over eight minutes off the clock. The play that capped the drive was a one-yard plunge by Aaron Nelson to add six more to the Tigers' score. Several missed assignments on the Tiger offense cause the PAT to fail which left the score at 35-14. The next series for NLS was greeted with a fired-up Tiger defense. Shortly into the drive the Tigers forced a fumble, and an astute Smith scooped up the ball and ran 48 yard for a touchdown with the Wildcats in hot pursuit. The elusive Smith was not denied as the score was upgraded to 35-20. The extra point failed as the blitzing linebacker was missed at the line of scrimmage. The defense made NLS work hard for all their yards, but the Tigers still allowed them to convert three times on fourth and short. As a result, the game ended with a final score of 35-20.
The Tigers hosted Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City on Sept. 19.
The Tigers were excited to play their first home game of the season. This excitement was carried into the game as the Tigers drove 65 yards in 13 plays to take an early 6-0 lead on a five-yard run by Thooft. The PAT failed and the score remained 6-0 with 4:09 left in the quarter. The Falcons turned the ball over after moving the ball to the Tigers' 33-yard line. MACA put together another long drive that took the rest of the first quarter and much of the second quarter to go up 12-0 with 5:52 left in the second quarter. The kick had the same result as the first. The defense held ACGC out of the end zone again on this drive, and scored on Thooft plowing his way into the end zone from four yards out. Much of the drive was covered by a 41-yard to Jordan from Storck. Again, the kick failed, so the Tigers took an 18-0 lead into halftime. The second half again saw MACA's offense moving the ball and the defense giving up very few positive yards. Nelson's five-yard run capped a drive that covered 52 yards in seven plays. The Tigers' second drive covered 48 yards in nine plays to extend the lead to 30-0 with a two-yard knifing by Jergenson. This time the kick was good and extended the lead to 31-0. The Falcons put together a drive in the final minutes of the game to score with 38.5 seconds left on the clock. Marcus Cannon blocked the attempted kick to leave the final score 31-6.
It was a hot fall day on Sept. 26 and the MACA boys were a little slow to get started. Benson kicked off to the Tigers, and were able to struggle out to the 34-yard line. There was a fumble on the second hand off, but fortunately recovered the ball. This was to no avail as the Tigers were forced to punt on fourth and long.
Benson started on their 34, and quickly gained close to 30 yards before the defense tightened up and forced the ball over on downs after Clay Staples came up with a big sack. The second series for the Tigers netted the same results as the first, which was a punt on fourth down. The defense came up big on the very next play as Storck jumped on a mishandled hand off. The Tigers were ready for some offense. It took 11 plays to cover the 52 yards and the remaining time of the first quarter. At 8:03 in the second quarter, the Tigers broke the 0-0 tie with a darting into the end zone by Jergenson. The extra point failed as the ball sailed off the receivers' hands. The Braves returned the kickoff almost to midfield. That is when their offense moved the ball almost 30 yards in eight plays, before the MACA defense stopped the Braves on fourth and short. The Tigers struggled on offense as once again a punt was needed on fourth and long. Once again Storck boomed one and the punt coverage was great. This was critical as Benson had several big plays to run out of time at the half. Benson started the second half down 6-0, but they had the ball on the Tigers' 40-yard line. Cannon came up with the ball on the first play as a whole host of Tigers hit the ball carrier. The stingy defense of the Braves forced MACA to punt on a long fourth down again. Nic Vipond showed the Braves some defensive skills of his own on the very next play as he read the quarterback perfectly and picked off the ball. This time the Tiger offense was hitting on all cylinders, but unfortunately after gaining close to 40 yards, the offense cancelled out Vipond's interception with an interception and a big run back by the Braves. Benson wasted no time and drove the remaining 44 yards in just three plays to score with just 4:06 left in the quarter. The Braves were met with a salty Tiger defense which thwarted their attempt of taking the lead. The Tigers started on their own 35 and moved to midfield, before turning the ball over on downs. Benson moved the ball and used up the remaining time on the clock to end the third quarter at a 6-6 tie. Benson continued the drive, but the Tiger defense was revived and stopped the Braves only 30 yards from the end zone. Unfortunately, the Tigers could not muster any offense and were forced to punt. The Braves were bringing everybody in an attempt to block the punt, but the stealthy Storck managed to boot the ball and it took a friendly Tiger roll down to the 25-yard line. Eleven plays and 52 yards later the Braves were met with the same salty Tiger defense. Morris turned the ball over three plays later, which led to the Tigers' demise. Benson took full advantage of the ball and the field position and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 14.2 seconds remaining in the game. The defense held the Braves out on the PAT, but the Braves still led 12-6. The Tigers had some miscommunication on the kick return as one more block could have sprung the return man. The final attempt at the end zone missed the intended target and left the game at 12-6 with the Braves on top.
The Tigers hosted Paynesville on Oct. 3. The Tigers won the opening kickoff, but failed to hang onto the ball and gave the Bulldogs great field position. Four plays and 38 yards later, Paynesville had taken an early 6-0 lead. Once again, the Tiger defense held out the opponents on the extra point. The Tigers started deep in their own territory and moved the ball well until mental mistakes caused them to reverse direction and end up punting the ball near mid field. The next three possessions saw little positive movement by both teams ending in a punt. Staples had two big sacks to help stall out the Bulldogs' drive. The second quarter started with the Tigers trailing 6-0. MACA covered 69 yards in eight plays to tie the game at six apiece. Miscommunication with the receiver on the point after attempt left the score at 6-6. The Bulldogs started deep in their territory and were forced to punt on fourth down. The Tigers took just one play as Jergenson threw a bullet to Storck streaking up the sideline. This put the Tigers up 12-6 with 2:34 left in the first half. The PAT was well executed as Jergenson ran in for two, but this was erased as a lineman had some extra cloth in his mits. The Bulldogs took just under two minutes to tie the game at 12-12 and lifted the score by two when they made the extra-point attempt. The game ended 14-12 at halftime. The second half saw MACA a little more focused as they forced Paynesville to punt on the fourth play. Six plays and 45 yards later, Thooft pounded his way into the end zone. Thooft followed with another run into the end zone to put the Tigers up 20-14 with 5:49 left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs turned the ball over after four plays, but the Tigers punted it right back four plays later. Gage Backman came up with a big interception to set up another five-yard TD run by Thooft which gave the Tigers a 26-14 lead with 49.6 seconds remaining in the third quarter. MACA got the ball right back on a mishandled kick return by the Bulldogs. The favor was returned as three plays later the Tigers turned the ball over. Devin Robertson pulled in a huge interception only two plays into a Paynesville drive. Paynesville would get the ball right back as the defender ripped the ball right out of the receiver's hands and scampered 54 yards to bring the game to a 26-20 score. The pass was completed which closed the gap to four points. The Tigers moved the ball well, but stalled out just short of the red zone. The Bulldogs took seven plays to get into the redzone on the other end of the field before turning it over on downs. Thooft churned his legs to get a critical first down, to allow Jergenson to kneel the ball and end the game with a 26-22 Tiger victory.
On Oct. 10 the Tigers hosted Minnewaska. The ninth and 10th graders are playing a combined game due to the low rate of participation at Minnewaska. The freshmen are mainly playing on the offensive side of the ball and the sophomores are mainly playing on the defensive side of the ball. Overall, the two classes blended well. The game started with MACA kicking off to Minnewaska. The defense forced the Lakers to punt on fourth and long. The Tigers started moving the ball, but threw an interception several plays into the drive. MACA was able to get the ball right back as Ethan Stahman hauled in a pass intended for a Laker receiver. Nine plays and 40 yards later, the Tigers gave the ball back with another interception. The defense again forced a punt on fourth down, and the first quarter ended in a 0-0 tie. Eight plays into this drive, the Tigers punted the ball as penalties moved the ball in the wrong direction. The Lakers managed one first down before they were again forced to punt the ball. The Tigers turned the ball back over on the second play from the line of scrimmage. This time the Lakers connected on a 26-yard touchdown pass on fourth and short to go up 6-0. They quickly punched in the extra point to extend the lead to 8-0 with 3:33 left in the second quarter. The Tigers took just seven plays to cover 56 yards to make it 8-6. Bo Olson bulled his way into the end zone to knot it up at eights with only 24 seconds left on the clock. The Lakers made a big gain on a pass that looked like a sure touchdown, but Backman, the backside linebacker, picked the correct angle and knocked the receiver out of bounds inside of the red zone. Time had expired so the half ended 8-8. MACA started the second half by forcing Minnewaska to fumble the ball. It took 12 plays to cover the 60-plus yards before Thooft rumbled into the end zone to put the Tigers up 14-8. The PAT failed. WASKA charged right back and scored on a pass play with third and long. Their PAT also failed so the score was tied 14-14 with under four minutes in the game. MACA was not outdone as Trent Wulf hit Storck on a 61-yard touchdown pass to go up 20-14. Olson was not denied pay dirt as he charged in for the second extra point of the day. The MACA defense again proved itself as the Lakers lost close to 20 yards in three plays before punting the ball. The score ended the third quarter 22-14. After earning three first downs, the Tigers saw fourth and short with 45 yards to pay dirt. MACA decided to go with the fake punt and Storck scooted the 45 yards with great reads and some key downfield blocking by Nelson and Smith. The Tiger defense was again too much for the Lakers as the quarterback was forced to throw the ball early and turned the ball over on downs. Seven plays and 41 yards later, Riley Biesterfeld punched in an insurance touchdown to go ahead 28-14. The extra point failed, but the defense stayed strong to keep the score 28-14 to end the game.
The Tigers were home again on Oct. 17 hosting Yellow Medicine East.
There was a sense of importance in the game as this game would determine if this group of athletes would have their first winning record or not. Also, Johnson pointed out after every win that we are undefeated at Big Cat stadium. This attitude was reflected in the first drive as the Tigers drove 80 yards in 13 plays with positive yards on every down. Thooft powered in the first score of the day with a four-yard run with 3:58 left in the first quarter. The PAT failed so the Tigers had just a 6-0 lead. Vipond's kickoff drilled a Sting player and bounced right back to the Tigers. It looked like a 12-0 lead, but the touchdown of Smith was erased by an ill-advised block close to mid-field. MACA turned the ball over on downs, but forced YME to punt just three plays later. The eight-play, 68-yard drive was capped off by Storck running 17 yards untouched on the reverse. The kick failed. The Sting punted just four plays later to the Tigers another scoring opportunity before half. Storck found the end zone seven plays later to put the Tigers up 18-0. Jergenson found a wide open Robertson in the end zone to put the Tigers up 20-0. That is how the first half ended. YME came out with a more aggressive attitude in the second half and marched 73 yards in 10 plays to score with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter. The score stayed 20-6 as the defense held the Sting out of the end zone on the PAT. The score stay 20-6 the remainder of the quarter as both teams moved the ball up and down the middle of the field, but did not score. YME managed to score with 9:55 left in the fourth quarter. Once again the defense held on the extra point and the score was limited to 20-12. Thooft saw one of his goals come to fruition as he returned the kickoff 84 yards to put the Tigers up 26-12. After some big plays by Staples, the Tigers stopped the drive of YME.Thooft again used his track speed to run another 60 yards on the first play to put the Tigers up 32-12. Storck darted in for the extra point to put the Tigers up 34-12. This was how the game ended as the defense held the Sting out of the end zone and the Tiger offense burned up the remaining time on the clock.