FAIRMONT - The South Central Hawgs are the Champions of the first Nineman National Championship after defeating the Oregon South Valley Vandals 60-26 on Friday at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.
The Vandals struck first in the inaugural championship game, something that no Hawg opponent had done all season.
The Hawgs responded with a touchdown of their own to even things up at 7-7. The Vandals came back and scored another touchdown making it 14-7.
CHAMPIONS — South Central Hawgs’ fullback Tate Anderson rushes for one of his three touchdowns in Friday’s Nineman football National Championship at the Hubert Humbery Metrodome. The Hawgs won 60-26. Photo Courtesy of Jay Doyscher
"I think that made us a little frustrated when they scored those touchdowns so quickly. We hadn't played from behind much and usually don't give up two touchdowns in a game," said Hawgs manager Jay Doyscher.
South Central rebounded and scored another touchdown to tie the game back up again at 14-14.
"It was hot and stuffy in the Dome; I'm not sure they had the air conditioning on, and both teams were fighting fatigue and dehydration," said Doyscher.
"With the different rules in place, instead of having four quarters we played with two 30-minute halves with breaks near the 15-minute mark," said Doyscher.
With the game knotted up at 20-20 just before the half, James Dallager and Alex Fisher connected on a touchdown pass to give the Hawgs the 27-20 advantage going into halftime.
"Offensively we were balanced and attacked well, but at halftime we made some defensive adjustments that really seemed to help us in the second half," said Doyscher.
Those adjustments helped the Hawgs to hold the Vandals from Oregon to just one touchdown in the second half.
The Hawgs, on the other hand, scored eight touchdowns and caused eight turnovers en route to their victory.
Dakota Gilbertson started the half out well for the Hawgs, returning the kickoff to midfield to give the offense great field position.
After driving the length of the rest of the field, Gilbertson punched it in for the touchdown to give his team the two score lead at 34-20.
One of the Hawg's two turnovers led to a 74-yard strike for the Vandals to score and make it 34-26.
Fisher and Storm Soto connected on a 63-yard pass to score another touchdown for the Hawgs 41-26 lead.
"Defensively we controlled the game. They made us work for our yards but it felt as though there wasn't anything that we couldn't do on offense," said Doyscher.
Tate Anderson gave the Hawgs score his two touchdowns in the second half, and Trey Diggs scored the final touchdown to make it 60-26.
Fisher and Dallager split the quarterback duties. Fisher was 9-for-17 for 182 yards and two touchdowns, while Dallager was 3-for-8 for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
Anderson had three receptions for 64 yards and one touchdown; Simon Boever had three catches for 40 yards and one touchdown; while Fisher had two catches for 39 yards and one touchdown.
Kevin Abell caught two for 17 yards; Soto had one catch for 63 yards and a touchdown; and Ryan Luedtke had one catch for 14 yards.
"Overall the game was a success. It was really great to see something we all worked so hard on be so successful. Winning doesn't hurt either," said Doysccher.