SHERBURN - The Martin County West running game had a tough time churning out yards against the Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart defense, running 35 times for 207 yards in Southern Minnesota Conference football action on Friday night in Sherburn.
Instead, quarterback Jake Faber and the Maverick offense took to the air, completing 8 of 15 passes for 259 yards with three touchdowns to down the Mustangs 35-13.
"Our line is impressive right now, they are picking up blitzes, making running holes and giving Jake time to throw," said Martin County West head coach T.J. Schmidtke.
CREATING SPACE — Martin County West offensive linemen Jacob Sinn (74) and Riley Seufert (63) create running room for Maverick running back Thor Larson (4) during Southern Minnesota Conference football action Friday night in Sherburn. Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart defenders Chris Schmidt (left) and Andrew Best get blocked on the play. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
With that extra time, Faber found a pair of receivers for two long passing touchdowns in the first half as the Mavericks took a 28-0 lead.
On the opening drive of the game, Faber connected with Wesley Cook along the sideline for a 29-yard reception, before handing the ball off to Tanner Lange on consecutive plays for 18 total yards to give the Mavericks the ball on the 7.
Faber then scampered through the Mustang defenders for the touchdown at the 9:45 mark in the first quarter. Anders Fuller secured the 7-0 Martin County West lead with a PAT kick.
"I think our speed tonight is what made the difference for us offensively," said Schmidtke. "The line was giving us the holes to run through and even when their defense would blitz, we would still get positive yardage. And when you can win those battles, usually you can win the game."
On the Mavericks' second drive, Faber used his quick cuts to move the ball off of the Martin County West 2-yard line.
Thor Larson, who led the Mavericks' rushing game with 12 carries for 86 yards, then plowed through defenders for 24 yards on second down-and-six.
A 16-yard bomb to Baker, who had three catches for 109 yards, then moved the ball all the way to the Mustangs' 23.
Larson raced for a first down on the next play, but thanks to a holding penalty, it was called back.
That allowed Faber, who had plenty of time in the pocket, to throw a perfect spiral 71 yards into the hands of Cordell Weber, for one of his two catches for 96 yards, Weber scored with 3:03 left in the first to go up 13-0.
While the Maverick offense was cruising in the opening half, the defense held the Mustangs to under 20 yards rushing and just 89 yards passing through the first 24 minutes.
"I thought that defensively we were pretty solid tonight," said Schmidtke. "We knew coming in that they'd be a pretty physical and tough team, and we really only had one mental breakdown in the first half, so that was pretty good to see."
After the Mavericks' defense forced the Mustangs to punt on a three-and-out as the second quarter began, Martin County West converted it into points.
Larson tore for 16 yards on the opening play of the drive, before Faber collected another 10 yards on the ground.
With the ball on the 20, the Mavericks threw to the end zone for an incompletion, but a roughing-the-passer penalty moved the ball onto the Mustangs' 12.
From there' Faber twisted and cut his way into the end zone. Then the skillful senior threw a laser to Baker for the 2-point conversion to make it 21-0.
The Maverick defense yet again did their job on the next Mustang drive, holding them to three plays and six yards.
"We have a good idea coming into games of what our opponents are going to want to do," said Schmidtke. "We really thought they would want to run and we didn't let them. Our guys come into the game knowing what they need to do, and they have been doing it."
Then it took just one play, Baker running a slant down the middle of the field, and a pass from Faber to score an 81-yard touchdown for the Mavericks.
Fuller kicked his second PAT of the game to put the Mavericks up 28-0.
The Mustangs broke open the shutout on their final drive of the half, using a 16-yard pass connection between quarterback Jake Pettit and Kyle Kubesh to spark some offense off of an interception.
Tate Lange, who led the Mustangs on the ground with 26 yards, then ran for five yards putting the ball on the Mavericks' 18-yard line.
Pettit and Kubesh then went to the air for the touchdown on a pass into the corner of the end zone with 43 seconds before halftime.
Baker and Faber connected for an 8-yard touchdown pass early in the second half, with Fuller kicking the PAT to go up 35-6 for the Mavericks.
Brandon Malo scored the Mustangs' final touchdown with 3:55 left in the game on a 1-yard run.
Pettit completed 17 of 35 passes for 164 yards for the Mustangs.
Martin County West (4-0) travels to Sleepy Eye Public for a Southern Minnesota Conference game at 7 p.m. next Friday.
Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart (1-3) travels to play Minnesota Valley Lutheran in a conference game at 7 p.m. next Friday in New Ulm.
BLHS 0 6 0 7 - 13
MCW 13 15 7 0 - 35
MCW - Jake Faber 7 run (Anders Fuller kick), 9:45.
MCW - Cordell Weber 71 pass Faber (kick fail), 3:04.
MCW - Faber 12 run (Baker pass from Faber), 9:44.
MCW - Baker 85 pass Faber (Fuller kick), 7:11.
BLHS - Kyle Kubesh pass Jake Pettit (kick fail), 0:43.
MCW - Baker 8 pass Faber (Fuller kick), 8:03.
BLHS - Brandon Malo 1 run (Johannes Bosse), 3:55.
Rushing: BLHS 24-47; MCW 35-207. Passing: BLHS 17-35-164-0; MCW 8-15-259-2. Penalties: BLHS 8-70; MCW 9-75.
Offense: Rushing: Thor Larson (MCW) 12-86; Jake Faber 9-58; Sam Baker (MCW) 7-34; Tate Lange (BLHS) 15-26. Passing: Jake Faber (MCW) 8-15-2-259; Jake Pettit (BLHS) 17-35-0-164. Receiving: Baker (MCW) 3-109; Lange (BLHS) 3-59; Tyler Schulte (BLHS) 4-56; Wesley Cook (MCW) 3-53.
Defense: Interceptions: Schulte (BLHS) and Sam Nelson (BLHS).
Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman 48, Randolph 38 - Jared Green motored the Jaguars to a 48-38 Southern Confederacy Conference victory over the Rockets on Friday night in Randolph.
Green carried the ball 38 times for 342 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to making two catches for 13 yards to lead the Jaguar offense.
Josh Wolter ran 14 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns, while completing 4 of 7 passes for 68 yards.
C.J. Hodge added 29 yards on the ground on eight carries, with one touchdown for the Jaguars.
Josh Johanson made one catch for 25 yards, while Lucas Maday made one catch for 30 yards.
Ryan Shumski led the defensive effort with nine tackles and one sack, while Logan Pytleski added a sack for the Jaguars.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman (3-1) travels to Cleveland for a Southern Minnesota Confederacy Conference game at 7 p.m. next Friday.
GHEC/T 6 10 14 18 - 48
Randolph 8 12 6 12 - 38
Madelia 30, Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton 14 - The Blackhawks snagged four interceptions and recovered two fumbles in the second half to down the Bulldogs 30-14 in nonconference action on Friday in Madelia.
Jake Denn grabbed two of the Blackhawk interceptions in the second half, returning one 50 yards for a touchdown to punctuate the victory in the fourth quarter.
Jack Bergeman ran for a pair of touchdowns, scoring one on a 13-yard run in the third before running five yards for the score in the fourth.
Landon Martinez scored the first Blackhawk touchdown on a three-yard run in the first quarter.
Riley Benzel grabbed the other two Blackhawk interceptions, while Zack Baumgartner made two sacks and recovered a fumble.
Kyle Schultz ran 18 times for 137 yards to lead the Blackhawks' ground game.
Madelia (2-2) plays Alden-Conger in a Southern Minnesota Confederacy Conference game at 7 p.m. next Friday in Alden.
Hull Western Christian 36, North Union 7 - The Wolfpack used a balanced offensive attack of 187 rushing and 155 yards passing to defeat the Warriors 36-7 on Friday in Armstrong.
Trent Pedersen scored the lone Warrior touchdown in the fourth quarter off a 6-yard run, with Jonas Hoffman drilling the PAT kick for seven North Union points.
Aric Runge completed 8 of 16 passes for 74 yards for North Union, throwing to Braden Ortman three times for 35 yards.
Cody Runksmeier carried the ball 13 times for 29 yards for the Warriors, while Marshall Klingenberg added 19 yards on three carries.
Runksmeier led the defense with eight solo tackles, whle Chase Paulsen added six for the Warriors.
North Union (0-4) travels to play LeMars Gehlen Catholic in a 7 p.m. game next Friday.
HWC 15 14 7 0 - 36
NU 0 0 0 7 - 7
Blue Earth Area 39, New Ulm 7 - The Class 3A, No. 1-ranked Bucs amassed 419 total yards on offense to cruise by the Eagles 39-7 in South Central Conference football action on Friday in Blue Earth.
Quarterback Luke Schavey completed 7 of 10 passing attempts for 124 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to running eight times for 156 yards for two more touchdowns to pace the Bucs' potent offense.
Schavey scored on runs of 59 and 70 yards in the first and second quarters, respectively.
Running back Gus Phillips added six carries for 54 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
David Franta caught four passes for 74 yards, including a 29-yard strike from Schavey for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Bailey Olson scored on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Schavey, while compiling 50 yards receiving in the game.
Franta also added a rushing touchdown in the third quarter - a 2-yard score - to round out the Bucs' point production in the game.
Trevor Zierke grabbed an interception to ignite the Bucs' defense, which allowed the Eagles only 106 yards of offense, including 77 rushing yards.
Blue Earth Area (4-0, 1-0 SCC) plays host to Class 4A, No. 9-Ranked Waseca in a conference game at 7 p.m. next Friday night in Waseca.
NU 0 7 0 0 - 7
BEA 14 19 6 0 - 39