SHERBURN - The No. 3-seeded Martin County West Mavericks' football team led from beginning to end in its 31-14 Section 3A quarterfinal victory over the No. 6-seeded United South Central Rebels on Tuesday night in Sherburn.
The Mavericks (5-4) advance to play the Class A, No. 10-ranked St. Clair Cyclones (7-2) at 3 p.m. Saturday in St. Clair in the sectional semifinals.
The No. 2-seeded Cyclones advanced with a 41-0 victory over the No. 7-seeded Southwestern United (2-7).
EVASIVE MANEUVER — Martin County West quarterback Austin Krumwiede (right) scrambles away from United South Central defensive lineman Dakota Kalis during Section 3A quarterfinal football playoff action Tuesday night in Sherburn. Photo by Leanna Becker
The Rebels finished their season with an overall record of 2-7.
After the Mavericks compiled a 19-0 lead through 32 minutes and 10 seconds, the Rebels responded with touchdowns at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter to make it 19-14 with less than 10 minutes to play.
Martin County West senior Trevor Schultz then took the Rebel kickoff 52 yards, giving the Mavericks great field position at the Rebels' 25.
"I thought that the kick return by one of our seniors (Schultz) was huge. He almost ran that return back and that was a big play for us right after they scored to get the momentum back in our favor," said Martin County West head coach T.J. Schmidtke.
Mavericks' quarterback Austin Krumwiede then plowed through the line for 12 of his 104 rushing yards on a third-and-one, putting the Mavericks on the 4.
Mitch Sitzmann did the rest, scoring his second touchdown of the night on a quick cut to the outside to make it 25-14 with 7:02 left.
The Rebels gained possession with less than seven minutes to play, but a strong defensive effort by the Mavericks held USC to just one yard and got the ball back with 5:30 left in the game.
"We are a very athletic team, but sometimes we play too passively. In the fourth quarter, we were playing hard and physical, and if we'd play like that all the time, we'd be hard to beat," said Schmidtke. "We have to keep getting better, but tonight we did a good job."
Krumwiede was stopped for a one-yard loss on the first play of the next drive, but Sitzmann managed to sneak through the chaos on second-and-10 to race for a 44-yard score with 4:42 remaining to make it 31-14.
A tipped pass that was intercepted by MCW's Thor Larson halted the Rebels' final drive and sealed the victory for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks' defense held the Rebels to just nine plays in their first three drives of the game, while MCW managed to hit pay-dirt on its second possession of the game.
With the ball on the MCW 43 on a second and nine, Krumwiede threw a 24-yard pass to Sitzmann to get the ball to the Rebel 23. On third and 12, Krumwiede again went to the air and tossed a lob through the defensive back's arms and into the hands of Brandon Poppe along the USC sideline for the 35-yard score to make it 6-0 with 5:35 left in the opening frame.
The Maverick defense forced the Rebels to punt on their ensuing possession, before MCW extended its lead on the following drive.
It was the Krumwiede-to-Sitzmann connection again, this time for a 16-yard pass to give the Mavericks the ball on the 4. Sitzmann then was able to finish off the 8-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to make it 12-0.
The Rebels then produced back-to-back possessions of 13 and 14 plays for 56 and 60 yards, giving them plenty of scoring opportunities. The Maverick defense held on to keep the shutout going into the half.
MCW's Brock Burmeister capped off a stellar defensive effort in the first half with a sack of USC's Trey Allis on the Mavericks' 21 with 16 seconds left to keep the Rebels off the board.
The Mavericks were unable to come out and score on their opening drive of the second half, however an interception by Poppe on the Rebels opening drive, gave the Mavericks the ball on the 12-yard line and looking to score.
Sitzmann carried the ball down to the nine, before Krumwiede punched it in for the nine-yard score to make it 19-0.
"It was really nice to come out in the second half and be able to run the ball," said Schmidtke. "Krumwiede does a really nice job of passing the ball, but it gives us an advantage to have a running back taking the snaps. With the lead it was nice to be able to just run the clock down with the ground game."
The Rebels responded with a 26-yard touchdown strike from Travis Brown to Cobi Bullerman to make it 19-6 with 3:49 left in the third quarter.
USC then added its second score off the first miscue from the Mavericks' defense. On fourth down, the MCW punt snap sailed over Alex Saxen's head and in an effort to save the play, he threw an interception to the Rebels' Colten Carlson.
That play helped give the Rebels field position on the Mavericks' 30. Brown connected with Bullerman on a 16-yard pass to help set up their 15-yard touchdown strike to make it 19-14 with 9:09 left in the game.
Krumwiede combined for 204 total yards of offense, including a 6 of 13 passing effort for 100 yards. Sitzmann carried for 17 times for a team-leading 130 yards and his two catches combined for 42 yards in the game.
USC's Allis was 8 of 17 passing for 66 yards, while Brown completed 7 of 14 passes for 81 yards, throwing two interceptions. Allis led the Rebel ground game, rushing 23 times for 78 yards. Bullerman's four catches in the game earned him a team-leading 6 yards, while teammate Colin Becher made five catches for 34 yards.
USC 0 0 6 8 - 14
MCW 12 0 7 12 - 31
MCW - Brandon Poppe 35 pass from Austin Krumwiede (kick fail), 5:35.
MCW - Mitch Sitzmann 4 run (pass fail), 2:11.
MCW - Krumwiede 9 run (Anders Fuller kick), 8:39.
USC - Cobi Bullerman 26 pass from Travis Brown (pass fail), 3:49.
USC - Bullerman 15 pass from Brown (Brown run), 9:09.
MCW - Sitzmann 4 run (kick fail), 7:02.
MCW - Sitzmann 44 run (kick fail), 4:42.
First Downs: USC: 16; MCW 16. Rushing: USC: 38-105; MCW 46-232. Passing: USC: 15-31-2-147; MCW: 6-14-1-100. Fumbles-lost: USC: 0-0; MCW 1-1. Penalties: USC: 4-30; MCW: 9-70.
Offense: Rushing: Mitch Sitzmann (MCW) 17-130; Austin Krumwiede (MCW) 20-104; Trey Allis (USC) 23-78. Passing: Austin Krumwiede (MCW) 6-13-0-100; Travis Brown (USC) 7-14-2-81; Trey Allis (USC) 8-17-0-66; Alex Saxen (MCW) 0-1-1-0. Receiving: Cobi Bullerman (USC) 4-67; Sitzmann (MCW) 2-42; Brandon Poppe (MCW) 1-35; Colin Becher (USC) 5-34.
Defense: Fumble Recovery: Ben Johnson (USC). Interceptions: Brandon Poppe (MCW); Colten Carlson (USC); Thor Larson (MCW).
Adrian 34, Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman 6 - The No. 1-seeded Dragons generated 299 yards of total offense, including 244 on the ground, to down the No. 8-seeded Jaguars, 34-6, during Section 3A quarterfinal playoff action Tuesday night in Adrian.
Adrian (7-2) advances to play host to No. 5-seeded Murray County Central at 3 p.m. Saturday in a sectional semifinal game in Adrian. Murray County Central edged No. 4-seeded Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, 46-41.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman ended its season with a 3-6 record.
Trailing 34-0 at halftime, the Jaguars denied the Dragons a shutout when DaMarko Thomas ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Thomas carried 13 times for 90 yards and a score, while teammate Jared Green rushed 10 times for 42 yards. Quarterback Chandler Greier passed for 55 yards, while Dylan Petrowiak made one reception for 30 yards.
Petrowiak and Jared Wander each topped the Jaguar defense by making eight tackles, while Thomas contributed six stops.
Nine-Man, Section 2
Madelia 42, Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton 34 - The No. 4-seeded Blackhawks edged the No. 5-seeded Bulldogs 42-34 in a 9-Man, Section 2 quarterfinal on Tuesday night in Madelia.
The Blackhawks (7-2) advance to face the 9-Man No. 6-ranked and No. 1-seeded Nicollet (9-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Nicollet in the sectional semifinals.
The Bulldogs finished their season with a 3-6 overall record.
The Raiders advanced with a 63-28 quarterfinal victory over Alden-Conger (0-9) on Tuesday night in Nicollet.
Madelia senior quarterback Adam Cooling combined for 239 yards of total offense and scored three touchdowns to help guide the Blackhawks to victory.
After the Blackhawks took a 22-14 lead at halftime, both teams traded scores in the third to make it 30-22 going into the final quarter.
The Bulldogs came back in the fourth, and with the clock winding down scored to make it 36-34. JWP attempted an onside kick to try and take the win, but the Blackhawks recovered and proceeded to march down field for the final score.
Jack Bergeman scored the final Madelia touchdown on an 11-yard run to seal the victory.
Cooling went 12 of 25 passing for 135 yards, and score touchdowns on runs of 13, 2 and 18 yards.
Jon Whitney was the recipient of two Cooling passes for touchdowns, connecting for scores of 15 and 6 yards for the Blackhawks.
The Bulldogs' quarterback Sawyer Gahler added to the air show, completing 15 of 30 passes for 309 yards. Gahler ran 22 times for 82 yards on the ground, scoring one touchdown on a one yard run.
Tyler Cowdin scored two touchdowns for the Bulldogs on passes of 15 and 33 yards.