GRANADA - If there was a question as to whether Jared Green's ankle was healthy, the Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman running back's 276 yards of total offense on Tuesday night provided the answer.
Green amassed a game-best 210 rushing yards and one touchdown on 19 carries, while catching a pair of Josh Wolter passes for 66 yards and two more TDs to power the Jaguars' 62-24 trouncing of the Alden-Conger Knights during Nine-Man playoff football action in Granada.
No. 2-seeded GHEC/Truman (6-3) advances to play host to No. 3-seeded Madelia (7-2) in a Section 2 semifinal clash at 4 p.m. Saturday in Granada. The Blackhawks reached the next round via a 45-0 shutout over No. 6-seeded West Lutheran.
SEA OF PURPLE & BLACK — Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman defensive end Logan Pytleski sacks Alden-Conger quarterback Brady Neel (12) as Jaguar teammates Jared Wander (left), Ryan Shumski (second from right) and Zayne Engel (82) pursue during Section 2, Nine-Man football quarterfinal action Tuesday night in Granada. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
No. 7-seeded Alden-Conger ended its season with an 0-9 record.
"It definitely looked like his (Green's) ankle was a heckuva lot better than it's been the last two weeks," said Jaguar head coach Lee Dallager. "We really hadn't run it much before, but we tried our spread offense tonight and it really opened up a lot of holes out there."
Ironically, Green sat out the second half of a lightning-delayed regular-season game against Alden-Conger on Oct. 5 due to an injury, but Tuesday night, he exited after the initial series of the third quarter.
"We (coaching staff) had talked at halftime, and after he got face-masked on that run, we decided he had seen enough time on the field," said Dallager.
While Green piled up rushing yardage, GHEC/Truman quarterback Josh Wolter piled up TDs from the beginning of the playoff game until the end of three quarters. Wolter generated four TDs and 92 yards on a dozen carries, while completing 3 of 8 passes for 79 yards and two more scores.
After Green chewed up 23 and 15 yards of real estate to march the Jaguars inside the Knights' red zone during the home team's second possession, Josh Wolter sprinted around right end for 14-yard score to cap the seven play, 59-yard drive. Josh Wolter's 2-point conversion run staked GHEC/Truman to an 8-0 lead with 5:56 left in the first quarter.
Alden-Conger quarterback Brady Neel, who completed 8 of 20 passes for 156 yards, utilized the airwaves to quickly counter on the scoreboard.
Neel zipped a 34-yard seam strike to Dillan Lein, a 25-yarder to Wyatt Ladwig and a 9-yarder to Eli Hallman to reach the Jaguars' 2. Neel plowed his way across the goal line on a keeper before running back Matt Erickson wheeled around left end for the 2-point conversion to knot the game at 8-all with 3:15 left in the first frame.
Unfortunately for the Knights, the Jaguars reeled off 48 unanswered points to send the postseason contest into running time by the start of the fourth quarter.
Green caught a 35-yard screen pass from Josh Wolter to trigger the GHEC/Truman scoring avalanche with 1:52 remaining in the opening quarter.
Jaguar defensive end Logan Pytleski delivered a quarterback sack on the ensuing series to force a Knights' punt before Green's double-digit runs set up Josh Wolter's 11-yard TD via a bootleg left scamper.
Green then displayed his defensive prowess by scooping up an Alden-Conger fumble on the next series before hauling in a 31-yard scoring spiral from Josh Wolter only three snaps later. Lucas Maday caught a 2-point conversion pass from Josh Wolter to extend the GHEC/Truman edge to 28-8 with 7:03 left before halftime.
Pytleski then produced six points by recovering Maday's block of an Alden-Conger punt in the end zone for a TD before Green ran for two more points exactly 2 minutes later.
Green then churned out 50 yards on two totes with time winding down in the opening half before crossing the goal line from 1 yard out with 1 second remaining before intermission. Pytleski kicked the PAT for a 43-8 lead at halftime.
Josh Wolter broke a string of tackles en route to a 48-yard scoring sprint to open the third quarter before defensive tackle Jared Wander's fumble recovery set up Wolter's 1-yard keeper for six more points. Pytleski's PAT kick made it 56-8 with 6:24 left in the third quarter.
Travis Kroon added a 47-yard rushing TD for the Jaguars in the fourth frame, while Erickson reached the end zone on runs of 20 and 3 yards, respectively, for the Knights.
A-C 8 0 0 16 - 24
GHECT 14 29 13 6 - 62
GT - Josh Wolter 14 run (Wolter run), 5:56.
AC - Brady Neel 2 run (Matt Erickson run), 3:15.
GT - Jared Green 35 pass from Wolter (kick failed), 1:52.
GT - Wolter 11 run (run failed), 9:03.
GT - Green 31 pass from Wolter (Lucas Maday pass from Wolter), 7:03.
GT - Logan Pytleski fumble recovery (Green run), 5:03.
GT - Green 1 run (Pytleski kick), 0:01.
GT - Wolter 48 run (run failed), 9:10.
GT - Wolter 1 run (Pytleski kick), 6:24.
AC - Erickson 20 run (Erickson run), 10:36.
GT - Travis Kroon 47 run (run failed), 8:39.
AC - Erickson 3 run (Erickson run), 5:01.
First downs: GHECT 16; AC 11. Rushing: GHECT 44-386; AC 36-87. Passing: GHECT 3-10-0-79; AC 8-20-0-156. Fumbles-lost: GHECT 3-0; AC 5-3. Penalties: GHECT 4-42; AC 7-64.
Offense: Rushing: Green (GHECT) 19-210, Josh Wolter (GHECT) 12-92; Erickson (AC) 14-69. Passing: Wolter (GHECT) 3-8-0-79; Brady Neel (AC) 8-20-0-156. Receiving: Green (GHECT) 2-66, Josh Johanson (GHECT) 1-13; Eli Hallman (AC) 3-32.
Defense: Fumble recoveries: Green (GHECT), Pytleski (GHECT), Jared Wander (GHECT).
Madelia 45, West Lutheran 0 - The No. 3-seeded Blackhawks blanked the No. 6-seeded Warriors 45-0 in Section 2, Nine-Man playoff football quarterfinal action on Tuesday night in Madelia.
Madelia (7-2) advances to face the No. 2-seeded Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman Jaguars at 4 p.m. Saturday in Granada.
West Lutheran finishes its season with a record of 4-4.
Sophomore quarterback Kyle Schultz scored three rushing touchdowns and added two more through the air to help pace the Blackhawks in the win.
Schultz threw a 14-yard completion to Jack Denn for a score, before connecting with Jack Bergeman for touchdown passes of eight and one yard.
Schultz then raced into the end zone for scores of one and 14 yards.
Landon Martinez added a 13-yard run for a touchdown in the second half for the Blackhawks, while Derrick VanHee ran 19 times for 131 yards in the game.
Denn added eight tackles and had one fumble recovery on defense.
Jack Kortuem added five tackles, including two sacks and had one fumble recovery for the Blackhawks.