JACKSON - The Class AA, No. 7-ranked Jackson County Central Huskies built an 18-point halftime lead to help fuel a 51-12 postseason football victory over the Martin County West Mavericks on Saturday in Jackson.
Top-seeded Jackson County Central (9-1) advances to face No. 2-seeded Maple River (9-1) in the Section 3AA championship game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mattke Field on the Southwest Minnesota State University campus in Marshall. The Eagles reached the sectional finals via a 21-0 victory over No. 3-seeded Luverne.
No. 4-seeded Martin County West, the runner-up in the Southern Minnesota Conference, ended its season with an 8-2 record.
STIFF-ARMED — Martin County West running back Tanner Lange (2) stiff-arms Jackson County Central defender Keegan Moore during Section 3AA semifinal football action Saturday in Jackson. Maverick offensive lineman Alex Saxen (left) prepares to head up the field. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
After a scoreless opening quarter, the Huskies reached the end zone via Luke Norland's 5-yard run during the first play of the second segment. Marek Bingel kicked the first of his six PATs on the game to stake JCC to a 7-0 lead.
The Huskies then converted back-to-back interceptions into points, with Shadrach Wacker's pick leading to the first of fullback Paden Moore's two TDs on the day from 3 yards out. Bingel's kick doubled the margin to 14-0 at the 8:51 juncture.
Mitchell Macek then delivered another interception for JCC, with Wacker capping the short-distance drive with an 8-yard run. Bingel's kick made it 21-0 with 6:46 left before halftime.
Quarterback Jake Faber answered for the Mavericks, connecting on a 30-yard scoring strike to Sam Baker with 3:17 remaining in the second quarter. Paden Moore blocked the PAT kick to keep the score at 21-6.
Bingel connected on a 29-yard field goal with 45 seconds remaining in the first half for a 24-6 lead.
Ryan Salzwedel found the end zone on a 30-yard reverse before Keegan Moore delivered the first of his two rushing TDs - from 4 yards out. Bingel kicked both PATs to extend the Huskies' lead to 38-6 with 5:02 left in the third.
Tanner Lange countered for MCW by breaking tackles to score on a 4-yard run to reduce the visitors' deficit to 38-12 with 1:54 to go in the third.
JCC siblings Keegan Moore and Paden Moore scored from 11 and 2 yards out, respectively, during the final frame to close out the sectional semifinal.
No individual statistics were provided by either team.
MCW 0 6 6 0 - 12
JCC 0 24 14 13 - 51
JCC - Luke Norland 5 run (Marek Bingel kick), 11:54.
JCC - Paden Moore 3 run (Bingel kick), 8:51.
JCC - Shadrach Wacker 8 run (Bingel kick), 6:46.
MCW - Sam Baker 30 pass from Jake Faber (kick failed), 3:17.
JCC - Bingel 29 FG, 0:45.
JCC - Ryan Salzwedel 30 run (Bingel kick), 8:23.
JCC - Keegan Moore 4 run (Bingel kick), 5:02.
MCW - Tanner Lange 4 run (run failed), 1:54.
JCC - Keegan Moore 11 run (Bingel kick), 11:50.
JCC - Paden Moore 2 run (kick failed), 10:27.
North Union 24, Okoboji 14 - Running back Cody Runksmeier erupted for a game-leading 201 yards and three touchdowns to power the Warriors to a 24-14 victory over the Pioneers during Iowa Class 1A, District 1 football action Friday night in Okoboji, Iowa.
After Jonas Hoffman kicked a 36-yard field goal to stake North Union to a 3-0 lead in the opening quarter, Runksmeier sprinted 73 yards to paydirt and Hoffman added the PAT kick during second-quarter action.
Runksmeier then added a 5-yard touchdown run to help the Warriors grab a 17-7 edge going into the lockerroom at halftime.
Runksmeier later crossed the goal line on another 5-yard run and Hoffman kicked his third PAT of the game during the fourth frame to cap the 10-point district triumph.
Quarterback Aric Runge completed 4 of 10 passes for 37 yards, while running back Jacob Braddock fired a 31-yard completion to Braden Ortman.
Kaleb Olson made two catches for 8 yards for North Union, Braddock snared a pass for 23 yards, while Runksmeier added a 6-yard reception.
Eythan Blair and Jacob Govern each recorded 10 tackles to top the Warriors' defensive effort, while Olson and Jeff Brickner contributed eight tackles each.
Trent Pedersen and Ortman each garnered interceptions to round out North Union's performance.
North Union closed out its season with a 2-7 record.