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No. 10 Wabasso runs over MCW in 3A clash; Jaguars fall in 9-Man quarterfinal

ON THE MOVE — Martin County West’s Joseph Forsberg (left), shown intercepting a Maple River pass before returning it for a touchdown during regular-season action, topped the Mavericks’ offense during Tuesday night’s Section 3A quarterfinal loss to No. 10-ranked Wabasso in Wabasso. (Photo by Greg Abel/Sentinel Archives)

WABASSO — The Class A No. 10-ranked Wabasso Rabbits’ three-pronged backfield attack proved too lethal for the short-handed Martin County West Mavericks during Tuesday night’s Section 3A football quarterfinals.

Tailback Nick Marotzke amassed 126 rushing yards and two touchdowns, quarterback Carter Benz threw for 120 yards and one score to complement one rushing TD, while fullback/linebacker Hunter Taylor ran for one score and returned a fumble for six more points to propel the No. 2-seeded Rabbits to a 48-0 playoff win over the No. 7-seeded Mavericks in Wabasso.

Wabasso (6-1) advances to play host to No. 3-seeded Springfield in the sectional semifinals at 3 p.m. Saturday in Wabasso. The Tigers gained the next round by defeating No. 6-seeded Sleepy Eye Public, 41-22.

Martin County West ended its coronavirus-condensed season at 0-5.

“We thought we might get Jaxson (Rohman) back for our playoff game tonight, but we just didn’t want to risk possibly doing more damage to his (rehabbed) injury,” said Mavericks head coach Tom Elliott. “Then we found out earlier that we’d be playing without Connor Simmonds due to a COVID situation, so those two factors put us in a tough situation.”

Wabasso lived up to its billing as the No. 10 team in the Class A state poll by converting its first six touches into 41 unanswered points before halftime.

After Marotzke and the Rabbit defense forced a Maverick punt on the heels of MCW running back Joseph Forsberg running for a first down during the game-opening series, Benz needed only one snap to thread a 54-yard scoring spiral to Colby Wall for a quick 6-0 lead with 7:47 left in the first quarter.

After another MCW three-and-out sequence, Benz and Marotzke each delivered 23-yard gallops before Taylor pounded out the final yard up the middle. Benz then fired a 2-point conversion pass to Matt Evink for a 14-0 edge.

Taylor later jarred the football loose from MCW quarterback Blake Jagodzinske on a sack before scooping up the loose football and returning it 8 yards for his second TD of the game. Evink kicked the PAT for a 21-0 lead with 2:29 left in the opening frame.

After yet another MCW punt, Benz ended the first quarter by lofting a 42-yard missile to Will Carlson to reach the Mavericks’ 19. Marotzke scampered 9 yards up the middle to cap the three-play, 61-yard scoring march for a 27-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Marotzke later covered 39 of the Rabbits’ ensuing 56-yard drive on three totes before Benz opted for a 17-yard keeper for a TD. Evink’s kick extended Wabasso’s lead to 34-0.

Taylor needed only two carries to grind out 36 yards during Wabasso’s next possession before Wyatt Soupir crossed the goal line from 11 yards out. Evink’s PAT made it 41-0 with 4 minutes left before intermission.

Marotzke closed out the playoff game’s TDs with 8:54 left in regulation, finding the end zone on a 12-yard sprint around left end. Evink’s kick widened the gap to 48-0 with 8:54 to go.

Forsberg topped MCW with 40 yards on 23 carries, while Christian Bachenberg supplied 23 yards on four totes.

MC West 0 0 0 0 — 0

Wabasso 21 20 0 7 — 48

SCORING PLAYS

1st Quarter

WAB–Colby Wall 54 pass from Carter Benz (kick failed), 7:47.

WAB–Hunter Taylor 1 run (Matt Evink kick), 3:26.

WAB–Taylor 8 fumble return (Evink kick), 2:29.

2nd Quarter

WAB–Nick Marotzke 9 run (conversion failed), 11:24.

WAB–Benz 17 run (Evink kick), 7:40.

WAB–Wyatt Soupir 11 run (Evink kick), 4:00.

4th Quarter

WAB–Marotzke 12 run (Evink kick), 8:54.

Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda 20, Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman 12 — The Coyotes scored 20 unanswered points to overcome an early Jaguar lead during the Section 3, 9-Man quarterfinals Tuesday in Heron Lake.

The No. 6-seeded Jaguars jumped ahead in the first quarter when Owen Wolter completed a pass to Ethan Weisbrod for a 29-yard touchdown, then extended the lead to 12-0 when Wolter connected with Matt Heckman for a 2-yard score in the second quarter.

The Coyotes came out of halftime strong, scoring twice in the third quarter and getting a 2-point conversion on the first touchdown to go ahead 14-12, then scored again in the fourth to create the final score.

Wolter completed 11 of 29 passes for 111 yards and two TDs to complement 94 rushing yards, while Hunter Grathwohl had nine carries for 39 yards.

Weisbrod made two catches for 61 yards, including the opening touchdown for the Jaguars.

Kaden Moon led the Jaguars with 8.5 tackles, including six solo tackles, while Cael Jaskulke had 7.5 stops and Mat Heckman had seven tackles.

Caleb Benes added four tackles and a sack to the Jags’ defensive effort.

The Jaguars end their season with a record of 1-4.

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