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Mavericks defuse Chargers in Homecoming game, 34-16

STOPPED IN HIS TRACKS — Martin County West’s Max Olson (65) and Carver Rohman (7) combine to halt Minnesota Valley Lutheran back Ben Price’s progress during district football action Saturday night in Sherburn. The Mavericks’ Kain Sanders (left) and Christian Bachenberg look on. (Photo by Greg Abel)

SHERBURN — Martin County West tight end Tanner Sinn proved to be in the right place at the right time during Saturday night’s Homecoming football game.

Sinn prevented a potential momentum-shifting interception near midfield by grabbing a careening tipped pass for a 14-yard gain with 8:52 remaining in regulation of the hometown Mavericks’ Southwest District clash with Minnesota Valley Lutheran.

Three snaps later, running back Joseph Forsberg capped his three-touchdown performance with a tackle-breaking 47-yard sprint to the end zone to seal the Mavericks’ 34-16 triumph over the visiting Chargers.

“It’s always nice to pick up a win, especially over a quality 2A team like MVL, who never quit and just kept coming at us to the very end,” said MCW head coach Tom Elliott, whose program improved to 3-0 overall. “MVL had gained some momentum near the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter after recovering back-to-back fumbles, so that makes Tanner’s catch even more important.

“An interception at that point really could have made this a much closer game than 18 points.”

Facing a second-and-8 situation from his own 27, MCW quarterback Christian Bachenberg fired a sideline pass to split end Zach Anderson. MVL defensive back Luke Thompson and Anderson went vertical simultaneously, with the football ricocheting off their hands and seemed to stay airborne for several seconds at the Mavericks’ 41.

“I saw the ball get tipped and the coaches always tell us to rally to the ball and that’s what I did and made the catch,” said Sinn, who also capped MCW’s victory by garnering a 15-yarder from Bachenberg to convert a fourth-and-7 that allowed the final seconds of regulation to evaporate.

“Zach claims he was making a basketball chest pass to me on the play,” Sinn added with a laugh.

Forsberg, who amassed a game-best 156 yards on 23 totes, then put the victory in the books by accelerating through a hole created by offensive lineman Max Olson, broke three tackles and sped by the MVL secondary for a clutch 47-yard scoring run. Forsberg added the 2-point conversion run with 7:06 left in regulation.

Forsberg delivered a pivotal 25-yard gain during MCW’s initial seven-play, 44-yard scoring drive before plowing across the goal line from 2 yards out before tacking on the 2-point conversion run for an 8-0 lead at 7:03 in the first frame.

Forsberg then displayed his defensive prowess during the early stages of the second quarter. After Cody Potts alertly downed Anderson’s 46-yard punt to pin the Chargers at their own 2, Sinn and Olson applied the defensive rush from the trenches to force Luke Thompson to loft a throw near the far sideline. Forsberg fielded the errant pass at the 5 and found the end zone on a pick-6 for a 14-0 lead with 10:42 left in the second segment.

Carver Rohman’s 26-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter put MCW’s offense in business at the MVL 49. Forsberg generated 21 yards during the drive before Bachenberg threaded a perfect spiral to Jesse Potts on a 35-yard seam route for a TD and a 20-point lead at the 7:39 juncture.

Rohman delivered another special-teams gem by tearing loose the football from the Chargers’ kickoff returner at the 15 and transformed the fumble recovery into six points to extend the Mavericks’ margin to 26-0 only 11 seconds later.

MVL’s Luke Thompson, however, was not about to throw in the proverbial towel as the senior quarterback completed a 48-yard missile to receiver Kyler Flunker to gain the Mavericks’ 23. Thompson later capped the drive with a 5-yard keeper up the middle before lofting a 2-point conversion pass to Will Kaesermann.

MVL lineman Landen Merseth then recovered back-to-back MCW fumbles, with the second occurring at the home team’s 22. Luke Thompson then lofted a sideline timing pass to Josh Giefer on the first snap for a score. Thompson’s ensuing 2-point run whittled the Chargers’ gap to 26-16 with 10:10 left in the fourth frame.

Olson, Sinn & defensive company held MVL to only 45 rushing yards and 101 more yards through the air, while Forsberg, Bachenberg and the Maverick offense doubled that total yardage with 292 overall — 203 on the ground and 89 more passing.

Martin County West (3-0) travels to Adrian/Ellsworth on Friday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff, while MVL (1-2) plays host to Wabasso in an 8 p.m. game Friday night in New Ulm.

MVL 0 0 8 8 — 16

MCW 8 6 12 8 — 34

SCORING PLAYS

1st Quarter

MCW–Joseph Forsberg 2 run (Forsberg run), 7:03.

2nd Quarter

MCW–Forsberg 5 interception return (pass failed), 10:42.

3rd Quarter

MCW–Jesse Potts 35 pass from Christian Bachenberg (run failed), 7:39.

MCW–Carver Rohman 15 fumble return (pass failed), 7:28.

MVL–Luke Thompson 5 run (Will Kaesermann pass from L. Thompson), 2:57.

4th Quarter

MVL–Josh Giefer 22 pass from L. Thompson (L. Thompson run), 10:10.

MCW–Forsberg 47 run (Forsberg run), 7:06.

TEAM STATISTICS

First downs: MCW 14; MVL 6. Rushing: MCW 37-203; MVL 29-45. Passing: MVL 6-13-1-101; MCW 6-13-0-89. Fumbles-lost: MCW 3-3; MVL 2-1. Penalties: MCW 4-30; MVL none.

INDIVIDUAL STATS

Offense: Rushing: Forsberg (MCW) 23-156, Rohman (MCW) 8-40; Ben Price (MVL) 11-25, Cole Thompson (MVL) 6-25. Passing: L. Thompson (MVL) 6-12-1-101, C. Thompson 0-1-0-0; Bachenberg (MCW) 6-13-0-89. Receiving: Tanner Sinn (MCW) 3-38, J. Potts (MCW) 1-35; Kyler Flunker (MVL) 2-48, Giefer (MVL) 2-28.

Defense: Interception: Forsberg (MCW). Fumble recoveries: Landen Merseth (MVL) 2, Kaesermann (MVL), Rohman (MCW).

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