Tigers outlast Cubs on windy, rainy night
By Jay Davis
First rain and high winds ruined the homecoming parade, then the Tigers ruined homecoming game as Mobridge-Pollock defeated Chamberlain 20-8 in Chamberlain on Friday.
“Right off the bat we knew it was going to be a fight,” said coach Nathan Lamb. “With the conditions we didn’t know how much scoring there was going to be.”
The teams battled back and forth through the muck for most of the first half until Chamberlain muffed a punt attempt with three minutes left in the second quarter.
The Tigers took advantage and the lead when Mason Keller dropped back and hit Jason Hill on a 50-yard bomb for the game’s first touchdown with 1:08 left in the half.
Chamberlain pulled off a surprise onside kick to start the second half. The successful ruse set the stage for the Cubs to have field position until tying the game at 6-6 on a 10-yard touchdown run by Chris Schwartz.
Chamberlain took an 8-6 lead late in the third quarter. Hunter Hallock set the points up with a punt that was downed at the Tiger five-yard line. Two plays later, Tyson Fleury broke through the line and tackled Keller in the end zone for a safety.
The Tigers answered and retook the lead when Keller scored on an eight-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers looked to be in trouble again after Hallock placed a punt at the five-yard line for the second time.
This time Keller would not be caught behind the line. On the Tigers’ first play, Keller spun away from one tackle, broke three more and then took off down the right sideline for a 95-yard touchdown run that sealed the win.
“Mason had a clutch game,” said Lamb. “His athleticism is getting better every game. He’s making plays and doing his job.”
A bend-but-not-break defense played a huge role in the Tigers’ winning their second straight game.
“They (Chamberlain) would get to about the 35-yard line and we would stiffen up,” said Lamb. “It did make for some bad field position.”
Lamb said that the Tigers’ ability to focus on one play at a time was key in a game where the rains and high winds turned the playing field into a 100-yard mud hole that had Tiger runners slipping and sliding as they tried to make cuts and take advantage of holes created by the offensive line.
“We played well all four quarters,” said Lamb. “We just kept playing and trying to win every down.”
While success through the air was limited, the Tigers used patience and finally found the holes and the ground that would accept their cleats to rush for 186 yards on 27 carries. Keller finished with 143 yards. Conner Stoick added 36 yards.
Chamberlain answered with 176 yards rushing, but it took the Cubs 57 carries to amass that yardage. The Tigers averaged nearly seven yards per rush, while the Cubs averaged just three yards per carry.
Brett Lang had a huge game for the Tiger defense with 13.5 tackles. Chase Schoenhard and Lucas Ulmer had 6.5 tackles each. Jordan Feist had six tackles, while Noah Chase had 5.5 tackles and recovered a Chamberlain fumble.
Hunter Knippling led Chamberlain with five tackles. Schwartz picked off three Keller passes.
With back-to-back wins under their belts, the Tigers hit the road on Friday to take on the Winner Warriors in Winner. The second-ranked Warriors are fresh off a 30-13 win over third-ranked St. Thomas More. The game was played Tuesday evening after the weekend storm delayed the game.
“We saw where we were when we were playing teams tough for a while,” said Lamb. “Then we had a bad start against Roncalli, but played a strong second half. If we can come out like we did in the second half against Roncalli, well then we will see where we are now.”
Winner holds a commanding 24-10 lead in the all-time series. The two teams started playing back in 1964 and have been playing every year since 2005. The teams are 2-2 in the last four games, but since the Tigers beat the Warriors 31-14 in the state semifinals in 2010, Winner has won by scores of 42-3 and 51-0.
Game time is 7 p.m. in Winner.
Mobridge-Pollock (2-3) 0 6 0 14- 20
Chamberlain (1-4) 0 0 8 0- 8
MP- Jason Hill 50 pass from Mason Keller (kick failed)
C- Chris Schwartz 10 run (conversion failed)
C- Safety, Tyson Fleury tackled Keller in end zone
MP- Keller 8 run (conversion good)
MP- Keller 95 run (kick failed)
Mobridge-Pollock: Rushing 27-186 (Keller 16-143, Conner Stoick 10-36, Jordan Feist 1-7); Passing (Keller 3-13-3-64); Receiving (Hill 1-50, Ethan Kettering 1-7, Stoick 1-7); 10 first downs; 3 turnovers. Defense: Brett Lang 13.5 tackles, Chase Schoenhard 6.5 tackles, Lucas Ulmer 6.5 tackles, Feist 6 tackles, Noah Chase 5.5 tackles, David Jensen 5 tackles.
Chamberlain: Rushing 57-176 (Schwartz 26-85, Hunter Hallock 22-65, Dylan Dominiak 6-18, Jim Bob Ellsworth 3-8); Passing (Schwartz 0-2-0-0); 9 first downs; 1 turnover. Defense: Hunter Knippling 5 tackles, Dominiak 4.5 tackles, Fleury 4 tackles, Schwartz 2 tackles, 3 interceptions.