Three long Parker Nelson touchdown runs were enough for third-ranked Sioux Falls Christian to trip the Tigers 36-7 at Tiger Stadium on Friday.
Mobridge-Pollock coach Dan Merkel said that as good as the Chargers are, the Tigers held up well, take away the big scoring plays.
“They run the ball well,” said Merkel. “That’s what they do.”
Despite Nelson ripping off touchdown runs of 51 and 83 yards on the Chargers’ first and third possessions, the Tigers stayed right on the ball game. Mobridge-Pollock made it 16-7 late in the first quarter when Caden Halsey hit Michael Davis for a 65-yard touchdown bomb.
The defenses took turns stopping the opposing offenses in the second quarter. The only scoring came when Charger Jack Reinsech tackled Nathan Bauer in the end zone for a safety.
“To be down 18-7 at the half, there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Merkel. “We probably played some of the best defense we’ve ever played in the second quarter.
The Tigers shut the Chargers out in the second quarter despite spending much of the time defending their own half of the field. They drove to the Tiger five-yard line on the first possession before Bauer forced a fumble and Davis recovered it (the safety came on the next play). On the Charger’s next possession, they drove inside the 20 before the Tigers forced a turnover on downs, and on their last drive, they made it to the Tiger 18 before Bauer ended the half by sacking quarterback Jacob Just.
All three possessions started in Tiger territory, mostly because the Tiger offense could not get any momentum built against the strong Charger defense. Mobridge-Pollock recorded just one first down in the first half.
“We couldn’t run the ball,” said Merkel.
Including a sack, the Tigers had -17 yards rushing in the first half. They finished the game with 28 yards rushing.
Tiger turnovers helped Sioux Falls Christian put the game away in the third quarter. Just and Mitchell Goodbary each picked off passes and returned them to the Tiger 10-yard line. Each resulted in a touchdown. In between, Nelson got loose again, this time sprinting 63 yards to the end zone.
Merkel said the passing game had an up-and-down night.
“We made the hard plays, but missed on some easier ones,” said Merkel. “We missed some chances in the air.”
Halsey threw for 115 yards, hitting five different receivers.
After having explosive play after explosive play in the opener in Redfield, the Tigers had just two against Sioux Falls Christian. Along with Davis’ 65-yard touchdown, Reece Cerney made a leaping catch for 29 yards.
Nelson finished the game with 273 yards on 21 carries. The Chargers ran for 351 yards on 49 carries.
Getting back to Merkel’s point that the Tigers played well on defense, take away three touchdowns and 197 yards, the rest of the game the Chargers had 154 yards on 46 carries for an average of just 3.3 yards per carry.
Merkel said a pair of defensive linemen, Isaac Olson and Carson Keller, were a big part of the defensive effort.
“Isaac and Carson proved they can play defense against anybody,” said Merkel.
Jason Gerry led the defense with eight tackles, Keller and Olson had seven and six, respectively. Davis and Dakota Weleba came up with five tackles each.
The Tigers have their bye week on Friday. Merkel said the team will use the time off get healthier and get better.
“We’re going to take it easy,” said Merkel. “Plus, we’re putting some things in on offense.”
Along with the rest and time for preparation, the Tigers can get completely healthy for their face-off against Aberdeen Roncalli at Tiger Stadium on Sept. 8.
Sioux Falls Christian (2-0) 16 2 18 0 36
Mobridge-Pollock (1-1) 7 0 0 0 – 7
SFC- Parker Nelson 51 run (Mitchell Goodbary pass from Jacob Just) 10:10
SFC- Nelson 83 run (Tyler Van Horssen run) 1:12
MP- Michael Davis 65 pass from Caden Halsey (Tom Zott kick) :52
SFC- Safety, Jack Reinsech tackle in end zone 8:41
SFC- Just 2 run (conversion failed) 10:10
SFC- Nelson 63 run (conversion failed) 5:21
SFC- Dawson Mulder 6 run (kick blocked) 2:18
Sioux Falls Christian: Rushing 49-351 (Nelson 21-273, Carter DeJong 3-35, Mulder 5-23, Just 9-23, Van Horssen 3-13, Easton Prins 1-(-1), Sam Osterloo 1-(1-0), Talon Horan 1-(-8), Andrew Van Niewenhuyzen 5-(-8); Passing: Just (2-4-0-31); Receiving (Goodbary 1-18, Van Horssen 1-13); 11 first downs; 1 turnover; penalties 2-10. Defense: Joel DeHaai 2 sacks, Goodbary interception, Just interception.
Mobridge-Pollock: Rushing 24-28 (Nathan Bauer 9-15, Isaac Olson 4-15, Parker Blom 2-7, Noah Feyereisen 4-6, Gavin Reinert 1-6, Keene Schlomer 1-1, Halsey 3-(-12); Passing 9-17-2-119 (Halsey 8-16-2-115, Cayden Eisemann 1-2-0-4); Receiving (Davis 1-65, Reece Cerney 2-34, Blom 3-16, Braxton Albers 1-9, Braden Goehring 1-4, Bauer 1-(1-3); 6 first downs; 2 turnovers; 0 penalties. Defense: Jason Gerry 8 tackles, Carson Keller 7 tackles, Isaac Olson 6 tackles, sack, Davis 5 tackles, fumble recovery, Dakota Weleba 5 tackles, Tom Zott 4 tackles, Kregen Norder 4 tackles, Bauer sack.