Star News » Sports http://erstarnews.com The Star News covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for Elk River, Otsego, Rogers and Zimmerman, Minnesota and their surrounding areas. Sun, 26 Oct 2014 04:19:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Football: Elks fend off Rogers 42-34 in section semifinal, face STMA for title http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/football-elks-fend-off-rogers-42-34-in-section-semifinal-face-stma-for-title/ http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/football-elks-fend-off-rogers-42-34-in-section-semifinal-face-stma-for-title/#comments Sun, 26 Oct 2014 04:19:05 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=778238 Zach Ernst (23) races 72 yards for a touchdown, trailed by teammate Nolan Dwyer and Rogers' Isaiah Fofanah (27). Ernst would finished with 296 yards and 3 scores. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Zach Ernst (23) races 72 yards for a touchdown, trailed by teammate Nolan Dwyer and Rogers’ Isaiah Fofanah (27). Ernst would finished with 296 yards and 3 scores. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

In a duel dominated by a pair of prolific running backs, it was a defensive stop against a two-point conversion that tipped the scales to Elk River for a 42-34 win over Rogers on Saturday.

Rogers pulled within 35-34 with 1:58 left on Gunnar Bloom’s one-yard run. Coach Marc Franz and the Royals passed up the kick and went for the win.

The Elks stuffed a sweep around left end by Adam Heyer, with Sam Gibas making the first hit and Nate Collins moving in to help bring him down.

Sam Gibas (15, bottom) and Nate Collins (30) bring down Rogers' Adam Heyer on a two-point conversion with 1:58 left, protecting the Elks' 35-34 lead. Zac Syverson (54) also pushes forward. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Sam Gibas (15, bottom) and Nate Collins (30) bring down Rogers’ Adam Heyer on a two-point conversion with 1:58 left, protecting the Elks’ 35-34 lead. Zac Syverson (54) also pushes forward. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

“We were watching No. 25, always,” said Collins, referring to Bloom, who rushed for 277 yards and three touchdowns. “(But) we were not fooled. There was a little fake, and I saw the guard pull out and I knew it was going outside … We read the play right and my boy Gibas got to him first, and I got there and finished him off.”

While almost everyone figured Bloom would get the ball, Rogers has several good playmakers, including Heyer, who’s scored seven touchdowns, and hoped for the element of surprise as well.

“The consensus was we felt that was what we could do,” said Franz. “They (Elks) had guys at the point of attack. Give them credit.”

Gunnar Bloom (25) eludes Nolan Dwyer and races 72 yards for the Royals first touchdown. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Gunnar Bloom (25) eludes Nolan Dwyer and races 72 yards for the Royals first touchdown. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Rogers tried an onside kick, which Gibas covered at the 48.

One play later, Zach Ernst bolted 52 yards for a touchdown. That capped a 296-yard performance by Ernst, including earlier 72- and nine-yard scores and another gallop of 69 yards.

But it wasn’t over. That gave Rogers, down by eight, another 1:40 to try tie the score. Franz was asked if he told the Royals to let the Elks score, rather than try run out the clock. After all, this could turn out to be a smart move.

“Others have asked me that, too,” he said, with a sad chuckle. “No. I’m not that smart. But as he broke in into the clear, I’m thinking, ‘You know, this isn’t all bad.’ But it was not by intent.”

So Andy Borchardt and the Royals cranked up their high-octane offense once more time.

But Elk cornerback JJ Haywood settled the issue by intercepting a Borchardt pass, intended for 6-foot-8 end Cole Murray, and the Elks ran out the clock.

“Coaches told me to watch 87 (Murray) because when he’s in the game they’ll probably go to him,” said Haywood, who made a diving catch. “The ball was thrown a little short and I was able to get to it.”

The No. 2 seeded Elks (7-2) will meet No. 1 St. Michael-Albertville (8-1) in the Section 6AAAAA championship on Friday, 7 p.m., on the Knights’ field.

Rogers ballcarrier Blayne Kasper was squashed on this play by an Elk delegation including JT Elliott (68), Jalon Nielson (65), Zac Syverson (54), Devel Miller and Peter Jones (44).

Rogers ballcarrier Blayne Kasper was squashed on this play by an Elk delegation including JT Elliott (68), Jalon Nielson (65), Zac Syverson (54), Devel Miller and Peter Jones (44).

“What a great win for the kids. I’m so proud of them,” said Steve Hamilton, Elk coach. “This is a great group and so much fun to coach. Probably the closest team I’ve ever had. The line was awesome today. We were definitely healthier than we’ve been for quite a while and that helped.”

Hamilton repeated that term when asked about Bloom, who galloped 72 and 80 yards for earlier touchdowns, and had eight of his 54 career TDs against the Elks, five last year in a 52-14 semifinal win.

“Gunnar Bloom is an awesome player. I told him that,” said Hamilton. He’s also very respectful and plays the game the right way.”
Ernst, meanwhile, boosted his season totals to 1,639 yards and 19 touchdowns.

“Our line did a great job again,” said Ernst, citing Ben Allen in particular for some pancake blocks that launched his long runs, and Devell Miller throwing key blocks out of the backfield.

The Elks rumbled for 471 ground yards behind the O-line of Allen, Kyle Jung, Connor Bryan, Allen, Jalon Nielson, Zac Syverson and Nolan Dwyer, which benefited from the week off that the Elks earned for the No. 2 seed. There had some time to heal up aches and pains which resulted in the unit getting fatigued in the second half of games late in the season.

Ben Gibas gains 24 yards on a run in the first quarter.

Ben Gibas gains 24 yards on a run in the first quarter.

Gibas scored the Elks first two touchdowns on runs of one and six yards, and totaled 81 yards in 14 carries, besides making the crucial tackle on the conversion run. Trent Pink, Elk quarterback, had a 12-yard score and rushed for 80 yards in 14 totes, and hit Dwyer for a two-pointer.

The Elks had a 3-0 turnover edge with Jacob Buhl, Alex Hills and Haywood intercepting passes in the second half against Borchardt, who had thrown only two interceptions the first nine games.

“It was windy today, and the ball was probably held up in the air more than usual,” said Hamilton, about those interceptions.

The Royals sprang two touchdown passes, with Heyer, on a halfback pass, hitting Lendl for a 15-yard score, and Borchardt, rushed hard on a 3rd-and-10 play, dumping the ball to Blayne Kasper, who rambled 45 yards for a touchdown.

The Royals trailed 35-21 early in the fourth but put together two TD drives sandwiched around a three-and-out by their defense.

“We were digging ourselves out of a hole the whole game,” said Franz, “and I thought we had a chance at the end there, but give them credit, they stepped up and made plays when they needed to. They are a good football team. I think they got a chance to go a long way.”

Andy Borchard, rushed hard by the Elks, flips the ball to Blayne Kasper (background), who took it 45 yards for a touchdown that pulled the Royals within 35-28.

Andy Borchard, rushed hard by the Elks, flips the ball to Blayne Kasper (background), who took it 45 yards for a touchdown that pulled the Royals within 35-28.

The Elks led by two touchdowns twice but could not shake off the Royals.

“Rogers is a great football team,” said Hamilton, “and you have to fight to the end to beat them.”

Rogers finished 7-2, and despite an outstanding season did not win either a conference or section title for the first time in seven years.

 
Elk River 42, Rogers 34

Rogers ……… 7    7     7   13 — 42
Elk River ….. 14   7  14   7 — 34

ER—Sam Gibas 1 run (Austin Solors kick)
ER—Gibas 6 run (Solors kick)
Rog—Gunnar Bloom 72 run (Justin Bohnsack kick)
ER—Trent Pink 12 run (Solors kick)
Rog—Lance Lendl 15 pass from Adam Heyer (Bohnsack kick)
ER—Zach Ernst 72 run (run failed)
Rog—Bloom 80 run (Bohnsack kick)
ER—Ernst 9 run (Nolan Dwyer pass from Pink)
Rog—Blayne Kasper 45 pass from Andy Borchardt (Bohnsack kick)
Rog—Bloom 1 run (run failed)
ER—Ernst 52 run (Solors kick)

Elk River statistics

Rushing —Pink 14-80, Ernst 20-296, Gibas 14-79, Ziemer 1-3, Miller 1-1, Jones 1-4, Collins 2-8
Passing — Pink 0-1-0-0
Interceptions—Jacob Buhl, Alec Hills, JJ Haywood
Sack—Jalon Nielson
Penalties — 4 for 20 yards

Rogers statistics

Rushing — Bloom 25-277, Kasper 10-38, Borchardt 1-(-7), Fofanah 2-15, Heyer 2-5
Passing — Borchardt 4-9-73-3, Heyer 1-1-15-0
Receiving — Bloom 1-8, Kasper 1-8, Lendl 1-15, Kasper 1-45, Murray 1-12
Penalties — 2 for 25 yards

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Football: Orono thumps Zimmerman 43-7 in semifinals http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/football-orono-thumps-zimmerman-43-7-in-semifinals/ http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/football-orono-thumps-zimmerman-43-7-in-semifinals/#comments Sun, 26 Oct 2014 00:24:29 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=778233 The Orono Spartans took a quick 22-0 lead on Zimmerman and went on to defeat the Thunder 43-7 in the Section 5AAAA semifinals on Saturday in Orono.

The Thunder, finishing 7-3, were unable to slow down the Spartans, who feature both a 1,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher.

“Our guys showed a lot of character and continued to battle,” said Tom Kish, Zimmerman coach. “Orono is very good team.  We had trouble keeping up with their team speed and physicality.”

David McCuskey provided two big plays for Orono (7-2) in the first quarter, a 48-yard touchdown run, and a 67-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Quarterback Hank Seward fired touchdown passes to Will Perry (42 yards) and Blake Lieschow (61 yards) and also ran for a five-yard score.

Zimmerman got on the board with Matt Dorso hitting Taylor McEachern for a 55-yard score in the fourth quarter, king the score 36-7.

Orono made two interceptions against Dorso in the first half, returning the other one to the five-yard line. The Spartans also sacked him three times and held Zimmerman to minus six net yards rushing.

Rogers won seven winnable games this year, and had lopsided losses to talented Becker, Albany and Orono teams.

“I’m real proud of how our team played this season,” said Kish. “Our seniors provided excellent leadership for a very young team that surpassed expectations. With all of the young players we return, next season looks very promising.”

 

Orono 43, Zimmerman 7

Zimmerman ……. 0 0 0 7 — 7
Orono ………… 22 14 0 7 — 43

Oro—David McCuskey 48 run (Kalvin Danielson kick)
Oro—Hank Seward 5 run (Danielson kick)
Oro—McCuskey 67 interception return (McCuskey run)
Oro—Will Perry 42 pass from Seward (Leischow run)
Oro—Blake Leischow 61 pass from Seward (Danielson kick)
Zim—Taylor McEachern 55 pass from Matt Dorso (Thunder Heyer kick)
Oro—Garrett Savoie 11 pass from Michael Andrew (Danielson kick)

Zimmerman statistics

Rushing — Austin May 7-17, Haydon Miller 4-16, Ben Schnellman 2-(-3), Andrew Nixon 7-(-11), Dorso 3-(-25)

Passing — Dorso 7-18-116-1

Receiving — McEachern 3-79, Tristan Pettit 2-28, Chase Rosby 1-4, Miller 1-5

Tackle leaders — Taylor Snow 6, Mack Riley 6, May 6, Alex Riley 6, Damie Vangstad 5, Isaac Fordahl 5

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Tennis: Elks’ Brown wins two of four matches at state singles http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/tennis-elks-brown-wins-two-of-four-matches-at-state-singles/ http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/tennis-elks-brown-wins-two-of-four-matches-at-state-singles/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 18:07:20 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=778229 Elk River freshman Meagan Brown lost in the first round of the state singles tennis tournament, then bounced back with two wins in the consolation bracket before losing in the consolation finals.

Brown (27-3), the Section 7AA champion, lost to St. Cloud Tech’s Taylor Tarrolly 6-3, 6-3. Tarroly lost in the next round to eventual state champion Caitlyn Merzbacher of Edina.

Brown defeated Rochester Mayo’s Jessica Marmorstein 6-4, 6-4, and Mahtomedi’s Olivia Paradise 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10). She lost the final match to Mounds View’s Alexandra Koplecki 6-3, 6-3.

This was Brown’s second state singles appearance. She was 1-1 last year.

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Athlete of the week: Zac Syverson, Elk River, football: Dogfights http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/athlete-of-the-week-zac-syverson-elk-river-football-dogfights/ http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/athlete-of-the-week-zac-syverson-elk-river-football-dogfights/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:39:31 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=778194 by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor

Zac Syverson had to sit out most of the second half in Elk River’s 17-10 upset loss at Anoka two weeks ago when he pinched a nerve in his shoulder. His absence was glaring.

“We missed him dramatically,” stated coach Steve Hamilton about the senior tackle and defensive end who otherwise is always out there thrashing, a key player in the Elks’ 6-2 season.

“Zac has a huge role,” Hamilton said. “He goes both ways. We need him on just about every snap. We have been decimated at the tackle position, so he has to fight through it.”

Zac Syverson is a leader on both the offensive and defensive lines for the 6-2 Elks. (Photo by Kati Notaro)

Zac Syverson is a leader on both the offensive and defensive lines for the 6-2 Elks. (Photo by Kati Notaro)

As a sophomore, Syverson was a backup defensive end on the Elks’ 6-6, section champion team. As a junior, he started at defensive end and led in sacks (4 1/2) and tackles for loss (seven) on a 3-7 team.

This year, Syverson toils on both offense and defense along with extra-point blocking.

“He is a captain. He’s one of our most physical players,” Hamilton continued. “The other kids look up to him. He’s good at helping the players next to him.”

Playing both ways was a good deal easier the first four games, when three capable backups for the tackles were available, but those guys have all gotten hurt, so he’s had few breaks in the action the last four games.

“At times you get pretty tired,” Syverson admitted, “but other times, adrenaline takes over and I’m OK.”

The Elks offense is averaging 407 rushing yards and 37.5 points per game. Along with several highlight-reel long runs this year, the Elks can pound the ball downfield in chunks, too, and eat up the clock.

They thrive on misdirection plays, but the blocking schemes are pretty basic, Syverson said.

“It’s mostly ‘drive’ blocking. Everybody has his guy to block,” Syverson said. “Coach Hamilton calls it ‘dog-fighting’ because it’s all one-on-one.”

Syverson credits the backfield when the deception works and the fullback is in the clear before anyone knows he’s got the ball.

“It’s the backs,” he said, “carrying out their fakes and covering the ball.”

At defensive end, Syverson’s task, along with other D-Linemen, is to “make sure the (offensive) linemen can’t get past us to block the linebackers.” That’s why strong-armed linebackers Peter Jones and Nate Collins lead in tackles. Syverson himself is credited with 12 solo tackles, seven assists, four tackles-for-loss and two forced fumbles.

Away from football, Syverson enjoys building things, like deer stands and picnic tables, with his grandfather, who had a career in construction. He wants to major in construction engineering in college and hopes to land on a football team, too.

Syverson said his football highlights so far are helping the Elks win the section and play at state in 10th grade, and this year’s homecoming where they beat Park Center 42-32 before an overflow crowd. The veteran lineman and his Elk cohorts have a chance to add to that memory book today (Oct. 25) when they host their postseason arch rival Rogers at 3 p.m.

 

THE SYVERSON SCORECARD

syverson2Personal file — Age: 17 … Family: mom Tammy, step-dad Dave, dad Rand, brother Matt, 14 … Sport: football … Other activities: DECA, vice president … Academics: 3.2 GPA …. College plans: undecided where, construction management, maybe football

Favorite stuff — Class: math … TV shows: “Fast and Loud” and “Gold Rush” … Reading: Sports Illustrated and ESPN magazines … Food: bacon cheeseburger at North Woods Cafe … Team: Wild … Hobbies: golf, hunting, fishing, building things … Wants to visit: Europe

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Football: Elks vs. Royals always hard to pick and never dull http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/football-elks-vs-royals-always-hard-to-pick-and-never-dull/ http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/football-elks-vs-royals-always-hard-to-pick-and-never-dull/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:35:58 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=778192 by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

The outcome of Elk River vs. Rogers football always seems to be a surprise. The only solid prediction about Saturday’s duel in Elk River, 3 p.m., based on past results, is that it won’t be boring.

The Elks, 6-2 and seeded second in a Section 6AAAAA field with three top-five ranked teams, had a bye Tuesday, while No. 3 Rogers shredded Willmar 63-0.

The series is tied 2-2, counting a blowout by Rogers against an 0-9 Elk team in 2010.

In coach Steve Hamil-ton’s first year here, 2011, the Elks, much-improved but still underdogs, nipped Rogers on a last-second field goal 17-14, capitalizing on huge Royal mistakes, in a regular-season game.

In 2012, the sixth-seeded Elks tumbled No. 1 Rogers 53-42, with the Royals befuddled by the misdirection plays that launched junior Denis Bardashevskiy for 370 yards and five TDs. The Elks took section with three road wins.

Last year, Rogers, top-seeded again, were ready for Bardashevskiy this time, and crushed the No. 5 Elks 52-14, with their own marquee back, Gunnar Bloom, putting up the big stats, 231 yards and five TDs.

Bloom (51 career TDs, 24 this year) still spearheads the Royal offense, while the Elks have Zach Ernst (1,343 yards and 16 TDs), and quarterback Trent Pink with 15 rushing and four passing touchdowns.

Today’s duel marks the first time the Elks have held a higher seed and home field, but that’s no help in making a prediction. The Elks have played by far the tougher schedule, but Rogers is deeper and healthier. Both teams have vast offensive talent. The Elks have given up a lot of points, but again, facing tougher foes. One edge for Rogers: The Elks need more players both ways.

After beating Willmar, Rogers coach Marc Franz allowed himself to look ahead to Elk River.

“We are pretty familiar with each other, even though we are not in the same conference,” he said. “I expect the game to be extremely competitive. Every year it’s different personnel and things are tweaked, but they have the same base offense and we have the same base offense.

“The biggest concern is their power running game. All you have to do is look at the box scores in the paper to know that.”

Hamilton salutes the Royals as “very disciplined and well-coached,” adding, “They are tough, physical and talented.”

About home field, he said, “It’s nice to be at home, but it’s not like there are so many people making so much noise that the other team can’t hear their quarterback. Just look at the year we went to state. We did not win a single home game.”

The Elks, who’ve been moved around in recent years, have no conference arch rivals, like Rogers vs. STMA, so the annual playoff tilt with Rogers is their Army-Navy game.

“They are always fun games,” Hamilton said. Indeed, that’s become pretty much a guarantee.

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Volleyball: Elks fall to North Branch in three, season ends http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/volleyball-elks-fall-to-north-branch-in-three-season-ends/ http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/volleyball-elks-fall-to-north-branch-in-three-season-ends/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:33:49 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=778190 Elk River’s volleyball season ended with a quick 3-0 loss to North Branch, a team they beat early in the season, on Friday evening.

The No. 2 seeded Vikings rolled 25-14, 25-19, 25-17 over the No. 7 Elks in the Section 7AAA second round in North Branch.

The Vikings attack led by outside hitter Courtney Selbitschka and middle hitter Katy Trunk controlled he match. The Elks couldn’t get an offense going, with more hitting errors (25) than kills (17).

The Elks, who beat North Branch in four games at home on Aug. 28, finished with a 10-16 record and one playoff win (over Princeton).

Gina Honek made five kills for the Elks and Gabi Haack, Abi Scheid and Kennedy Strain had four each.

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Dollansky reflects on Stewart tragedy, perils of sprint car tour http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/dollansky-reflects-on-stewart-tragedy-perils-of-sprint-car-tour/ http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/25/dollansky-reflects-on-stewart-tragedy-perils-of-sprint-car-tour/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:32:28 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=778185 by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor

On a great day of racing for Craig Dollansky in August, tragic news clouded the occasion.

The veteran World of Outlaws sprint car racer from Zimmerman placed fourth among 105 teams at Knoxville Nationals, regarded as the Super Bowl of this sport, in Iowa.

But that was the same day Kevin Ward, 20, was killed when he got out of his car during a sprint car race to shout angrily at Tony Stewart, the NASCAR great, and was struck by Stewart’s car, in Canandaigua, New York.

Craig Dollansky ranks 10th all-time with 59 wins on the World of Outlaws tour.

Craig Dollansky ranks 10th all-time with 59 wins on the World of Outlaws tour.

“A Tony Stewart team won at Knoxville,” reflected Dollansky, somberly, at a Zimmerman restaurant on Monday. “That (accident) really put a damper on everything. The news spread pretty quick that night. Number one, everyone cared about Ward, and two, everybody in the sport knows Tony. It will take a long time to heal, if it ever heals.”

Dollansky is a friend of Stewart, who owns two teams on the Outlaws tour and enjoys taking the wheel himself when he has time.

“He is a really good person,” Dollansky said. Having raced “wheel to wheel” with him, Dollansky regards Stewart as “probably the best driver who every strapped in behind a wheel” in any level of racing.

Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart

The tragedy at Canandaigua cast the latest, and largest, shadow over the sport he loves.

“Unfortunate-ly, with sprint cars, when we make national news, it’s been negative,” said Dollansky. He acknowledged that sprint car racing is “probably the most dangerous sport there is” with about three deaths per year on average. He can recall “five to seven” of his own races where drivers have been killed.

“And then you have the situation with Tony, where a guy gets out of his car, like Ward did, which just adds to the potential for bad things to happen,” he said. “He was probably just worked up about whatever might have happened on the track, and Tony, he’s got a temper, like the rest of us do. But he sure didn’t mean to cause any harm to Ward.”

A grand jury deliberated on pressing charges against Stewart and opted not to, which Dollansky said was the right decision, because anyone who races assumes risk, and leaving the car compounded the risk. Visibility in sprint cars, he added, is hampered by equipment such as the side panel and the wings, and lighting is “not real good” on many tracks.

“At the end of the day, it was just a tragic event that affects Tony in a big way,” Dollansky said, “to have to live with the fact that you were involved, no matter how it happened, where someone lost his life … The only people who really know what happened are Tony and Kevin Ward, who is no longer with us.”

Dollansky, a 1984 Elk River graduate who played hockey, started racing as a career at 24, has been a World of Outlaws fixture since 2001. He ranks 10th in all-time wins with 59, including five this year.

Dollansky scaled back this year, racing 35 times, instead of his usual 80 to 90 races. He’ll resume racing in Arizona in early January, rather than Australia or New Zealand like he’s done for 12 years. His wife, Julie, accompanies him and sells merchandise from a trailer.

“We took a step back this year to spend more time at home,” said Dollansky, whose daughter, Peyton, 16, attends Zimmerman High and tags along on the tour in the summer. He has two sons, Garrett, 20, who raced at Knoxville the last two summers, and Lucas, 22.

Dollansky recently signed with Destiny Racing of North Dakota, after five years with Big Game Tree Stands.

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Football: High-scoring Elks, Royals in semifinal clash Saturday http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/24/football-high-scoring-elks-royals-in-semifinal-clash-saturday/ http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/24/football-high-scoring-elks-royals-in-semifinal-clash-saturday/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:29:58 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=778144 A pair of explosive offensive teams will be on display when the Elk River Elks host the Rogers Royals on Saturday in the Section 6AAAAA semifinals at 3 p.m.

The No. 2 seeded Elks (6-2) are scoring 37 points per game. The No. 3 seeded Royals (8-1) are averaging 46 per game. The outcome will likely be decided by which team’s defense steps up stronger.

The Elk feature back is senior Zach Ernst with 1, 343 yards and 16 touchdowns, while junior quarterback Trent Pink is also dangerous with 552 yards and 15 touchdowns. Also carrying the ball capably are Devell Miller (372 yards, three touchdowns), Kyle Ziemer (247 yards), Sam Gibas (169 yards), Nick Rice (149 yards), Nate Collins (107 yards) and Peter Jones (77 on just 11 carries).

The Elks have passed a bit more this year to take advantage of Pink’s big arm and very athletic senior tight end Nolan Dwyer. They’ve hooked up for four touchdowns.

Defensively, the Elks leading tacklers are Peter Jones with 52, Sam Gibas 51, Alec Hills 40 (and three interceptions) and Nate Collins 39.

For the Royals, senior Gunnar Bloom has rushed for 1,006 yards and 19 touchdowns. He had five of his 51 career touchdown last year when the Royals beat the Elks 52-14 in the semifinals. Blayne Kasper has rushed for 376yards and six touchdowns, and Cole Hyde has 313 yards and five scores.

Andy Borchardt, senior quarterback, has thrown for 1,016 yards and 11 touchdowns with just two intercepted. Adam Heyer has 19 catches for 312 yards and five touchdowns (while rushing for 226 and two TDs). Bloom has 18 catches for 325 yards and four TDs and Cole Murray 10 catches for 209 yards.

This will be the fifth time Rogers and Elk River have met, with each team winning two so far.

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Football: Zimmerman faces talented Orono backfield in semi’s http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/24/football-zimmerman-faces-talented-orono-backfield-in-semis/ http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/24/football-zimmerman-faces-talented-orono-backfield-in-semis/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:28:18 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=778142 The Zimmerman Thunder must slow down a pair of Orono offensive standouts to have a chance of upsetting the Spartans in their Section 5AAAA semifinal game.

The No. 3 seeded Thunder (7-2) face No. 2 Orono (6-2) in Orono on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Thunder beat No. 6 Mound-Westonka 14-7 on Tuesday while Orono had a bye.

Orono has a thousand-yard rusher in David McCuskey with 1,109 yards and seven touchdowns. The Spartan quarterback, Hank Seward, has thrown for 1,320 yards and 17 touchdowns, with just five interceptions, while rushing for 433 and four touchdowns. Blake Leischow has six touchdown catches and Ethan Larson four.

Defensive leaders include Jackson Striggow with 108 tackles and five forced fumbles, Cameron Paul with six sacks, and Leischow with four interceptions.

The Spartans are averaging 34 points in their six wins. Their losses came against Hutchinson 35-0 and Holy Family Catholic 28-21. Hutchinson is 8-0 and HFC is 6-2.

Top rushers for Zimmerman are Austin May with 726 yards and four touchdowns, and quarterback Matt Dorso with 332 yards and five touchdowns. Dorso has passed for 500 yards and five touchdowns, with five intercepted. Taylor McEachern has three TD catches and Andrew Nixon two. Sophomore Alex Riley has also seen action at quarterback.

Defensively, the Thunder have held the seven teams they’ve beaten to an average of eight points per game, while losing to Becker 44-16 and Albany 35-10. Leading tacklers are Taylor Snow and Alex Riley, while Trent Milless has four interceptions.

Becker, the top seed, hosts Delano in the other semifinal. The championship will be played Friday, 7 p.m., at high seed.

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Cross country: Spectrum girls 5th, boys 12th in 24-team section http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/24/cross-country-spectrum-girls-5th-boys-12th-in-24-team-section/ http://erstarnews.com/2014/10/24/cross-country-spectrum-girls-5th-boys-12th-in-24-team-section/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:50:49 +0000 http://erstarnews.com/?p=778129 The Spectrum cross country teams “showed great effort,” said coach Rick Peterson, at the Section 5A meet as the girls finished fifth and the boys 12th among 24 teams at Stone’s Throw Golf Club in Milaca.

Annandale was girls champion and Mora was boys champion.

Leading the Sting girls was freshman Elizabeth Hackbarth in 16th place with 16:16 followed by junior Noelle Diekman (20th, 16:24), senior Brittney Waterhouse (23rd, 16:33), junior Marissa Kuik (41st, 17:20), and sophomore Brenna Waterhouse (46th, 17:24).

The top boy runner for Spectrum was freshman Zack Anderson in 24th in 17:41 followed by freshman Nevin Sagstetter (44th, 18:28), freshman Ben Harvey (62nd, 19:04), eighth-grader Camden Sharp (71st, 19:19), and sophomore Joel Zimmerman (83rd, 19:45).

“Both our girls and boys gave it their best and a coach could not ask for more”, said Peterson. “Each of our runners improved since the Milaca Mega Meet that was held on the same course.  Our girls team remains among the top teams in the section and our boys are young with tremendous potential to become a top section team.  It was our strongest effort of the season as a team.”

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