Prep football: Cromwell-Wright advances in Nine-Man
The Cromwell-Wright defense waited until their backs were against the wall, but held Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal to preserve a 14-7 win in a Nine-Man state tournament quarterfinal Friday night at Chet Anderson Stadium in Bemidji, Minn.
The Cardinals were backed up at their own 7-yard line, but forced the Titans into a fourth-and-2 situation with a little over a minute to play in the third quarter. The Cromwell-Wright defensive line blew up the Titans on the snap, forcing a fumble and taking over on downs and preserving a seven-point lead.
"It was great timing," Cardinals coach Jeff Gronner said. "A perfect example of bend, don't break defense."
Cromwell-Wright (12-0) appeared to be stopped at its own 21-yard line a few plays later, but Gronner decided to go for it, with the offensive line opening up a hole for backup quarterback Isaac Shelton to pick up the first down and keep the clock moving.
"I just wanted to keep it going," Gronner said. "Our offense was moving the ball and put together a time-consuming drive."
Senior Cameron Cahoon had a 6-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the second half to give the Cardinals the 14-7 lead, after a half where the Titans mostly held the Cardinals in check. Cahoon finished with 76 yards and the score, while Kannon Korpela had 82 yards on 19 carries, mostly in the second half.
"We were a lot more physical in the second half," Gronner said. "At halftime, I really challenged our guys, I challenged our backs and our offensive line and they really came out and played more physical."
Cromwell-Wright will face Spring Grove in a Nine-Man semifinal at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The Lions defeated Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 27-6 Friday to advance.
On the opening drive, NCE/UE drove the ball nearly 90 yards, mostly on the back of a 70-yard Noah Klemetson run to set the Titans up with first and goal. Tate Hoseth ran it in a couple plays later to give the Titans a 7-0 lead, but after that the Cardinals defense was able to bottle up the Titans run game.
NCE/UE — Tate Hoseth 1 run (NCE/UE kick)
CW — Isaac Shelton 2 run (run failed)
CW — Cameron Cahoon 2 run (Cahoon run)