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Scooper fullback Talon Elshere gains some tough yards against Huron at Woodle Field.
Photo by Tim Potts
Scooper fullback Talon Elshere gains some tough yards against Huron at Woodle Field.

Scoopers Surge Late, Fall to Huron Tigers


Terry Anderson, KBHB Radio Sports - October 29, 2020

STURGIS, S.D. – Dropped passes, defensive pressure and a tipped pass were the difference as the Huron Tigers built a 20-0 lead, then survived two late Scooper touchdowns to outlast Sturgis, 20-14 in a first-round playoff matchup at Woodle Field.

Both teams traded possessions early in the first quarter but neither could get the ball past midfield. Sturgis quarterback Owen Cass was on target with his throws throughout the first quarter, but the Scooper receivers could not secure the football. Scooper fullback Wren Jacobs broke off a 19-yard run up the middle to start a six-play drive that moved the ball to the Tiger 37-yard line. The Huron defense held Sturgis on the next three plays and the Scoopers faced a fourth and eight on the Tiger 37. Cass was sacked on the next play and Huron took over on their own 43-yard line.

Tiger quarterback Cade McNeil saw his big tight end, Derick Siemonsma, open down the middle on the next play and lofted the ball downfield but defensive back Kaden Phillips closed quickly and broke up the play, attempting to knock the ball to the turf. Huron wide receiver Juan Urena plucked the pass out of the air and sprinted to the end zone, completing a 57-yard touchdown for the Tigers. The extra point was blocked and Huron led 6-0 at the end of the first.

The Scoopers opened up the second quarter with an eight-play drive that featured the Cass to Phillips connection through the air. Phillips had two catches of 13 and 27-yards to move the ball to the Tiger three yard line. The Huron defense came up big again, with Ryan Janes picking off a Cass pass in the end zone to stop the drive. Huron took over on their own 20-yard line midway through the second quarter. Neither team moved the ball effectively on the next four drives and Huron led 6-0 at the half.

Cass was under pressure by the Huron defense and Sturgis stalled on their first drive of the second half. Huron then put together an 11-play, 65-yard drive, converting two third downs and a fourth and inches to advance the ball to the Scooper five yard line. Tiger running back Tyson Lien completed the drive with a five-yard touchdown plunge with 5:18 left in the third quarter to extend the Huron lead. The two-point conversion was good on a pass from McNeil to Max Kranzler to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead.

A Huron fumble late in the third gave the ball to the Scoopers at their own 44-yard line. The Sturgis coaches opened up the playbook as Jacobs took a pitch from Cass, then handed off to Phillips who was reversing from his left slot position. Phillips launched the ball downfield for a 37-yard completion to senior tight end Sanden Graham to the Huron 7-yard line. The Scooper offensive line could not stop the Huron defensive penetration and Cass was sacked three plays later for a 10-yard loss to the Tiger 17 as the quarter ended.

Sturgis faced a fourth and goal as the fourth quarter began. Graham ran a fade route to the right corner of the end zone and Cass lofted his pass into double coverage by the Huron defense. Graham secured the catch but was out of bounds and Huron took over on their own 17-yard line.

The Scoopers and the Tigers both went three-and-out on their next drives. Huron took over on their own 21 with six minutes left in the game following a Scooper punt. Three plays later, Lien got loose for his longest gain of the night, a 42-yard scamper down the right sideline to the Scooper 23-yard line. The Tiger coaches pulled out their own trickery, calling a quarterback throwback from McNeil to Dylan Lichty, back to McNeil for a 23-yard Huron touchdown with 3:58 left in the game. The kick was no good and Huron led 20-0 with time running out on the Scoopers.

The Sturgis offense finally came to life on the next drive, as Cass found Phillips with a 38-yard strike to the end zone for a Scooper touchdown. Brodie Eisenbraun drilled the extra point through the uprights and Sturgis cut the Huron lead to 20-7 with 3:11 left.

The Sturgis onside kick was unsuccessful and Huron attempted to run out the clock on their next series but the Sturgis defense wouldn’t allow the Tigers to advance the ball. Running back Jayden Beck took a six-yard loss on fourth down and nine and Sturgis took over on their own 41-yard line. After three straight incompletions, Cass found Konner Berndt on the left side for a 37-yard catch, steamrolling defensive back McNeil in the process, to move the ball to the Huron three. Two plays later, Phillps ran around the right side to punch the ball into the end zone from two yards out for a Scooper touchdown. Eisenbraun’s kick was good and Sturgis found themselves within a touchdown, 20-14, with :21 seconds left to play. Eisenbraun’s attempted onside kick was recovered by the Tigers and they took a knee on the next play to end the game.

The Scoopers finished the night with 248 total yards of offense. Sturgis had 23 carries for 33 yards and was 15 of 32 passing for 215 yards. Jacobs had nine carries for 30 yards and Talon Elshere had five carries for 25 yards. Owen Cass was 14 of 31 passing for 178 yards and a touchdown. Phillips had four catches for 83 yards, with Graham adding three catches for 62 yards. The Scoopers had one interception and three penalties for 20 yards.

Huron had 281 yards of total offense, behind 17 of 19 passing for 241 yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers had 22 carries for 40 yards, with Lien gaining 60 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. McNeil had 16 completions on 18 attempts for 218 yards and one touchdown. Huron had two fumbles and seven penalties for 60 yards.

The Scoopers end their season at 5-5. Huron improves to 5-5 and travels to Brookings on Nov. 6 to meet the Bobcats in the playoff semifinals.



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