Bombers fall to Cougars in section championship
Waubun 8 Ada-Borup 17
Everything was going according to plan for the No. 3 Waubun Bombers inside the Fargodome Thursday, as they tried to capture their first berth in the state nine-man football championship since 2007.
The Bombers had the tail of the No. 1 seeded Ada-Borup team for much of the first half, as they controlled possession and racked up yards, thus keeping the potent offense of the Cougars off the field.
But with all those yards came zero points, as the Bombers’ long drives stalled each and every time in the first two quarters, while the Cougars awoke in the second half to win 17-8 and take the Section 6 championship.
“We just couldn’t punch it in,” said Waubun head coach Paul Clark. “In the first half, we had them on the ropes, then they got that long pass.”
That long pass was the first half’s lone scoring play, as senior running back Lance Ruebke took a J.D. Kappes pass 80 yards for paydirt to give the Cougars (9-2) a 7-0 halftime lead, thus putting Waubun in a hole they didn’t want to be in to begin the second half.
The Bombers’ defensive effort stonewalled the Cougars’ rushing attack to negative six yards, but Waubun couldn’t take advantage of its 10 first downs, which led to three drives of 10 plays or more.
“The game plan was to pound and pound and pound them, but for whatever reason, we were not into it today and I’ll take responsibility for that,” Clark said. “We just didn’t have that mentality we usually have today.”
Waubun had drives stall at Ada-Borup’s 19, 14 and 35 yard lines. The second series snapped 10 plays, but faltered after a holding call put Waubun into four and 14, where junior Ryan Weber gained only eight yards.
“Those penalties hurt and forced us into second and third and longs, that’s just not us,” Clark added.
The second half swayed fully to the Cougars’ side, as they were able to rush for 127 yards to help pace their two final scoring drives.
With Waubun’s offense not being a quick strike one, the Cougars felt more comfortable after senior Blake Fetting plowed in from the Bomber six yard line for a 14-0 lead at the 9:38 mark in the third quarter.
“We were not executing in the first half and I have to give props to our defensive line and linebackers in the first half to stop their offense and not get pushed back from their offensive line,” Fetting said. “Once we scored our second touchdown in the third quarter, we felt good, because they hold the ball for six-minute drives and don’t pass it much.”
To add insurance, Fetting also kicked a 30-yard field goal at the 11:56 mark of the fourth quarter to up the Cougar margin to three possessions.
Waubun was able to crack the goose egg with a 10-play drive after Fetting’s field goal, as junior quarterback Jordan Spaeth ran a one-yard TD dive, which was followed by a two-point pass to freshman Dayton Mackey, cutting the deficit to 17-8.
But the Cougars were able to run out the clock and post their sixth state berth, since their first one in 2001.
“After losing last year’s section championship by three points, it’s great to win it this year and get back to state,” Fetting said.
Fetting had a game-high 130 rushing yards on 21 carries, while Spaeth racked up 96 yards on 22 carries and Weber, 112 yards on 20 carries.
Kappes also threw for 160 yards after going 13-21 for the Cougars.
Ada-Borup will face Section 8 champion Kittson County Central (11-0) in the state quarterfinals Saturday at Bemidji State University, starting at 12 p.m.
The Bearcats defeated Win-E-Mac 28-21 Thursday inside the Fargodome.
Section 6-9 man championship: (1) Ada-Borup vs. (3) Waubun in Fargodome, Fargo, Thursday, Oct. 31
Waubun 0 0 0 8 – 8
Ada-Borup 0 7 7 3 – 17
AB–Ruebke 82 pass from Kappes (Fetting kick)
AB–Fetting 6 run (Fetting kick)
AB–Fetting 30 field goal
W–Spaeth 4 run (Makey pass from Spaeth)
RUSHING: W, Spaeth 22-96, Weber 20-112, Teiken 6-24, Manypenny 3-8, Erickson 2-8, Makey 1-8. AB, Fetting 21-130, Kappes 2-(-16), Purrington 5-12, Wilkens 3-13, Ruebke 2-6
PASSING: W, Spaeth 3-10-0–12. AB, Kappes 13-21-0–160, Fetting 1-2-0–11
RECEIVING: W, Thompson 1-(-2), Weber 1-7, Teiken 1-7. AB, Ruebke 5-85, Hover 2-15, Fetting 3-10, Wilkens 2-27, Merkens 2-34