Bombers rush ahead to section championship game
There are only two No. 6 seeds that will be playing in a section championship game in all six classes of the Minnesota football playoffs -- and one of them is the Waubun Bombers.
After upsetting No. 3 Nevis in the Section 6, 9-man quarterfinals, the Bombers continued their upset streak with a 28-20 win over No. 2 Norman County East Friday.
The Bombers literally rode the shoulders of running back Adam Ladue, who rushed for 254 yards on 41 carries, three of them for touchdowns.
Waubun passed on just two plays, completing one of them, while they racked up 455 total rushing yards.
"We were able to take over the game early by rushing it behind our offensive line, which did a fabulous job," said Waubun head coach Jason McCloskey. "Adam was steadily getting six to seven yards per carry and almost all of them came in between the tackles.
"(NCE) still stacked the box and knew what was coming and we still were able to run the ball."
The offensive line of John Brower, Ryan Frye, Matt Haverkamp, fullback Tanner Voss and tight end Marlin Farley blasted holes in the NCE defensive line for Ladue, who had touchdown runs of four, seven and the eventual game-winning score from one yard out.
The Bombers ate up the turf in the first half to build a 20-0 lead late in the second quarter, but the Eagles converted a crucial drive right before halftime, keyed by a Jacob Liebl 50-yard run to cut the deficit to 20-6.
In the second half, Waubun gave a bit more momentum to the Eagles with a fumble, in which NCE converted into six points, capped on an Anthony Sather six-yard rush.
The Eagles tied the game with their 20th unanswered point on a screenplay to Corey Pemberton from quarterback Matt Anderson, which went for 67 yards.
The Bombers continually missed grand opportunities to put the game away in the second half, failing to score any points after driving to inside the NCE one-yard line.
But Waubun remained resilient with its potent rushing attack, as Ladue helped drive the field and score from one yard out.
"When you're inside the 20 four times, you need to score," McCloskey said. "You have to stay focused and when you get a lead, you have to seal the deal."
QB James Ritterman hit Farley for the two-point conversion pass for the 28-20 lead.
Meanwhile, sans the big plays NCE made, the Waubun defense held the Eagles in check for the most part.
The Eagles had 135 yards rushing and 140 through the air.
The Bombers now will have a stiff and rigid test Friday inside the Alerus Center against undefeated and top-seeded Ada-Borup.
The first meeting between the two teams earlier this season was all Cougars in a 51-0 thumping.
"Our goal at the start of the season was to get back to the section finals (where Waubun lost to Ada-Borup last year)," McCloskey said. "It's a good feeling to get back because we as coaches were not wrong about how talented this team is.
"We've earned our way back to the section finals."
Waubun was hindered in its 51-0 loss after losing three of their offensive linemen to injury.
"Against a very talented front like Ada-Borup, those injuries really hurt us," McCloskey said. "I think it would have been a different story if we had those guys (all three are back playing), I just don't know how much of a difference."
With the Bombers being a heavy underdog against the Cougars, McCloskey said his team has the mindset of going in thinking they have a chance.
"The players are buying into what we have and they feel they have a chance," the Waubun coach included. "They want to prove that last loss to Ada-Borup wasn't what Waubun football is all about. They want to prove they deserve to be there."
Section 6, 9-man football semifinals, Saturday, Oct. 31: (6) Waubun at (2) Norman County East.
Bombers 6 14 0 8 - 28
Eagles 0 6 14 0 - 20
Waub: John DeGroat 3-yard run; kick failed.
Waub: Adam Ladue 4-yard run; kick failed.
Waub: Ladue 7-yard run; kick failed.
NCE: Jacob Liebl 50-yard run; run failed.
NCE: Anthony Sather 6-yard run; pass failed.
NCE: Matt Anderson 67-yard pass to Corey Pemberton; Anderson pass to Pemberton.
Waub: Ladue 1-yard run; James Ritterman pass to Marlin Farley.
Waubun rushing (att-yds): Adam Ladue 41-254; Kellen McArthur 12-95; John DeGroat 15-106.
Waubun passing (att-comp-yds-int-td): Ritterman 2-1-10-0-0.
Waubun receiving (rec-yds-td): K. McArthur 1-10-0.