Hawley football falls short in state semifinals
MINNEAPOLIS - Beating up the clock for three quarters paid off more than Luverne thought it was going to.
A potential touchdown pass fell incomplete for Hawley as time expired, and Hawley came up five yards short and ran out of time as the Cardinals held on for a physical 21-14 victory in the Class 2A semifinals at the Metrodome.
"I don't feel like we lost the game, I feel like we ran out of time," Hawley coach Peder Naatz said. "I feel like we came up six yards short, and six seconds short, too."
The Cardinals (12-1) held the ball for 24 minutes, 10 seconds of the first 36 minutes.
Hawley (12-1) trailed 21-0 early in the third, but got a
67-yard touchdown run and a 13-yard TD catch by Taylor Harms from Beau Sorenson to pull within a score.
A defensive stop led to a punt, giving the Nuggets the ball at their own 16 with 1:12 to play and no timeouts.
"I told them that all we needed was a first down, and the game was over," Luverne coach Todd Oye said. "That was the first time we've been stopped in that situation this year."
Sparked by two big catches for 40 yards by Andrew Ulven, Hawley got to the Luverne
5-yard line with three seconds to play.
After a false start penalty, Sorenson's pass went incomplete as the clock hit 0:00, and Hawley was sent to its fourth straight defeat in the Class 2A semifinals.
"You have to give them credit, because it went right to the end," Oye said. "I'm so glad we got those first two scores on them."
While the Cardinals' first touchdown came on a 53-yard pass from Ryan Hoff to Zach Olson on their third play from scrimmage, the second TD drive was impressive in a different way.
A 2-yard plunge by Phillip Paquette capped a 79-yard charge that took a staggering 7 minutes, 54 seconds off the clock. The Cardinals ran 20 plays in the drive.
The lead stretched to 21-0 when Brent Dinger snared a 6-yard TD pass from Hoff on a fourth-down play to cap Luverne's first drive of the second half.
"We just didn't start playing defense until after their second touchdown," Naatz said. "We gave up another score, but we really amped it up on defense."
Hawley had no such luck on offense.
The powerful running attack led by Kevin Olson and Nathan Mattson was held silent, as Hawley mustered just 22 rushing yards on 14 carries in the first half.
Olson finished with 139 yards on 18 carries - and had a
67-yard scoring run in the third for Hawley's first TD. A whopping 133 of his yards came in the second half.
Sorenson finished 14 of 24 for 193 yards through the air, and Harms had seven catches for 95 yards.
Luverne will be playing in its third straight Class 2A title game, but a title has eluded them during that string.
The Cardinals lost to Triton in 2006, and Caledonia last year.
The Cardinals have a rematch with Caledonia in this year's championship on Nov. 28.
Luverne 7 7 7 0-21
Hawley 0 0 7 7-14
L-Olson 53 pass from Hoff (BG Xaisongkham kick)
L-Paquette 2 run (BG Xaisongkham kick)
L-Dinger 6 pass from Hoff (BG Xaisongkham kick)
H-Olson 67 run (Arens kick)
H-Harms 13 pass from Sorenson (Arens kick)
RUSHING: L, Paquette 29-92, Fodness 12-32, Olson 2-12, Hoff 4-(minus 6). H, Olson 18-139, Mattson 6-11, Pritchard 2-6, Sorenson 6-(minus 9).
PASSING: L, Hoff 10-18-1 116 yards. H, Sorenson 14-24-0 193.
RECEIVING: L, Olson 4-75, Clark 2-16, Paquette 2-10, Stoffel 1-9, Dinger 1-6. H, Harms 7-95, Guida 4-40, Ulven 2-40, Pritchard 1-2, Mattson 0-16.