Hornets move on to semifinals
What started out as a shootout, ended as a convincing statement that the Frazee football team is indeed in it for the long haul.
After exchanging touchdown after touchdown in the first half of the Section 8-2A quarterfinal game between No. 4 Frazee and No. 5 Warroad, the Hornets invoked their dominance in the wet trenches to outscore the Warriors 32-6 in the second half en route to a 58-28 win.
The two teams scored in bunches in the first two quarters of play, as Frazee held a 26-22 halftime advantage.
But two back-to-back turnovers by Warroad led to 13 points for the Hornets, as they used that momentum to snuff out any hope the Warriors may have had entering the third quarter.
"Those turnovers were game changers," said Frazee senior running back Bruce Lemon, who rushed for a game-high 175 yards on 26 carries. "After that, we just kept things off-balanced for (Warroad) and beat them up front."
The Hornets' first order of duty was to try and contain the conference's leading rusher, Keeton Sweetney, who rushed for over 1,600 yards on the season.
In the first half, Sweetney displayed his speed on a 45-yard touchdown sprint, which preceded a 46-yard end zone run by teammate Alan Peterson.
But Frazee kept pace with the Warriors, as defense was at a premium throughout the first two quarters, with a combined 32 points scored in the first quarter alone and 48 in the first half.
"I felt we played OK in the first half, but we typically get stronger as the game progresses, because these kids have worked hard all season and are conditioned well," said Frazee head coach Jim Rader. "We made some defensive adjustments at halftime and started forcing some turnovers."
The first key turnover on Warroad came in the form of a botched snap by their punter, thus giving Frazee possession on the Warrior 30. A 26-yard sweep by Lemon was immediately followed up by a four-yard burst up the gut by the senior running back to give Frazee control of the game, 33-22.
Two plays later, Lemon recovered a Warroad fumble on the Warrior 46.
That miscue led to a four-play drive, which was capped when senior quarterback Baxter Bachmann hit Tyler Ziegler for an 11-yard touchdown strike for the 39-22 advantage.
Warroad scored once more on its next drive to pull to within 39-28, but a failed onside kick led to Ziegler's second TD catch of the game.
He caught Frazee's third consecutive touchdown pass by Bachmann to start the fourth quarter, as the rout was on, 52-28.
One consistent aspect of the game was the rushing of Lemon and the strong blocking of the Frazee offensive line.
It's been a consistent factor all season for Frazee, which produced yet another 1,000-yard rusher in a long line of top runners that now includes Lemon.
"I call my offensive linemen my big brothers, even though I am older than they are," Lemon said. "This team this year is my favorite. We are one team, with one goal and that's to play one more game. Then one more game after that and one more game after that.
"We are one huge family."
Rader added Lemon has improved, reading defenses better and finding the holes.
"After we lost a couple of very good running backs last year, people wondered how we would replace them," Rader said. "I think we did a good job of doing that. Bruce has better vision this year and the offensive line has stepped up and win the game in the trenches."
Ziegler finished with four touchdowns, including a 27-yard run in the first half. Hesston Bachmann also got in the explosive-play action, by taking a 52-yard run to the house 4:13 in the first quarter.
Bachmann finished the game throwing for 74 yards and four TDs, while going 6-12.
"Baxter had a good game throwing the ball," Rader said.
Despite going 7-1 on the season, Frazee gained the No. 4 seed for the Section 8-2A playoffs. They will now travel to top-seed Hawley (9-0) Saturday, for a 2 p.m. start.
"This is a loaded section, Warroad is a very good team, one in which went to the state semifinals last year," Rader said. "There are five teams in the section which could have won it."
Saturday in Hawley, two of them will clash to see which one has at least one more game left in them.
Section 8-2A quarterfinals: (5) Warroad at (4) Frazee, Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Warriors 14 8 6 0 - 28
Hornets 18 8 19 13 - 58
Fra--Baxter Bachmann 1 run (point failed) 9:46
War--Alan Peterson 46 run (Kedon Sweetney run) 7:49
Fra--Jordan Ketter 37 pass from Bachmann (point failed) 5:20
War--Sweetney 45 run (kick failed) 5:04
Fra--Hesston Bachmann 52 run (point failed) 4:13
War--Nick Ogden 32 pass from Peterson (Sweetney run) 11:13
Fra--Tyler Ziegler 27 run (Bachmann pass to Bachmann) 6:22
Fra--Bruce Lemon 4 run (Tyler Wacker kick) 9:34
Fra--Ziegler 12 pass from Bachmann (point failed) 8:06
War--Ogden 12 pass from Peterson (point failed) 3:52
Fra--Ziegler 9 pass from Bachmann (point failed) 2:29
Fra--Ziegler 5 pass from Bachmann (Wacker kick) 7:22
Fra--Jesse Miosek 3 run (run failed) 4:17.
Rushing-- Bruce Lemon 26-175-1; Hesston Bachmann 1-52-1; Baxter Bachmann 12-49-1; Tyler Ziegler 2-35-1; Erik Moltzan 7-31; Jesse Trusty 4-25; Tanner Bachmann 3-12; Jesse Miosek 1-3-1.
Passing-- Baxter Bachmann 6-12, 74 yds, 4 TDs
Receiving-- Jordan Ketter 1-37-1; Tyler Ziegler 3-26-3; Cody Nordquist 1-8; Hesston Bachmann 1-3.
Defense-- Garrett Malstrom, Int.