Nevis rallies back to end Cougars' 4-year section reign
There will be a new representative from Section 6 in the Minnesota 9-man state football playoffs this year.
Nevis ended Ada-Borup's four-year reign over the section with a 38-35 win in the championship game on Thursday at the Fargodome.
Leading the way for the Tigers was senior quarterback Collin Huckbody, who rushed for 134 yards and four touchdowns. Huckbody also was 14-for-23 passing for 250 yards and a touchdown.
No. 5-ranked Nevis (11-0) advances to the state quarterfinals and will play the winner of Section 5 at 5 p.m. Nov. 9 at Husky Stadium in St. Cloud.
"It is the best feeling I have ever had in my entire life," Huckbody said of the win. "I have been waiting for this ever since I was a little kid playing recess football with my friends. It is finally here."
Nevis scored on its opening drive when Huckbody hit senior tight end Gerald Beckerleg for an 83-yard touchdown reception. It came on the second play from scrimmage.
Quick scores were a common thread between the two teams on Thursday. Nevis followed its opening touchdown with three more scores - all on Huckbody rushes.
It appeared the Tigers would go into halftime with a comfortable lead, but the Cougars didn't go out quietly in the first half.
In fact, Ada-Borup led 28-24 at the break scoring 21 points in the final 3 minutes, 23 seconds of the second quarter.
Lance Ruebke scored on a 9-yard run and Mitchell Ruebke caught touchdown passes of 50 and 22 yards to pace the Cougars (9-2).
But Huckbody and the Tigers' faith in a win never wavered.
"We just kept believing and never gave up on ourselves," Huckbody said.
The third quarter passed without a touchdown by either team, but the Tigers went up for good when Huckbody scored on a 1-yard keeper with 8:29 left in regulation.
"We got off to a fast start and then they came back," Nevis head coach Shawn Klimek said. "With their experience, you would think maybe we would crumble a little bit there. We fought back and got a big emotional win."
The No. 8-ranked Cougars inability to sustain drives and inconsistent offense were things Ada-Borup head coach Nathan Brager said were too much for his team to overcome.
"Consistency was an issue," Brager said. "We were able to put some points on the board quickly in response. It is just one of those things where we ran out of time, and who knows what the score would have been if we would have had five more minutes."
Ada-Borup scored with a minute left in regulation, but the Tigers kneeled once on its final possession after recovering the onside kick.
Nevis is making its first trip to the state playoffs since 1993. The Tigers lost to Ada-Borup in the 2010 section championship game.
"They did a nice job of keeping the ball out of our hands," Brager said. "Especially at the end of first quarter and at the beginning of the second quarter. They had a lot of lengthy drives that kept our defense on the field for a long time."
AB 7 21 0 7-35
N 18 6 0 14-38
N-Beckerleg 83 pass from Huckbody (run failed)
AB-L. Ruebke 1 run (Fetting kick)
N-Huckbody 1 run (pass failed)
N-Huckbody 3 run (run failed)
N-Huckbody 1 run (pass failed)
AB-L. Ruebke 9 run (run failed)
AB-M. Ruebke 50 pass from Kappes (Fetting run)
AB-M. Ruebke 22 pass from Kappes (Fetting kick)
N-Huckbody 1 run (Hitchcock pass from Huckbody)
N-Miller 3 run (run failed)
AB-M. Ruebke 5 pass from Jack Brainard (Fetting kick)
RUSHING: AB, Kappes 4-10, L. Ruebke 13-52, Fetting 4-14, Jaco. Brainard 1-(minus 5), Jack Brainard 1-5. N, Huckbody 32-134, Hine 10-65, Hitchcock 7-43, Becker 5-26, Miller 7-27, Team 1-(minus 1).
PASSING: AB, Kappes 17-20-1-220, Fetting 2-5-0-9, L. Ruebke 1-1-0-15, Jack Brainard 7-9-0-61. N, Huckbody 14-23-2-250.
RECEIVING: AB, L. Ruebke 11-98, Fetting 3-28, Jaco. Brainard 1-10, M. Ruebke 10-157, Kappes 1-(minus 2), Hoven 1-14. N, Beckerleg 3-116, T. Chase 3-39, Becker 5-78, Hine 1-5, C. Chase 1-9, Hitchcock 1-3.