Vikings stun Rebels for Section 8-2A title
Dave Haugen isn't a mind reader, but he knows when his kicker could come in handy.
The Pelican Rapids head coach had Cris Molina take about 10 field-goal attempts from different ranges during halftime just to be safe.
It turned out to be a smart move with Molina's 25-yard field goal giving Pelican Rapids the edge in a 17-14 upset against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Friday in the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 football final at the Fargodome.
Pelican Rapids (7-4) accomplishes two things with the victory. First, the Vikings were able to avenge a late-season loss to D-G-F.
That game was also held in the Fargodome. Secondly, the win gives the Vikings, who finished 4-4 in the regular season, a berth in the state quarterfinals.
They face Ottertail Central next Friday at the Fargodome, and they have Molina to thank for that.
Pelican Rapids took a 14-7 lead into halftime, but had its troubles in the second half.
The Rebels (8-3) stopped the Vikings on fourth down twice, including a fourth-and-short from the 1 in the third.
Neither team had much success moving the ball until the last five minutes of the fourth.
Led by running back Tom Gaustad, Pelican Rapids was able to power its way down field, setting up Molina.
At 5-4, Molina is the smallest player on the Pelican Rapids roster.
Following his field goal that put Pelican up 10 points, there was no denying he was the Vikings biggest hero.
The decision to have Molina kick a field goal looked like a good one given what D-G-F did on its following possession.
A stagnant offense woke up and used a three-man flea flicker that ended up with quarterback Tanner Dufault finding Shawn Johnson on a 41-yard pass down to the 16-yard line.
Dufault threw a 16-yard floater on the next play that was caught by Dylan Dejong, cutting the lead to 17-14 with 3:34 left.
The drive shot life into the Rebels, who were able to stop the Vikings on their following possession.
But the trickery that gave them a shot in the arm turned out to shoot them in the foot on their last possession.
D-G-F tried using the flea flicker once only to throw an incomplete pass. Then on fourth-and-16, D-G-F ran the same play again with Johnson getting leveled by Pelican Rapids defensive lineman Anwar Sharmake with 35 seconds left.
The Rebels called their last timeout, but it obviously wasn't enough to stop the Vikings from sprinting onto the field to celebrate their championship.
It was a well-deserved celebration, with Pelican Rapids coming to the section finals four consecutive times under Haugen only to lose all four with the last coming in 2008.
But on one night, the smallest guy grabbed the biggest win for Haugen.
PR 7 7 0 3-17
D-G-F 0 7 0 7-14
PR - Forgsen 10 fumble recovery (Molina kick)
D - Dufault 5 run (Dufault kick)
PR - Cossette 6 pass from Schell (Molina kick)
PR - Molina 25 field goal
D - Dejong 16 pass from Dufault (Dufault kick)
RUSHING: PR, Gaustad 21-132, Schell 15-33, Cossette 6-20, Evenson 6-30. D-G-F, Mercil 21-87, Johnson 8-21, Dufualt 5-18, Rosenfeldt 6-22
PASSING: PR, Schell 1-2-1 6 yards. D-G-F, Dufault 2-7-1 54 yards, Johnson 0-2-0 0 yards
RECEIVING: PR, Cossette 1-6. D-G-F, Johnson 1-41, Dejong 1-13