Waubun upset by Ada-Borup
GRAND FORKS - Yuri Johnson had a simple explanation why Ada-Borup upset Waubun 31-20 on Friday in the Alerus Center to win the Minnesota Section 6 9-man football championship.
"Heart," Johnson said.
That, a big game from Johnson (two rushing TDs, one passing) and a key fumble recovery of a second-half kickoff that helped the Cougars build on their 9-0 halftime lead.
Ada-Borup (9-2), in winning the section for the first time since 2001, avenged an earlier 38-38 loss to Waubun (10-1) in handing the defending section champion its first loss.
Johnson ran for 166 yards on 23 carries, including rushing touchdowns covering 6 and 46 yards. He also threw a 23-yard scoring pass to Michael Anderson.
Ada-Borup, leading 9-0 at halftime on a 26-yard field goal by Jeff Petrik and Johnson's 6-yard TD run, got a big break when Waubun mishandled the squib kick to start the second half.
Ada-Borup's Aaron Olson recovered the ball at Waubun's 6, setting up Johnson's first touchdown run on the second play for a 17-0 lead.
"We killed ourselves all night," Waubun coach Jason McCloskey said. "They're a good team, but ultimately we lost this game ourselves. That kickoff in particular really hurt us."
Waubun did rebound to chop Ada-Borup's lead to 17-7 on Dustin Spaeth's 8-yard keeper for a score on its next possession.
But Ada-Borup answered with 62-yard drive in five plays on its next possession, Johnson's scamper around left end from 46 yards building the lead to 25-7.
Waubun came back with Floyd DeGroat's 4-yard run in the third quarter to make it 25-13. DeGroat finished with a team-leading 123 rushing yards on 21 carries.
The last time the two teams met, Ada-Borup led by 12 points with six minutes to go, only to lose.
"We had breakdowns defensively in that one, guys trying to do too much," Ada-Borup coach Mike Gullingsrud said. "Today, guys were just much more mentally aware of what they had to do."
The player who did it all for the Cougars was Johnson.
"He's an athlete," Gullingsrud said. "He's definitely a difference-maker for us on both sides of the ball."
Johnson, who entered with 622 rushing yards, put up big numbers against Waubun.
"Our front line did a great job," he said. "We had big holes to run through, and we just didn't give up."
The blown lead to Waubun earlier this season was on the Cougars' minds, Johnson said. "We knew it wasn't over until 48 minutes were up," he said. "We had it in the back of our minds from last time that we couldn't let it happen again."
Ada-Borup's defense intercepted two passes and forced a fumble on Waubun's first play of the game, setting up Petrik's field goal that put the Cougars ahead to stay.
Still, a big play was the second-half kickoff recovered by Olson.
"All week, we prepared squibbing the kickoff, because on the (artificial) turf, you have a lot of bounces," Olson said. "So we were ready for it."
When he saw the ball bounce free, his eyes got big. "I put it into extra gear when I saw that," Olson said.
Just like the Cougars did as a team.
Section 6 9-man Championship
Ada-Borup 3 6 16 6 -- 31
Waubun 0 0 13 7 -- 20
AB -- Jeff Petrik 26 FG
AB -- Payton Kujava 4 run; kick failed
AB -- Yuri Johnson 6 run; Kujava pass from Spencer Ruebke
W -- Dustin Spaeth 8 run; Aaron Haugo kick
AB -- Johnson 46 run; Johnson run
W -- Floyd DeGroat 4 run; run failed
AB -- Michael Anderson 23 pass from Johnson; pass failed
W -- Izaak Bray 7 run; Haugo kick
RUSHING -- A-B, Yuri Johnson 26-166, Aaron Olson 6-27; W, Floyd DeGroat 21-123, Stephen Stone 3-30
PASSING -- A-B, Spencer Ruebke 3-6-0, 74 yards, Payton Kujava 2-2-0, 54 yards; W, Dustin Spaeth 7-16-2, 109 yards
RECEIVING -- A-B, Paul Johnson 2-59, Michael Anderson 2-54; W, Stone 2-64, Tyler Voss 2-40