Morris Area 64, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 14
The Morris Area football Tigers made the pinball machine ring again, figuratively speaking, as they scored lots of points in downing LP-GE at Long Prairie. The Wednesday affair saw Eric Riley and Tyler Hansen pound forward for lots of yardage with a minimal number of carries. This was a big ingredient in the Tigers downing the Thunder 64-14.
The win was part of a highlight-filled week for Morris Area and Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta athletics. I still refer to the week as "MEA Week" but I think this may be an outdated term. The annual mid-week football game is always a signal that we're on the threshold of the playoffs.
Coach Jerry Witt's Tigers can feel optimistic and they can also feel thrilled about winning the West Central-South Conference championship.
The title was not just theirs for the taking Wednesday, at least not on an outright basis. They entered the game tied with Lac qui Parle Valley for No. 1 in conference.
Lac qui Parle was eyeing its first title in nearly 20 years but their bid was dashed by Benson Wednesday. Benson edged the Eagles 7-6 at Benson so the door was open for the offense-fueled Tigers to finish alone at the top of the heap.
It was mission accomplished for the orange and black crew.
Eric Riley did his share making that pinball machine ring Wednesday, as he had touchdown runs of 41 and 62 yards, and he finished with 119 rushing yards in just six carries. Tyler Hansen made it ring with TDs scored from one, 20 and 48 yards, and this Tiger had 105 rushing yards in his mere six carries.
Again we can assume that the Tiger offensive line was authoritative. (If I were interviewing coach Witt like in the "old days," I'd get these guys' names. - BW)
The Tigers have truly been putting on an offensive clinic in recent weeks. Upcoming opponents will be scratching heads trying to draw up ways to slow our scoring machine.
Tigers to host Benson at 7 p.m. Tuesday
The focus is on the playoffs now. Big Cat Stadium is going to become a very popular place. This will be the venue for the Tigers vs. Benson playoff game at 7 p.m. this coming Tuesday, Oct. 26.
The Tigers are the on-paper favorite as they own the No. 2 seed compared to No. 7 for Benson.
But comparative scores easily show that the Tigers could be challenged. Benson beat Lac qui Parle Wednesday and the Tigers have fallen to Lac qui Parle.
The Braves will face a stiff challenge trying to quiet that "pinball effect" (i.e. the Tigers' run-wild offense). And the Tigers will feel buoyed playing at home.
Continued mild weather might help the MAHS pep band make another appearance or two. It adds a dimension.
Here is the seeding list: #1 Eden Valley-Watkins, #2 Morris Area, #3 BOLD, #4 Lac qui Parle Valley, #5 Yellow Medicine East, #6 Minnewaska Area, #7 Benson and #8 Paynesville.
The Tigers aim to break away from their all-too-common script of winning their first game in the playoffs and losing the second. The goal of course is to reach the Metrodome. The pep band would sound quite fine there, overlooking Mall of America Field.
I covered the Tigers when they played Breckenridge in Prep Bowl. Unfortunately the Tigers were stopped in that pinnacle game so there's still a summit for the program to strive to reach. A little more noise from that pinball machine, and that summit might just be realized.
Benson beat Lac qui Parle Valley Wednesday with a key defensive stand late. The Eagles were looking at fourth-and-five in Benson territory with the clock showing 2:41 left to play.
The pivotal play unfolded with Dylan Erickson, the LQPV signal-caller, scrambling and hoping to connect with a receiver. He opted to run. He almost achieved the first down but he was forced out by Brave Scott Bridgland just shy.
Benson's 'O' unit trotted out and was able to exhaust the remaining time and preserve the one-point edge.
LQPV was hurt by four turnovers on the night. All of this game's scoring was in the second quarter. Cody Jaeger scored the lone Benson touchdown and he also kicked the point-after. No pinball game to be sure, but Benson did what was needed to win.
The Lac qui Parle touchdown was scored by J.D. Struxness on a reception from Erickson. LQPV made what turned out to be a key decision in going for two on the conversion, and got stopped on a run.
In other WCC-South action Wednesday, Minnewaska Area downed ACGC in a lively and high-scoring game, 31-22; BOLD defeated Montevideo 31-6; and Yellow Medicine East thumped Paynesville 32-6.
Eventful MEA week for Tiger athletics
The one-two punch of Dan Tiernan and Roy Reese helped propel the MA-CA boys cross country team to No. 1 in the conference meet team standings Tuesday.
It was a headlining day for Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta athletics as in the girls sphere, the volleyball team rallied back after falling into an 0-2 hole against ACGC. The volleyball Tigers wore down the visiting Falcons to prevail 3-2 in front of a home crowd that must've gone home feeling drained.
Cross country runners from around the WCC-South gathered at Montevideo for the annual conference challenge. Roy Reese was the individual champion last year when he was a freshman, and he's still a top-tier runner, but this year he settled for third as teammate Dan Tiernan was able to establish a slightly faster pace.
Tiernan arrived at the finish chute No. 1 with his time of 17:28. Cade Robertson of LQPV-DB was second and then came the orange and black-clad Reese whose time was 17:53.
Aaron Goulet placed sixth (18:05), Matt Cotter 14th (18:44) and Gage Anderson 15th (18:46).
Tiernan is a senior and he placed eleventh in last year's conference race. He and Robertson had a duel through much of the Tuesday race which was blessed by quite fine weather. Toward the end of the 5K distance (3.1 miles), Tiernan was able to turn on the jets to prevail, reaching that chute (a great sight for tired runners) with an eight-second advantage over his rival.
The girls distance is 4K and in this event, Tera Walker of LQPV-DB was able to turn on the jets when it counted to enter the chute No. 1 (15:35). Walker has raced in state four times. But these days she has an up-and-coming teammate on her heels: Alaysia Freetly, an eighth grader. Freetly faded to fourth but watch for her in the future. LQPV-DB is girls team champion for 2010.
The MA-CA girls placed fifth led by Makenzie Smith who placed seventh with her time of 16:25. Rachel Rausch placed 27th (17:41), Jana Loher 33rd (18:10), Becca Holland 37th (18:25) and Julia Sauder 37th (18:40).
MA-CA girls wrap up WCC-South at 8-4How about some bumping, setting and spiking? There was plenty of that in the marathon five-game volleyball match Tuesday at home. The Tigers downed Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City by these scores: 23-25, 13-25, 25-12, 25-20 and 15-9.
The Tigers and Falcons wrapped up the WCC-South slate with identical 8-4 records.
Erin Schieler was a force at the net as she so often is, and her kill total on the winning night was 22. She complemented this stat with eight ace blocks.
Carrie Roske was a dependable performer further back from the net and this Tiger had 49 digs. Mackenzie Weatherly was a pillar in the Tigers' surging with her serving, a department where she recorded six aces.
Sydney Engebretson came at the Falcons with six ace blocks. Kelsey Loew and Dani Schultz each had three ace blocks and Shadow Olson had one.
The annual MEA week may be relaxed in some respects but in the sports world, it's most intense and rewarding!
BTW I got an email from a friend yesterday that reads like a fortune cookie: "Keep up your good work on sports coverage, and you will eventually reap rewards."
What could be more rewarding than staying close to these activities?
-Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org