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Hawley Nuggets race past Blackduck Drakes, 86-0

Blackduck senior football players, managers and cheerleaders were recognized during halftime of the Drake's final game of the season Oct. 21. Senior Zach Preston is honored alongside Jess and Virginia Wilcowski.1 / 2
Blackduck senior football players, managers and cheerleaders stand out in the middle of the field during the Drake's final game of the season Oct. 21 with balloons and flowers that were presented to their parents and guardians in a short, chilly ceremony.2 / 2

Hawley sprinter Nate Mattson placed third in the state 100 meter dash last spring and no one could catch him on Sonnek Field Oct. 15 as he led Hawley to a 70-0 half-time lead and 86-0 victory over the Blackduck Drakes.

Mattson sped to five touchdowns in the first quarter and a half and saw little action after that. The second half went by quickly with running time and younger players from both teams on the field.

The Drakes started with the ball and came out in a spread formation similar to the one Coach Jerry Sonnek used to beat Walker in 1979 and used by Coach Bechtold in recent years.

The offensive line, except for the center, lined up about twenty yards away from the ball leaving only center Al Goodwin, quarterback Mike Dexter and fullback Nick Andreas near the football. Though the Drakes picked up a few yards through the blocking efforts of starting linemen Jake Olafson, Garette Roberts, Zach Preston, Logan Oelke, Butch Strand and Lucas Krabbenhoft they needed a Nugget penalty to secure a first down. Dexter completed a three yard pass to Alex Lossing for the longest gain of the drive with Hawley's speed keeping halfback Todd Kallroos bottled up.

Once Hawley got the football, they gave the ball to Mattson three times straight and he crossed the goal line. James Campbell-Eckdahl and Strand recorded the tackles for the Drakes. The Nuggets booted the extra point with 8:12 on the clock to go ahead 7-0.

Kallroos had a good 18 yard kick return but the offense, now using a usual formation, made little headway though Galen Martin, Justin Bryant and Josh RedDay came in for several plays to give their teammates a breather. A face mask penalty on the punt return gave the Nuggets great field position and they scored on second down with 5:27 on the clock.

On the next series, Kallroos pulled in an aerial for an eight yard gain, the Drakes longest gain of the first half, but they were again unable to move the football. Mattson took the football into the endzone twice more before the quarter ended, the longest a 37 yard jaunt down the sideline. Drakes in on the defensive effort included Preston, Lossing, Olafson, Andreas, Kallroos, Oelke, RedDay, Strand, Krabbenhoft, Goodwin, Campbell-Eckdahl, Martin and Bryant. The first quarter ended with Hawley ahead 27-0.

Hawley started the second quarter in their own half of the field after Lossing's punt, the first time they had more than half of the field to drive. Their first play was a 52 yard touchdown pass; the two point conversion put them ahead 35-0.

Blackduck used a lateral on the kick return moving out to the 39 yard line. On first down Lossing pulled in a six yard pass but on second down Dexter was intercepted. The Nuggets went back to their speedster and Mattson picked up a first down across midfield on his first carry. On the second play he burst free for a 47 yard touchdown jaunt.

Things got worse for the Drakes when on first down, an aerial was intercepted and taken back for a touchdown to up the score to 49-0. Freshmen Cory Bryant, Brad Kusper and Brady Gross were rotated into the game to try to stop the onslaught but the Drakes were unable to move the ball offensively and Hawley moved almost at will. After turning the ball over on downs, the Drakes lost a fumble and then tried a razzle dazzle throwback to quarterback Dexter from Kallroos which was intercepted. The Nuggets used all three opportunities to score upping the tally to 70-0 at half.

In the second half, both teams used their younger, more inexperienced players. Zach Jones and Zach Horton-Ferris saw playing time for the Drakes. Blackduck was unable to move the ball effectively on offense but their younger players did match up better with Hawley's which pleased Head Coach Jesse Hickman.

He commented, "The younger players stepped it up nicely." Krabbenhoft recovered a Nugget fumble to stop the visitors first drive of the second half but good pass defense halted the Drakes and Hawley took possession again. This time, they drove to the endzone but it took 10 plays and nine minutes. The Nuggets scored again early in the fourth quarter to push the tally to 86-0. The remainder of the game saw neither team able to generate much offense.

Lossing had four receptions to lead the receiving corps but his net gain was only eight yards. The offense ended the game with negative yards.

Nick Andreas was named defensive player of the week by the coaching staff. With the defense on the field for much of the game, many players had their highest tackle total of the year. While the four returning seniors are the team leaders in tackles, sophomores Goodwin, Krabbenhoft and Strand keep adding to their totals. With their extended playing time in this game freshmen Cory Bryant, Gross and Kusper were all in on multiple tackles.