BY DAVE PEDERSEN
Delano was taken by storm when losing the battle of unbeaten football teams 30-14 at Hutchinson Friday.
“It was a game of field position and the weather beat us up,” said Delano coach Merrill Pavlovich about the wind and rain that hit hard in the second half when a lead was soaked up.
Delano started strong against the defending state champion when quarterback Toby Hanson hit on his first three passes, two resulting in touchdowns and a 14-0 lead. The Tigers worked against the strong wind for the next two quarters when field position seemed impossible to gain.
Maintaining a 14-8 lead with six minutes to play, Delano fell behind 15-14. Hopes were still high as the Tigers were with the wind in the final minutes. However, a fumbled punt took away the momentum.
“That deflated our team,” recalls Pavlovich. “We had played so much defense up to that point. Their tenacious running game kept coming at us. Hutchinson scored on a 70-yard run in the last minute.”
Delano was also impacted by some health issues. Standout running back Jack Nelson was not fully recovered from his ankle sprain and gained 28 yards on nine carries. Fullback Aaron Wagner did not practice all week because of tonsillitis. He rushed seven times for 23 yards Lineman Damon Longstreet got sick during the game.
“Our kids gave one heck of an effort,” adds Pavlovich. “The final score was no indication of how close the game was. To be honest, we felt pretty good about ourselves.”
Early in the game, Brady Miller recovered a fumble that was forced by Christian Triplett. Hanson connected with Adam Kraft for touchdown passes of 50 and 35 yards. Hanson was 4 of 13 passing for 104 yards. He caught one pass from Kraft on a trick play for 29 yards.
Brett Norling gained 39 yards on seven carries and led the defense with 10 tackles, eight solo. Longstreet made eight tackles, Sawyer Thomas and Nate Meyer had seven and Kraft added five.
Kraft caught three passes for 96 yards and threw one for 29 yards. He also grabbed an interception.
The 5-1 Tigers are home for the last two regular season games, Friday, Oct. 11 against Litchfield and Wednesday, Oct. 16 against Holy Family Catholic.