Tigers look to avenge loss to Hutchinson at the Metrodome
BY DAVE PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Quarterback Toby Hanson took matters into his owns hands in leading Delano to a 61-33 victory over Cloquet in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state football tournament Friday in St. Cloud.
Trailing 19-18 at the half, Hanson asked coach Merrill Pavlovich if he could keep the ball on a play designed for a handoff, thinking he could have room to run. The senior got the ok and ran 68 yards for a touchdown to open the third quarter.
Hanson rushed for three more scores in the half as the Tigers roared to score 43 second half points. For the game, Hanson rushed14 times for 133 yards and was 10 of 13 passing for 199 yards and two more touchdowns. He led the offense to 667 total yards and nine touchdowns.
Delano will look to avenge a 30-14 loss to defending state champion and undefeated Hutchinson when the teams clash in the state semifinals, 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 at the Metrodome. The state title game would be at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29 at the Metrodome.
“It feels good to get Hutchinson again so we can get some revenge on them,” said Hanson. “They stole one from us the first time we played them, so we are ready to get back at them. It is going to be tough and we are going to have to be focused every single play.”
Hanson said a key to the second half romp against Cloquet was the defense going up with big plays and turnovers. Pass interceptions were taken by Brett and Seth Norling, plus Nate Meyer. Jason McDonald forced a fumble on a kickoff and recovered it.
Regarding the longest run in Hanson’s career, he said he means a lot that his coach has trust in him to change a play. Pavlovich praised Hanson for recognizing the opportunity.
Delano fell behind 7-6 after the first quarter and 19-18 at the half. In defense of his players, Pavlovich said it was a hectic week with the team wanting to support the volleyball players at the state tournament, attending games Thursday and Friday mornings. Hanson and the Norling brothers have sisters on the team.
“I think by not doing our normal routine, it took a little edge off our defense early,” said Pavlovich. “It was the first time all year a team took the kickoff and drove down the field to score on us. It took a good three quarters to figure it out.”
Delano also was not the same team it had been with starting running and defensive back Brett Norling suffering a broken thumb in the section title game win over Becker. The junior did play of defense where he intercepted a pass, but did not carry the ball.
In Norling’s spot on offense was a combination of Meyer and sophomore Joel Koenecke, who rushed four times for 60 yards, scoring on a 25-yard run. He also caught three passes for 34 yards.
Meyer gained 19 yards on two carries and made five tackles on defense. He also provided blocks for Jack Nelson, who gained 188 yards on 27 carries. The senior scored on runs of 21 and 4 yards. Junior Aaron Wagner rushed the ball nine times for 27 yards. Sawyer Thommes also helped on offense, rushing twice for 19 yards and made five tackles on defense.
Pavlovich notes how Kraft played one of his best games, catching six passes for 162 yards, scoring from 53 and 8 yards. The senior defensive back also had seven tackles, six solo.
Other defensive leaders were sophomore Carl Schaefbauer with eight tackles, senior Christian Triplett with seven, senior Damon Longstreet with six, junior Brady Miller with six and Seth Norling with five.
Pavlovich was pleased with his team not having any turnovers, but not happy about the 50-plus yards in penalties. One took away a touchdown catch by Kraft and another led to a Cloquet score.
Delano improved to 10-1 with the only loss to 11-0 Hutchinson.