Quarriers march past Redmen
October 30. 2013 10:55AM
Dell Rapids began the official defense of last year’s Class 11A title with a 34-12 win over Sisseton on Tuesday night.
The Quarriers (7-2) are not the dominant crew that marched through the playoffs a year ago on their way to a fourth state title in five years, but the reigning champions were an industrious group nevertheless, making playing football in the mud look like a lot more fun than for spectators taking it in on a rainy and cold night.
Riley Schmidt, a junior running back, was keeping his footing better than a lot of the other players on the field. The 5-10, 160-pounder ran for 144 yards on 16 carries, scoring three times to lead the Quarriers, who struggled through a difficult second quarter but otherwise were in control.
“When some of those seniors left, people were thinking we’d be way down, but we keep working,” Schmidt said. “We want to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild every year.”
There was no disguising the difficult playing conditions, especially in the middle of the field. Hanging onto the ball was difficult, especially for the Redmen, who fumbled four times resulting in three turnovers.
“We talked about taking care of the ball and we talked about getting off the ball,” Dell Rapids coach Steve Hansen said. “We felt like if we could beat them off the ball on a slippery field we could get a pretty good push on them.”
The Quarriers, who rushed for 352 yards, took a 6-0 lead on a 24-yard Schmidt run midway through the first quarter and then added another score on a similar play from Brett Nichols a little more than three minutes later to go up 14-0.
Sisseton’s first scoring threat ended with a fumble deep in Dell Rapids territory, but the Redmen came back again with freshman quarterback Hunter Medenwald connecting with Jordan Cornelius for a score with 3:16 remaining in the half. Medenwald was getting his first varsity start after the Redmen lost sophomore QB Logan Grimm to a serious elbow injury last week.
“I was proud of how Hunter responded – talk about getting thrown to the wolves,” said Sisseton coach Nate Wood. “Right away, first start, playoff game – I thought he rose to the occasion.”
The touchdown looked like a momentum-builder for the Redmen, but the Quarriers weren’t done. With 44 seconds to play, Dell Rapids quarterback Tanner Solberg lofted a pass to Schmidt for another score. Instead of dealing with a tight game and inspired opponent, it was the Quarriers who went into halftime riled up about a pivotal touchdown.
“When we came out in the second half, we came out with a lot of fire because we’d scored at the end of the half and we knew we were getting the ball back,” Schmidt said. “That gave us a big boost and we kept going from there.”
Schmidt added his third touchdown with 9:18 to go to give the Quarriers a 26-6 lead on their opening drive of the second half. Dell Rapids added another TD, this on a 3-yard Solberg pass to Zach Schoeder, with 4:18 to play in the third.
“These kids are learning,” Hansen said. “They know that come playoff time, you have to get to another level. I felt like all week we started seeing that a little bit. This was the first step. Everything gets tougher from here.”
You’d guess the Quarriers would want a faster track next week, but Schmidt wasn’t so sure about that.
“This was fun, it was like a mud bowl,” he said. “People are sliding around and flying around – you never knew quite what was going to happen.”