Brett Miller, KMRS/KKOK
9-Man State Semifinals
Hancock 65, Mountain Iron-Buhl 32
MINNEAPOLIS – The Hancock Owls are on their way to the 9-Man football state championship after a dominant 65-32 victory over Mountain Iron-Buhl in the semifinals from US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Thursday.
The Rangers scored on their opening drive when Asher Zubich fumbled on a 4th-and-goal run from the three-yard line only to have it recovered by Dillon Drake in the end zone.
Hancock wasted no time with their response, a drive that started when Preston Rohloff hit Brandon Kellenberger for a 32 yard strike. Three plays later Isaac Nienhaus was into the end zone from six-yards out to tie the game at six.
Hancock took the lead midway through the second quarter when Rohloff hit Kellenberger for a 19-yard touchdown on fourth-and-four.
This time it was the Rangers who answered, with a 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, tying the game at 14 after the two-point conversion.
But as they’ve done all season, the Owls came right back when Tyler Timmerman took the ensuing kickoff 75-yards to the house, giving Hancock a 22-14 lead.
Hancock wasn’t done there, after getting pinned on their own one yard line, Timmerman gave the Owls some breathing room with two runs to get them out to the 15. Rohloff then hit Daniel Milander for an 85-yard score, giving the Owls a 30-14 halftime lead.
The third quarter is where the Owls put their stamp on the game, with three straight touchdowns from Timmerman, including scoring runs of 46 and 31 yards, before hauling in a 61-yard strike from Rohloff.
After 12 straight points from the Rangers, the Owls were at it again with two late touchdown runs from Timmerman and Dalton Rose.
Timmerman finished with 239 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns, accounting for five of the Owls scores on the day, giving him 10 touchdowns in Hancock’s two state tournament games.
Rohloff was an efficient 7-14 for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Rose and Gideon Joos anchored the Owls defense with 11 tackles each. Hancock also forced three more turnoveres with two interceptions by Kellenberger, another by Luke Joos.
Asher Zubich was 10-17 for 136 yards, two touchdowns and three picks, running for 76 yards on 16 carries. Drake finished with 101 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown.
The Rangers end the season at 10-2, while the Owls improve to 13-0, and will play for the school’s first state title in football on Saturday, Nov. 30th at US Bank Stadium against either Mountain Lake Area or Win-E-Mac. Kickoff will be at 10:00 am.