Brett Miller, KMRS/KKOK Sports Director
9-Man State Championship
Mountain Lake Area 22, Hancock 14
MINNEAPOLIS – Hancock’s bid for the school’s first state football title came up short when the Owls lost to Mountain Lake Area 22-14 in the 9-Man state championship from US Bank Stadium on Saturday.
The Wolverines took their opening drive inside the Owls ten when quarterback Abe Stoesz was picked off in the end zone by Daniel Milander.
After a Hancock three-and-out, the Wolverines again drove into Owls territory before losing a fumble to Brandon Kellenberger. This time the Owls cashed in when Preston Rohloff hit Milander in the back corner of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown.
Hancock added to their lead just a short time later when Matt Thompson picked off Stoesz on a screen-pass returning it 32-yards for a score. The two-point conversion gave the Owls a 14-0 lead with 7:48 remaining in the second quarter.
The Wolverines answered quickly, with Mace Herrig scoring on a five-yard touchdown run just two minutes later to pull within eight.
On their ensuing drive, the Owls were faced with a third-and-one that they couldn’t pick up. They were again stuffed on fourth-and-one, giving the ball back to the Wolverines with 1:13 left in the half.
MLA took advantage driving to the Owls 11 yard line with seven seconds left. Stoesz then hit Adam Karschnik for a touchdown with two seconds left. Stoesz hit Karschnik for the two-point conversion and the two teams went into halftime tied at 14.
Hancock opened the second half with a long drive that stalled out in Wolverines territory. MLA took over and ate up some clock on their drive as well, ending when Stoesz ran in the go-ahead touchdown from five yards out, the two-point made it 22-14.
From there the two defenses went back-and-forth, coming up with crucial stops.
Hancock had a shot late, with the ball and time on the clock, Hancock was faced with a fourth-and-seven near midfield, but Rohloff’s pass fell incomplete giving it back the MLA.
With under a minute remaining, the Wolverines were able to convert a fourth-and-two, and ultimately run the clock out from there.
Rohloff finished 10-18 for 87 yards and a touchdown for Hancock. Tyler Timmerman had 89 yards on 19 carries, adding three catches for 21 yards.
Kellenberger finished with four catches for 34 yards, a fumble recovery and 11 tackles defensively. Dalton Rose added eight tackles, Jed Feuchtenberger had seven.
Hancock’s incredible season ends with a record of 13-1 as the 9-Man state runner-up.
Stoesz was 6-12 for 92 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He ran for 134 yards and a score on 21 carries. Herrig ran for 94 and score on 25 carries, adding nine tackles defensively.
Mountain Lake Area wins their first state football title with a record of 14-0.