Brett Miller, KMRS/KKOK Sports Director
(1) Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 45, (2) Paynesville Area 26
MORRIS – Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta is the section 5AA champions following a 45-26 victory over Paynesville from Big Cat Stadium in Morris on Friday night.
As they did in their previous meeting on October 30th, the Tigers built up a big first half lead and left the final result without doubt.
Senior quarterback Zach Bruns ran for three first half touchdowns, all from a yard out to stake the Tigers to an 18-0 lead.
After quarterback Chase Bayer put the Bulldogs on the board with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Stanley, the Tigers responded when Bruns hit Toby Gonnerman for a 13-yard scoring strike and a 24-6 lead.
The back-breaker came when Bruns hit Kenny ‘The Jet’ Soderberg for a 46-yard touchdown and a 32-6 halftime lead.
Another Bruns touchdown pass to Gonnerman and rushing touchdown from Durgin Decker offset a pair of Drew Tangen touchdowns for the Bulldogs in the second half as the Tigers claimed their first section title since 2016.
Bruns finished 12-20 passing for 212 yards and three touchdowns, rushing for 99 yards and three more scores. Durgin Decker ran for 118 yards on 25 carries, Soderberg caught three passes for 102 yards.
Gonnerman and Soderberg each had first quarter interceptions for the Tigers who finished the season with a 6-1 record.
Bayer was 11-26 for 184 yards and two touchdowns with two picks for Paynesville, Blake Hiltner ran for 102 yard and a score on 12 carries as the Bulldogs finish the year at 5-2.
Section 4 (9-Man)
(1) Hancock 54, (4) Ortonville 18
HANCOCK – The Hancock Owls became the second Stevens County team to win a title on Friday when they routed Ortonville 54-18 for their second straight section title from Hancock.
The Owls finished the game’s opening drive with a Preston Rohloff 10-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Kellenberger.
After a pair of Carter Brown interceptions, the Trojans went into territory where few teams have been this season, down one score to the Owls with the ball to start the second quarter.
That quickly changed when the Owls recovered a fumble and immediately cashed in on Rohloff’s 20-yard touchdown strike to Luke Joos to give the Owls a 16-0 lead.
Minutes later Joos took a short pass 37-yards to the house for a 24-0 lead.
After Daunte Fetters found paydirt from 14-yards out to put the Trojans on the board, it took the Owls all of 46 seconds to answer when Rohloff hit Isaac Nienhaus for a 35-yard touchdown, giving Hancock a 32-6 halftime lead.
After a Toby Messner rushing touchdown, Fetters answered with a 55-yard run to the end zone for a 40-12 score. The Owls came right back with Nienhaus running in a 28-yard touchdown, and Rohloff finding Kellenberger in the end zone again, this time from four yards.
Rohloff finished the night 21-30 for 296 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Kellenberger had 10 catches for 111 yards, Luke Joos caught five passes for 87 yards as the Owls finished off a perfect season at 7-0.
Hancock has back-to-back district and section titles, winning 15 straight regular season games.
Fetters ran for 84 yards and two scores for the Trojans who went 3-5.
(2) Verndale 38, (3) Wheaton/Herman-Norcross 16
(1) West Central Area/Ashby 48, (5) Staples-Motley 27
(2) Osakis 34, (3) Pillager 12
(4) New London-Spicer 26, (3) Minnewaska Area 7
(1) Albany 41, (2) Pierz 8
Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 3, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 1
Benson 3, West Central Area 1
BOLD 3, Wabasso 1
Melrose 3, Pierz 0