Ada-Borup can rest assure knowing it is one, playing in the Minnesota 9-man, section 6 championship football game for the fifth consecutive season under coach Nathan Brager and two, it will be immune to the elements as the Fargodome plays host to the championship game.
Ada-Borup outlasted Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 27-14 through wind and snow Saturday at the Johnson Sports Complex in Ada. Snowfall accumulated throughout the entire game to a total of 2 inches on the playing surface.
No. 1 seeded Nevis will face the second ranked Cougars Thursday in the Fargodome, where the winner will earn a trip to the state tournament. Nevis beat Norman County East Saturday afternoon, 18-13.
“It feels nice knowing that there shouldn’t be any rain or snow in the dome, but then again, with our luck, the sprinkler system will activate when we hit the field,” Ada-Borup coach Nathan Brager said laughing. “It seems like the weather has somehow always found a way to mess with our new, high-flying offense this season, so we’re excited to get under a roof and onto the turf.”
Hillcrest Lutheran Academy’s offense struck gold first with its second possession as the Comets’ Theo Taylor got the ball on every play but the drive’s last – amassing 71 yards before quarterback Dalton Tostenson snuck in for a 1-yard touchdown.
Taylor ran for 132 yards in the first half, but saw a limited amount of playing time in the second half due to an injury.
Trailing 7-0, Brager turned to one of the teams’ most reliable playmakers, Blake Fetting.
With 5 minutes and 31 seconds left in the first quarter, Fetting received a short pass from quarterback JD Kappes, the junior then kept his patience behind a five-blocker convoy and continued the play 93 yards downfield for a touchdown, setting a new school record for the longest passing play. Fetting then split the uprights to tie the game at 7-7.
“My blockers just gave me a good path to follow to the end zone… none of my scores would be possible without them,” Fetting said after his two touchdown night. “Waiting for blocks to develop and hitting the gap is something that us ball carriers have become accustomed to doing with this new offense; we know if we remain patient, that we’ll have the chance to score.”
An intended halfback pass proved Fetting’s theory, as Lance Ruebke, after seeing nobody open, broke into a scramble for a touchdown. Ruebke, too, received numerous blocks after passing the line of scrimmage to put Ada-Borup (9-1) into a 14-7 advantage.
Seeing its defense fall apart during the previous possession, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy’s (3-6) offense picked it up with an 11 play, 82 yard scoring drive which ended with a Taylor 13-yard touchdown with just :33 to spare in the half, tying the game at 14-14.
However, even with just :30 to play before halftime, the Cougars weren’t going to forfeit another chance at a score. After Fetting returned the kickoff to the Comets’ 37 yard line, the Cougars quickly progressed to another score by Ruebke from 2 yards out – capping a three play drive that took just 24 seconds.
“Both teams battled back and forth, but our special teams and defensive units stepped up their game to combat Hillcrest Lutheran anytime they had success,” Brager said. “Now it’s time to prepare for a talented team in Nevis.”
Nevis sports a talented Collin Huckbody behind center who utilizes options downfield, thus providing Ada-Borup a challenge, as it hasn’t seen a passing-oriented offense yet this season.
Then again, every team who played Ada-Borup knew well-enough to expect anything could happen with Ada-Borup’s offensive scheme, and Nevis will have to also, especially considering the success the offense has brought Ada-Borup; for the Cougars’ new offense – so far, so good.