Archive for Brad Salmen

Chargers fall just short in state title game

MINNEAPOLIS – The DC Chargers lost in heartbreaking fashion in the Class AAA state championship game Saturday, falling 28-27 to Pierz at US Bank Stadium.

The Chargers had a 27-22 lead with 3:54 left to play, with a punt touchback giving the ball to the Pioneers at their own 20-yard line.

Pierz responded with a 12-play, 80 yard drive for a touchdown, converting two third downs and one fourth down, to take a 28-27 lead with 38 seconds left.

The Chargers got as far as their own 34-yard line, but a sack and three incomplete passes ended the game.

Eli Gillman led DC with 149 yards on 19 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game. He also caught a 37-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

Quarterback Sanders Asplin rushed for 106 yards on 14 carries, including a 32-yard score in the third quarter.

Josh DeBoer had 44 yards on 12 carries, and a three-yard TD.

The Charger defense struggled to contain Pierz speedster Matthias Algarin. Algarin rushed for 165 yards on 22 carries for three scores, and added two catches for 44 yards, none bigger than a 22-yard fourth-quarter grab that set up the final Pioneers score.

Michael Leidenfrost added 101 yards on 18 carries, with a score, for the Pioneers.

Check out Friday’s Enterprise Dispatch for a full recap of the game.


DC to face top-ranked Pierz in AAA State Championship


Sports Editor

After a season of overcoming obstacles, the Chargers have just one obstacle left in the march towards their first-ever state title.

It’s the biggest one yet, in the form of the Pierz Pioneers, their opponent in the Class 3A State Title game Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

To say the undefeated Pioneers are a daunting foe is an understatement. Pierz has been the top-rated team throughout the season, and breezed past their competition in nearly every single game this year.

In fact, the average score for all 13 of the Pioneers’ games is 44-9. They have five shutouts, and have given up more than two touchdowns only twice all season.

“Pierz really is solid all the way across the board,” said head coach Ryan Weinandt. Their guys are all very athletic and can fly around the field. The overall sense I get from them is they are talented at every position, disciplined, and very well-coached.”

The Pioneers are coached by first-year head coach Dan Saehr, who replaced Leo Pohlkamp after he retired last fall after 39 seasons with the program. Pohlkamp left as the 13th winningest coach in Minnesota State High School League football history, with a record of 276-84.

Pierz has made each of the last seven state tournament semifinals, winning a title in 2015. They also won in 2004. Last season, Pierz advanced as far as the 3A Semifinal game before losing to Rochester Lourdes.

The Pioneers have not skipped a beat under Saehr, who was Pohlkamp’s assistant for 17 seasons. They’ve had just two close games all season, winning 32-28 over Paynesville (ranked in Class 2A) in the second week of the season before coming from behind to defeat Jackson County Central in the 3A Semifinal game, 20-14.

“They like to run the ball, but can pass extremely well also,” said Weinandt. “Their top-four running backs average almost eight yards a carry. They have also been able to shut down most of the teams they have played this year defensively.”

Pierz is led on the ground by Mathias Algarin, who has committed to play for NCAA Division I Nebraska.

Algarin has rushed for 1,112 yards on just 124 carries, a 9.0 yards per carry average. He also has scored 21 touchdowns.

Blake Kowalczyk has 856 yards on 123 carries (7.0 ypc), with 18 touchdowns. Michael Leidenfrost (83-560-7, 6.7 ypc) and Carter Moutzolf (55-441-7, 8.0 ypc) also have seen significant carries in the backfield.

Pierz is helmed by quarterback Peter Schommer. Schommer has thrown for 1,158 yards, on 49 completions on 81 attempts (60% completion percentage). He has 13 passing touchdowns, to just four interceptions.

Algarin is the leading receiver, with 458 yards on 19 receptions (24.1 ypc), with five scores.

“[Algarin] is very fast and plays CB, RB, and WR,” said Weinandt. “He can turn the corner quickly and makes a lot of big plays.”

In the 3A semifinal win over Jackson County Central, the Pioneers came back from an early 14-0 deficit, including a long touchdown pass with under two minutes left, to defeat JCC 20-14.

Trailing 14-12 with the ball at the JCC 48 and 1:19 left on the clock, Schommer hooked up with Leidenfrost on a slant route.

Leidenfrost made two defensive backs miss, and found himself with wide open space for the score.

Leidenfrost then sealed the victory with a leaping interception.

“Their front D line gave Jackson County Central fits when they tried to pass, roll out, and really slowed JCC’s run game,” said Weinandt. “Their DB’s led by Algarin, move well in space and cover a lot of ground.

“It is what I would expect in a state championship game,” said Weinandt. “We need to keep improving and focus on playing our best game.”

Five Chargers selected to All-Area Football team

Five DC Chargers were named to the KDUZ/KARP/KGLB All-Area Football team.

Players were nominated for their team by their head coaches, and then voted on by a panel of sportscasters at the station.

Named to the team were:

• Eli Gillman, So. RB. “Averages about 7 yards per carry this season, rushed for over 1000 yards and 14 TD’s, also has 308 yards receiving. Makes huge plays for the team.”

• Eli Tormanen, Sr. OL: “Good left guard, very effective undersized lineman, able to block guys twice his size. Blocked for a rushing offense that has garnered over 3000 yards rushing, and averages 5.5 yards per rush.”

• Beau Nelson, Jr. DL: “Wreaks havoc on opponents offensive lines, one of the top players in the Section Tournament. 82 1⁄2 tackles, 9 Sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 2 Blocked Kicks.”

• Sanders Asplin, Sr. K/P: “The do it all player for DC…QB, LB, and Kicker…standout player in all of those areas. Kicking he had 37 PAT’s, 1 FG, and a 36.7 average punting. Good Form kicking, good power. As a QB he’s also rushed for over 800 yards, and thrown for over 800 yards with 15 combined TDs.”

• Coach of the Year: Ryan Weinandt. “Took a good regular season and got the team playing their best in the playoffs to lead team to first state tournament since the 1970’s, and advanced to the PREP Bowl.”


Borg participates at Class A State Swim & Dive meet

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA – Diver Britanie Borg participated in her first ever Class A State Swim & Dive meet Thursday, Nov. 14.

In diving, all the divers participate in the preliminary round of dives, after which the field is narrowed to 20. After a few more dives, the field is narrowed to 16. Those 16 divers return for the finals.

Borg did well, said head coach Nathan Youngs, ultimately finishing just 1.1 points from making the first round of cuts and finishing in 22nd place.

“I am very happy with the way Britanie dove at her first state meet,” Youngs said. “She didn’t show any of the nerves of a first-time participant. We cannot control how well the competition performs, so although we all wanted her to move on to the next round, we were happy with her performance.

Visitation was the Class A state champion for the seventh season in a row. Chargers’ section and conference foe Hutchinson placed second.

ED Sports Schedule, Nov. 21-28

THUR., NOV. 21

DC girls basketball at Orono

FRI., NOV. 22

LDC boys hockey vs. Luverne, 7 p.m.

LDC girls hockey at Silver Bay, 7 p.m.

TUE., NOV. 26

DC girls basketball vs. Maple Lake, 7 p.m.

LDC boys hockey vs. New Ulm, 7 p.m.

LDC girls hockey at New Ulm, 7 p.m.

Championship bound! Stunning turn of events leads to 24-14 victory for DC over Annandale

US BANK STADIUM – The Dassel-Cokato Chargers punched their ticket to their first state title football game in 47 years by taking advantage of big plays, including two with under three minutes to play, to defeat Annandale 24-14 in the Class AAA semifinal game at U.S. Bank Stadium Saturday.

With DC leading 17-14, Annandale appeared to have momentum on their side with a deep drive into Charger territory with the clock winding down.

But Logan Benson stripped the Annandale ball carrier at the 1-yard line, and Collin Asplin pounced on the loose ball to give the ball back to the Chargers.

Three plays later, Eli Gillman found a hole and burst free for an 87-yard score to give the Chargers an insurmountable lead with 1:30 to play.

It was Gillman’s third touchdown of the day, and all three were a result of Annandale turnovers.

The first came in the first quarter, when Annandale fumbled deep within DC territory, and the Chargers responded with a 95-yard drive. Gillman capped it off with a 3-yard plunge.

Beau Nelson then blocked an Annandale punt on the ensuing possession, giving the Chargers the ball at the 16-yard line. Again it was a Gillman three-yard plunge for a 14-0 lead.

DC also got excellent field possession when Annandale failed to field a kick, and Grayson Londerville recovered. That turnover led to a Sanders Asplin field goal.

Gillman finished with 141 yards on 17 carries, and scored all three of DC’s touchdowns.

Luchas Bachel led Annandale with 107 yards on 17 carries, and one touchdown. Rogan Kuser had 101 yards on 24 carries, with one score.

Annandale outgained the Chargers 380-226. However, the biggest stat was this: 4-0. The Cardinals committed four costly turnovers, to DC’s zero.

The Chargers will now face Pierz (13-0), the top-ranked team in Class AAA, on Nov. 30 for the State Championship. Pierz defeated Jackson County Central 20-14 in the other semifinal.