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Shootout to blowout: Second-half domination leads Delano to easy win at Litchfield

Shoultz-Wishart connect for huge game

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

LITCHFIELD — With the score at 22-20 at halftime, the battle was on between Delano and Litchfield Oct. 13 at the home of the Dragons.

So it seemed.

The first half shootout between the Tigers and Dragons did not carry into the second half, as Delano completely dominated the final 24 minutes of game clock.

Delano’s defense did not give up a single point and limited Litchfield to 24 yards in the second half. The Tiger offense, on the other hand, scored 28 second-half points en route to a 50-20 win.

Litchfield’s offense ran just 15 plays on four possessions in the second half. The Dragons punted twice, turned the ball over on downs once, and had the fourth drive stopped by the end of the game.

Litchfield’s offense gained 217 yard of offense for the game.

“In the second half, we came out pretty focused. We made some subtle adjustments,” Delano coach Merrill Pavlovich said of his defense. “We lost our starting safety (Ethan Quast), but I thought (Trey) Longstreet came in and did a nice job in the secondary for us. A couple guys were playing out of position and I think they all made some good adjustments.”

Delano’s defense was certainly dominant in that second half, but it received a big hand in the half from the offense, which ran 39 plays on four possessions, all four ending with a touchdown.

The Delano offense was balanced in both halves. The Tigers put up 542 yards total ­— 261 in the first half and 281 in the second half. For the game, Delano ran for 216 yards and three touchdowns and quarterback Mike Shoultz threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns. He was intercepted twice.

Calvin Wishart was all smiles following his third touchdown catch of the night Oct. 13 at Litchfield. Wishart caught 10 passes for 303 yards in the Tigers' 50-20 win. Quarterback Mike Shoultz (9) threw four touchdown passes and 326 yards. Photo by Matt Kane

Calvin Wishart was all smiles following his third touchdown catch of the night Oct. 13 at Litchfield. Wishart caught 10 passes for 303 yards in the Tigers’ 50-20 win. Quarterback Mike Shoultz (9) threw four touchdown passes and 326 yards.
Photo by Matt Kane

Shoultz’s main target, as usual, was his best friend, Calvin Wishart, who caught 10 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns.

Shoultz knows he and Wishart are looked at first because of statistics, but, as good leaders do, the quarterback made sure to give credit to the guys who deserve it.

“I think I have to give a lot of credit to our defense. In the first half, they started shaky, but they really picked it up in the second half and gave us good field position,” he said. “Big credit to the defense, and the offensive line; they dominated up front.

“It all starts up front. Everyone looks at the touchdowns between Calvin and I, but that cannon happen if it’s not there up front. They really won the game for us.”

Wishart entered the game at Litchfield off a quiet three-catch, 35-yard, one-touchdown performance a week earlier in a win over Annandale. He was plenty loud against the Dragons with touchdown catches of 23, 65 and 72 yards.

The big game upped Wishart’s state-leading statistics to 1,130 receiving yards and 161 yards per game on 45 catches.

“He brings that ingredient to the team we can’t duplicate. He has great hands and he runs great routes, now. He ran every route tonight the way we wanted him to,” Pavlovich said following the game at Litchfield. “Plus, when the ball is in the air, his philosophy is that the ball belongs to him. He is very competitive.”

Sitting in a distant second place on both receiving leader boards is New Ulm’s Connor Foley, who has 997 yards and a 142 yards-per-game average on 42 catches.

The three touchdown catches runs Wishart’s season total to 12, which ranks him fourth. Cleveland/Immanual Lutheran’s Austin Plonsky leads the state with 15 touchdowns.

The performance at Litchfield moved Wishart atop the Delano list of best single-season performances by a receiver, and he is now the first Tiger receiver ever to reach the 1,000 yards receiving mark.

“I think it’s pretty cool. I didn’t care too much about getting it, I just wanted to win games, but it is cool that I am in the 1,000 club for the football team and the 1,000 club for the basketball team,” Wishart said. “It’s a pretty good accomplishment.”

Wishart sits second in career scoring for basketball with 1,519 points through his junior season. Just seven points in front is Toby Hanson with 1,526 points.

On the football field, Wishart moved above Adam Kraft, who accumulated 882 yards and 11 touchdowns during the Tigers’ run to the state tournament in 2013.

It’s no secret, Delano has been a heavy, run-first offense for four decades under coach Merrill Pavlovich, but, to put into perspective how impressive Wishart’s single season is, consider his 1,130 yards is just 125 yards less than the 1,255 yards Kraft gained on 53 catches during his junior and senior seasons combined.

“They shouldn’t (think that),” said Shoultz of teams that see Delano as a run-heavy team. “But, when I see them came out here and have single coverage on him, they must think we are a run first team. We will exploit that.”

It’s hard to imagine opponents not respecting the state’s leading receiver, but the Tigers saw it at Litchfield, in what was the seventh week of the season.

“If you saw what they were doing, they were rolling eight guys up in the box. That makes it difficult for us to run but that means we have some people who are going to be open,” said Pavlovich. “What can you say about Calvin, throw it up there and he goes and gets it.”

Of course, for a receiver to have an unprecedented season as Wishart is, someone needs to get him the football. That someone for Delano just happens to be Wishart’s best friend, Shoultz.

“That’s my boy. Number 9-to-10. He’s my best friend — we hook up on the football field and hang out off the field. It’s a fun time,” Wishart said of his relationship with Shoultz. “I tell him, ‘Throw it to me and I am going to get it, and we are gonna make each other look good.’

“We’ve only played one year together, but it feels like 20 years. Our chemistry is really good.”

Shoultz has 1,204 yards passing and 16 touchdowns for the season.

The big game at Litchfield for Shoultz came on the same field from where he was carted off and taken by an ambulance after suffering a scary concussion just one season ago. The senior took note of the oddity that Delano would play at Litchfield two seasons in a row, but used the return visit as motivation.

“When I saw the schedule come out, I just thought it was strange. I came out here and saw the 30-yard line and just kind of looked and thought, ‘Not this year.’ I just had the mind-set that it was going to be different this year,” he said. “I was happy to be back, actually. I wanted to use it as a revenge game.”

Delano lost the game a season ago, 22-7. Shoultz threw for just 84 yards and the Tiger offense compiled just 137 total yards before the game was stopped with time remaining on the fourth-quarter clock by Shoultz’s injury.

At this year’s visit to Litchfield, Shoultz and Wishart first hooked up for a touchdown early in the second quarter on the fifth play of a 62-yard drive. As he has done all season, Wishart won the jump ball for a 23-yard touchdown catch. After a failed extra-point kick, the Tigers led 14-7.

Litchfield answered back and tied the game, 14-14, with a 46-yard touchdown connection from Matthew Wedin to Alex Graunke and the extra point kick by Wedin.

It took just one play for Shoultz and Wishart to reply to the Dragons’ fire. On the first play of the ensuing possession, Shoultz hit Wishart on a quick hitch to the left and then watched his friend dice through the defense for a 65-yard touchdown catch-and-run.

The two-point run by Caden Link gave Delano a 22-14 lead.

“I told Mike that if it was a shootout, like it was in the first half, ‘this is our type of football,’” said Wishart.

The shootout continued, as Litchfield answered the seventh play of its ensuing possession, this time Wedin connecting with Zach Kaizer for a 12-yard touchdown.

Delano’s defense came up big when it stopped Litchfield’s two-point try, and the Tigers took the two-points, 22-20, lead into halftime.

The Tigers may have soaked up any momentum the Dragons hoped to gain with that late, first-half touchdown with their 18-play, 90-yard drive on the first possession of the second half.

The 18th play was a five-yard touchdown strike from Shoultz to Christopher Glunz on a fourth down play.

Shoultz’s two-point run gave the Tigers a 30-20 lead, and the second-half route was on.

The 72-yard touchdown pass from Shoultz to Wishart came 19 seconds into the fourth quarter, on the seventh play of a drive that bridged the final two frames. The play was a thing of beauty, Shoultz’s deep pass over the middle perfectly leading Wishart who had gotten behind the defense. The two-point run failed, and Delano led 36-20.

Touchdown runs from David Gerecke and Joey Colanino finished the scoring for the Tigers. Gerecke scored on a three-yard run, and following the Tigers’ second batch of offensive linemen, Colanino scored on a shifty 17-yard run with 53 seconds remaining in the game. Link followed both scores with successful extra-point kicks.

Colanino’s touchdown capped what was actually a come-from-behind win for the Tigers. The first lead of the game belonged to the host Dragons, who marched the field in front of the homecoming crowd and went up 7-0 on the 13th play of the opening drive. Fullback Isaac Rick capped the 56-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Wedin’s kick made it 7-0.

Shoultz and Wishart connected for the first time in the game on Delano’s first play, an 18-yard pass, but it was the legs of junior running back Sam Kern that answered the Dragon’s score.

Kern took the Tigers’ second play from scrimmage 51 yards to the end zone. The two-point run from Link gave Delano an 8-7 lead with four minutes to play in the first quarter.

Seemingly overshadowed every game by Wishart, Kern continued his excellence in the ground game, rushing for 110 yard and the one touchdown on just 10 carries.

 

DELANO 50, LITCHFIELD 20

Friday, Oct. 13

Litchfield High School

1 2 3 4 – F

Delano 8 14 8 20 – 50

Litchfield 7 13 0 0 – 20

Scoring

First Quarter

4:49: L – Rick 1-yard run (Wedin kick), 7-0

4:14: D – Kern 51-yard run (Link run), 7-8

Second Quarter

9:42: D – Shoultz 23-yard pass to Wishart (kick failed), 7-14

7:35: L – Wedin 46-yard pass to Graunke (Wedin kick), 14-14

7:16: D – Shoultz 65-yard pass to Wishart (Link run), 14-22

0:45: L – Wedin 12-yard pass to Kaizer (run failed), 20-22

Third Quarter

6:16: D Shoultz 5-yard pass to Glunz (Shoultz run), 20-30

Fourth Quarter

11:41: D – Shoultz 72-yard pass to Wishart (run failed), 20-36

6:15: D – Gerecke 3-yard run (Link kick), 20-43

0:53: D – Colanino 17-yard run (Link kick), 20-50

Statistics

TEAM Total Yards: Delano 542. Rushing: Delano 37-216 3TD. Passing: Delano 15/21-326 4TD 2INT.

INDIVIDUALS Rushing: Delano — Kern 10-110 TD, Link 11-38, Colanino 2-32 TD, Gerecke 7-22 TD, Shoultz 3-6, Tschudi 3-5, McCune 1-3. Passing: Delano — Shoultz 15/20-326 4TD 2INT; Otto 0-1. Receiving: Delano — Wishart 10-303 3TD, Hart 1-8, Kramp 2-8, Glunz 2-7 TD. Tackles: Delano — Hajas 10, Hart 8. QB Sacks: Delano — McManus, Hart.

Tigers hit the road tonight for date with the Dragons

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

DELANO — Delano looks to continue an impressive run toward a possible subdistrict title and the top spot for the sectino playoffs this week, when it travels to Litchfield.

The Tigers enter the game off a 34-20 home win over previously-unbeaten Annandale. The Tigers are 5-1 overall, and 4-0 in the East Central South Subdistrict.

Litchfield comes into the game against a hot Delano team off a last-minute 21-20 win over Watertown-Mayer. The Dragons are 2-4 overall, and 1-3 in the subdistrict.

If Delano wins its final two regular-season games — Friday at Litchfield and Wednesday at home against Watertown-Mayer (0-5, 1-5) — it will win the subdistrict title outright, as both Annandale (3-1, 5-1) and Glencoe-Silver Lake (3-1, 5-1) have a loss, both coming at the hands of the Tigers.

Delano is most concerned, however, with keeping the top seed it currently holds for the Section 6-4A playoffs.

“We are fighting for the number one or two seed, which allows us to have that Tuesday (first round) off,” said Delano coach Merrill Pavlovich. “That will give our bodies a rest.”

The Tigers, who are 0-1 in section games, currently hold the No. 8 QRF ranking in Class 4A.

Zimmerman, which handed Delano its only loss of the season in Week 1, is the No. 9 QRF. At 2-0 in section games and 6-0 overall, the Thunder will most likely move into the top spot if they run the table and the Tigers slip at all.

Delano quarterback Mike Shoultz receives the protection he needs on this pass play in the first quarter against Annandale Oct. 6 at Tiger Stadium. Shoultz threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the 34-20 win. The senior will attempt to burn the Dragons of Litchfield with his arm this Friday night. Photo by Matt Kane

Delano quarterback Mike Shoultz receives the protection he needs on this pass play in the first quarter against Annandale Oct. 6 at Tiger Stadium. Shoultz threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the 34-20 win. The senior will attempt to burn the Dragons of Litchfield with his arm this Friday night.
Photo by Matt Kane

Comparing squads entering Friday’s game at Litchfield, Delano’s offense holds an edge on Litchfield’s, more than doubling the Dragons in yards-per-game.

The Tigers average 173.3 yards passing and 221 yards rushing, for 394.3 total yards per game. The Dragons average 93.5 passing yards and 130.7 rushing yards for 224.2 total yards per game.

“They’ve had key injuries that have hurt them, and they lost some close games,” Pavlovich said of Litchfield. “They return one of the best backs in the conference.”

That back is senior Logan Nelson, who has 439 yards and five touchdowns for the season.

Nelson ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns against Watertown-Mayer.

“Logan Nelson has been a starter for the past three seasons,” said Litchfield coach Jim Jackman. “We will continue to run the ball with Logan Nelson, Isaac Rick, and Dylan Madsen.”

In the win over Watertown-Mayer, the Dragons ran the ball 50 times for 193 yards.

The Dragons’ run-heavy offense will present a different challenge for the Tiger defense, which has faced athletic, spread offenses over the previous three weeks.

“Those (runners) have years of experience and it will be a good test for our defense this week,” said Pavlovich. “We’ve added a few different concepts and changed some things.”

The changes to the Delano defense will include upfront, where the Tigers will use what little size they have.

Senior defensive tackle Wyatt McClay is the big man in the middle. He was good in the win over Annandale, and will be called upon to plug holes at the line of scrimmage at Litchfield.

Delano’s second line of defense against the running game is led by senior linebacker Steven Hajas, who has been unblockable this season.

Hajas has recorded 12-or-more tackles in each of the six games, and has 89 tackles for the season. He enjoyed a 22-tackle game in Delano’s Week 5, 41-36, win at Dassel-Cokato.

Tucker Hart and Isaiah McManus lead Delano’s defense with two quarterback sacks each.

That pass defense, which has just six sacks for the season, needs to get better, said Pavlovich.

“We have to improve our pass rush. We got to him only one time last Friday night,” said the coach. “There will be some younger players this week in the pass defense.”

Litchfield’s leading receiver is Jacob Schneider, who has four receptions for 160 yards and one touchdown.

One key injury Pavlovich referred to when talking about the Litchfield offense was to starting quarterback Max Tibbits.

Tibbits averaged 83.2 yards, having thrown four touchdowns in five games. The junior did not play at Watertown-Mayer, and his availability for the Delano game was not known midweek.

“He will be a game time decision,” Jackman said.

Matthew Wedin started at quarterback for the Dragons against Watertown-Mayer, and threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Schneider with two minutes to play.

In limited attempts, Wedin completed 3-of-9 passes for 38 yards.

As for Delano’s offense, it was happy to take what the Annandale defense gave it a week ago — the opportunity to run the football.

Delano ran 44 times for 247 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinals.

Juniors Sam Kern (138 yards) and Caden Link (104) both ran for more than 100 yards.

Link had two rushing touchdowns, and quarterback Mike Shoultz had one.

Kern leads the Delano rushing attack with 686 yards and five touchdowns. Link has seven rushing touchdowns and 386 yards.

The success in the running game against Annandale had to do with the Cardinals’ fear of allowing Delano receiversCalvin Wishart to beat them with any big plays.

Wishart was held to 35 yards and one touchdown on three catches by Annandale.

“They bracketed Calvin and we ran the ball very well,” said Pavlovich. “They can’t cover both.”

Wishart remains atop the state’s leader board in both receiving yards (827) and yards per game (137). He has nine touchdown catches, which ties him for second most.

Under center for the Tigers, Shoultz averages 146.3 passing yards per game. He has 12 touchdown passes and six interceptions.

“Delano has a number of skilled kids who can make huge plays,” said Jackman. “They are athletic, fast and physical.”

Seasons end for Delano soccer teams

By Matt Kane
Sports Editor

The quarterfinals of the Section 6A playoffs Thursday night marked the end of the line for both Delano soccer teams. The Tiger girls and boys both fell by 1-0 to their respective opponents.

Amelia Skartvedt and the Delano girls fell 1-0 at Heritage Christian Academy Thursday night in the quarterfinal round of the Section 6A tournament. The Delano boys' season also ended, via a 1-0 overtime loss at Mound-Westonka. Photo by Matt Kane

Amelia Skartvedt and the Delano girls fell 1-0 at Heritage Christian Academy Thursday night in the quarterfinal round of the Section 6A tournament. The Delano boys’ season also ended, via a 1-0 overtime loss at Mound-Westonka.
Photo by Matt Kane

A late goal by Heritage Christian Academy put an end to the Delano girls’ season. The host Eagles scored in the 73rd minute and that was the only goal of the game in a 1-0 outcome.

“Our team showed a lot of heart and played up to the level of a tough team,” said Delano coach Sean Roff. “It is unfortunate to end our season, but I am proud of the effort the girls showed and they played with a lot of heart.”

The lady Tigers end the 2017 season with an 9-7-1 record.

The Delano boys lost 1-0 in overtime at Mound-Westonka.

The Tiger boys finish with an 9-7-1 record.

In the girls tournament, Heritage Christian Academy plays at No. 2 Monticello Saturday in the semifinal round.

The other semifinal game has No. 1 Orono hosting No. 4 Robbinsdale Cooper at 11 a.m.

In the quarterfinals Thursday, the Orono girls defeated Rockford 2-0, and the Cooper girls defeated Maranatha 1-0.

The girls game at Orono begins in the morning because the No. 1 Orono boys will host No. 4 Monticello in the semifinal round at 1 p.m.

In the quarterfinals, Orono survived No. 8 Southwest Christian 3-2, and Monticello defeated No. 5 Rockford 4-1.

In the other half of the boys bracket, the win over Delano gave Mound-Westonka a semifinal home game against No. 6 Holy Family.

The Fire upset No. 3 Willmar 1-0 in the quarterfinals.

The championship games for both girls and boys are both on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Delano soccer teams advance

Delano goalkeeper Adam Taylor makes a save with Mayer Lutheran's Lukas Gilbert on his back Tuesday night at Tiger Stadium. Delano won the Section 6A game 4-0, and will play in the quarterfinals Thursday at Mound-Westonka. Photo by Matt Kane

Delano goalkeeper Adam Taylor makes a save with Mayer Lutheran’s Lukas Gilbert on his back Tuesday night at Tiger Stadium. Delano won the Section 6A game 4-0, and will play in the quarterfinals Thursday at Mound-Westonka.
Photo by Matt Kane

By Matt Kane
Sports Editor

Both Delano soccer teams lived to play on in their respective Section 6A tournaments Tuesday night at Tigers Stadium.

The Tiger girls led off a double-header with a 1-0 win over Mound-Westonka, and the Tiger boys followed with a 4-0 win over Mayer Lutheran.

Both Delano teams play quarterfinal games Thursday (Oct. 12).

The Delano girls go to Heritage Christian Academy for a 4 p.m. kickoff. The Tigers lost 3-1 to the Eagles during the regular season.

The Tiger boys go to Mound-Westonka for a 7 p.m. start. The White Hawks defeated the Tigers 2-1 during the regular season.

The winners will advance to the semifinals Saturday. The section finals for both tournaments will be played Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Delano's Eva Rousu tries to get her head to the ball ahead of Mound-Westonka's Avery Jenson during Tuesday's Section 6A game. Delano won the game 1-0, and will play at Heritage Christian Academy Thursday. Photo by Matt Kane

Delano’s Eva Rousu tries to get her head to the ball ahead of Mound-Westonka’s Avery Jenson during Tuesday’s Section 6A game. Delano won the game 1-0, and will play at Heritage Christian Academy Thursday.
Photo by Matt Kane

Section 6A Quarterfinal Schedule - Thursday, Oct. 12
Boys
No. 8 Southwest Christian at No. 1 Orono
No. 5 Rockford at No. 4 Monticello

No. 6 Holy Family at No. 3 Willmar
No. 7 Delano at No. 2 Mound-Westonka

Girls
No. 9 Rockford at No. 1 Orono
No. 12 Maranatha at No. 4 Robbinsdale Cooper

No. 6 Delano at No. 3 Heritage Christian
No. 10 Monticello at No. 7 Watertown-Mayer

Public invited to nominate athletes for Minnesota Sports Awards

MINNESOTA SPORTS AWARDS
PRESENTED BY SPORTS MINNEAPOLIS

PUBLIC MAY SUBMIT NOMINATIONS BY OCTOBER 13
Sports Minneapolis, Powered by Meet Minneapolis, announces the first-ever Minnesota Sports Awards — a gala event that celebrates the best of sports in Minnesota over the past year – which will take place on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, from 5-9pm at Target Center. From the athletes who have inspired us to the moments that captivated us, the awards will honor the success stories that embody the spirit of sports in Minnesota. Fans from across Minnesota are invited to nominate athletes in designated categories leading up to one memorable evening that shines a spotlight on the impact of sports in our state.

The evening’s awards show, dinner and entertainment will feature appearances by some of Minnesota’s best known athletes and sports legends, all teaming up to honor the high school, collegiate and professional athletes and sports figures who have shaped our sports scene and contributed to our communities. Award categories are:

High School Athlete of the Year
Awarded to the high school athlete who has set the highest standard for excellence in their sport and in their contributions to the community during the past year or athletic season.

Collegiate Athlete of the Year
Awarded to the collegiate athlete who has set the highest standard for excellence in their sport and in their contributions to the community during the past year or athletic season.

Professional Athlete of the Year
Awarded to the professional athlete who has set the highest standard for excellence in their sport and in their contributions to the community during the past year or athletic season. Presented by FOX Sports North.

Minnesota Sports Moment of the Year Award
Recognizing a single sports moment from a game or competition in the past year that energized Minnesota sports fans, displayed remarkable athletic skill or demonstrated incredible sportsmanship.

Courage Award
Awarded to an athlete or other sports figure who overcame significant challenges on or off the playing field, inspiring others with their courage, perseverance and determination.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Awarded to a person who has dedicated their career to furthering the success of sports in Minnesota and whose achievements have made a significant impact on the community over many years.

PUBLIC MAY SUBMIT NOMINATIONS BY OCT. 13
Fans of Minnesota sports from all over the state should visitwww.minnesotasportsawards.com and submit nominations now through Oct. 13, 2017. Nominees will be determined by the nominating committee selected by Sport Minneapolis Board of Directors with finalists and winners announced live on stage at the gala on Dec. 13.

Questions about the Minnesota Sports Awards can be submitted directly toMinnesotaSportsAwards@SportsMinneapolis.org.

MINNESOTA PROFESSIONAL TEAMS PROVIDE SUPPORT
Minnesota’s six major professional sports teams and the University of Minnesota are all Founding Partners of Sports Minneapolis. One representative from each organization sits on the Sports Minneapolis Board of Directors, and have collaborated with Sports Minneapolis to create the Minnesota Sports Awards and the Ultimate Sports Ticket.

“The Minnesota Twins organization applauds Sports Minneapolis on the creation of the Minnesota Sports Awards,” said Dave St. Peter, President and CEO. “The vision for the Minnesota Sports Awards is truly a celebration of the state’s rich sports community. The Twins look forward to collaborating with others to ensure the development of a signature event designed to recognize deserving teams, athletes, coaches, executives and fans.”

“The Minnesota Wild is proud to support the first-ever Minnesota Sports Award gala event that will help recognize and honor the best athletes and stories from all around our great state,” said Mitch Helgerson, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Ticket Sales.

“We are honored to take part in the first-ever Minnesota Sports Awards and we thank our friends at Sports Minneapolis for putting together this great event,” said Timberwolves & Lynx CEO Ethan Casson . “Minnesota has not only a great professional sports landscape, but also incredible programs at all ages to develop young athletes. At the Timberwolves and Lynx, we’re dedicated to growing the game we love, and we are glad our state will have this platform to recognize the contributions of those who make this such a great community in which to play sports.”

“To bring all our professional sports teams together in celebration of the best of Minnesota sports shows a tremendous spirit of collaboration and teamwork,” said Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren. “This unprecedented event provides an opportunity to recognize Minnesota athletes of all levels and raise funds dedicated to Sports Minneapolis’ continued focus on bringing major sporting events to our state.”

“For us, as a soccer team, sport is a global phenomenon, and we have players who come from all over the world. But we believe they come here for a reason, and that’s because Minnesota is a great state for sports at all levels, from rec leagues to high schools to colleges to the pros,” said Nick Rogers, President, Minnesota United FC. “The Minnesota Sports Awards are recognizing athletes at all levels, and that’s one of the biggest reasons Minnesota United is supporting them.”

“At its best, sports offers us the opportunity to celebrate some of the key traits and qualities that we want to see in leaders and role models. It’s easy to lose sight of the amazing things athletic competition can teach us over the course of the year,” said Mark Coyle , University of Minnesota Athletics Director. “The Minnesota Sports Awards is a night that embraces this great aspect of sports, an event for us all to relive the best moments of the previous year and recognize Minnesota athletes and coaches who have achieved, persevered and excelled.”

“Sports are the number one reason people visit Minneapolis and are a major economic driver for tourism in our region,” said Melvin Tennant, Executive Director, Sports Minneapolis and President & CEO, Meet Minneapolis. “Sports Minneapolis, powered by Meet Minneapolis, is proud to have the support of all our major professional teams and the University of Minnesota for this new event and for the work we do to bring athletes and fans to the area. We could not succeed without teamwork, and that is something this community excels in.”

EVENT INFORMATION
Show: Minnesota Sports Awards
Venue: Target Center
Show Date/Time: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 from 5pm-9pm.
Ticket Prices: $195 – $5,000
On Sale Info: Individual tickets and tables for the gala event at Target Center start at $195 and are available now for purchase online at www.sportsminneapolis.org/minnesota-sports-awards/ticket-information. The evening will include dinner, entertainment and a silent auction.

FB: Tigers knock off previously-unbeaten Cardinals

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

DELANO — The battle between two hot teams went to Delano Oct. 6, when the Tigers defeated previously-unbeaten Annandale 34-20 at Tiger Stadium.

With the win, Delano moved a winning streak to five games, and improved to 5-1 overall and to 4-0 in the East Central South Subdistrict. The loss was the first of the season for Annandale, which dropped to 5-1 overall and to 3-1 in the Subdistrict.

“That means a lot,” said Delano senior linebacker Steven Hajas of the win over a top opponent. “We have two more games, and we can probably get that district championships.”

Delano's Isaiah McManus chases down Annandale's Boyd Rassatt in the second quarter of last Friday night's game in Delano. McManus was all over the field. He forced a fumble on the opening kickoff and had a quarterback sack in the Tigers' 34-20 win Photo by Matt Kane.

Delano’s Isaiah McManus chases down Annandale’s Boyd Rassatt in the second quarter of last Friday night’s game in Delano. McManus was all over the field. He forced a fumble on the opening kickoff and had a quarterback sack in the Tigers’ 34-20 win
Photo by Matt Kane.

Early on, it appeared as if Delano was off to running away with an easy victory over the Cardinals, who entered ranked No. 4 in Class 3A. The Tigers scored touchdowns on all three of their first-quarter drives, and, after a late, second-quarter touchdown by the Cardinals, carried a 20-7 lead into halftime.

The third-quarter consisted of the Tigers and Cardinals exchanging punches. On two occasions, Delano landed the first blow, followed by a retaliation strike by the Cardinals.

Delano tried to maintain the balanced offensive attack it had used in the first five weeks, but Annandale did a fine job of limiting the Tigers’ passing attack by smothering leading receiver Calvin Wishart.

Wishart did make the highlight reel on KARE 11 Prep Sports Extra, the camera capturing the senior’s 25-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Mike Shoultz. That touchdown grab, however, was about it for Wishart on offense. He finished with three catches and 35 yards for the game.

“We could have gone to Calvin a few more times, but, if they are going to put two guys on that side of the field, we think we’ve got them outnumbered on the weak side, which we did,” said Delano coach Merrill Pavlovich of taking advantage of what the Annandale defense gave the Tigers.

Wishart did make a catch for the Delano defense, intercepting a pass late in the game.

Delano’s leading receiver against Annandale was senior tight end Hunter Hart, who caught three balls for 49 yards and his second receiving touchdown of the seasons.

Tight end Garrett Kramp was the only other Tiger to catch a pass. He caught one ball for 14 yards.

Do the math, that is 98 yards through the air for Delano on a 7-for-16 passing day for Shoultz, who was intercepted once.

The Tigers averaged 188.4 yards through the air entering the game.

Fortunately for the Tigers, the big-numbers receiving game was not necessary to take down the Cardinals, as the running game did enough damage on its own, toting the ball 44 times for 247 yards and three touchdowns.

Juniors Sam Kern and Caden Link both eclipsed the 100-yard mark and combined for 242 yards and two touchdowns.

Link ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.

Kern did not find the end zone, but did rush for 138 yards on 15 carries.

“We did a lot of good things on offense. They bracketed Calvin and took him out, and I thought we ran the ball as well as we have in a long time,” said Pavlovich. “Between Link and Kern, we had some big carries. I attribute that to the offensive line, and Hart played well on the end and so did (Christopher) Glunz.”

The Tigers’ other rushing touchdown came from Shoultz, who opened the scoring with a one-yard sneak less than two minutes after kickoff.

A bad snap thwarted the extra-point try following Shoultz’s fourth-down scoring plunge, and the Tigers led 6-0.

That quick touchdown for Delano came four plays after Annandale fumbled away the opening kickoff. Isaiah McManus made the hit and Edward Hajas recovered the loose ball at the Cardinals’ 10-yard line.

Delano’s defense turned Annandale over on downs on the ensuing drive, and its offense responded with a seven-play, 76-yard scoring drive that ended with Wishart’s touchdown catch.

Shoultz’s two-point conversion pass to Wishart was incomplete, and the Tigers led 12-0.

Delano’s defense, again, stood its ground on Annandale’s next possession and forced a punt, and. And, again the offense gave thanks with a lengthy scoring drive.

This time, Delano covered 81 yards on six plays, capping the possession with Hart’s 14-yard touchdown catch as time expired.

The big play of the drive was the first play, a 67-yard run by Kern.

The Tigers finally got a conversion correct, Shoultz hitting Wishart with a pass for two points and a 20-0 lead.

A quarterback sack by McManus on fourth down turned the Cardinals over on downs. This time, the Tiger offense did nothing, and punted on fourth down.

Annandale took over at its own 11-yard line, and marched the final 89 yards on 15 plays to get on the scoreboard.

Jackson Helget scored on a three-yard run. The kick by Lauren Meidinger was good.

It was the first of three touchdown runs by Helget.

Delano hoped to put more points on the board before halftime with the ball on the Annandale 15-yard line, but a penalty and an interceptions erased the thought, and the Tigers took the 20-7 lead into halftime.

The Tigers threw the first punch in the second half seven plays in, when Link scored on a seven-yard run. Annandale answered with a three-yard touchdown run by Helget.

A failed run and a blocked extra point following the two scores had the score at 26-13 in favor of the Tigers.

Delano was forced to punt on its next possession, but got the ball right back when Annandale fumbled the punt return at the Cardinals’ 21-yard line.

Four plays later, Link scored on a one-yard run, then ran in the two-point conversion to make it 34-13.

It took Annandale’s offense just three plays to respond to Link’s second touchdown run.

On the third play, Cardinals’ quarterback Leo Healy hit Nick Bieniek over the middle and then sat back and watched the receiver burn through the Delano secondary for a 44-yard touchdown strike.

Meidinger’s kick was good to make it 34-20 with 1:30 to play in the third quarter.

Annandale went for the onside kick and recovered the ball near midfield, but an offside penalty negated the recovery.

Annandale put together two lengthy drives in the fourth quarter, but neither ended in points.

Wishart, who plays center field in Delano’s prevent defense, intercepted Dealy on the 14th play of the first drive of the final quarter. The second drive was ended by the scoreboard horn signaling the end of the game.

The win over a ranked opponents was a good one, but allowing Annandale to hang around, especially in the second half, had to do with some undisciplined play by the Delano defense, according to their coach.

“I’m not happy with the way we played. I shouldn’t feel this way after a win. We can’t have those breakdowns on defense, and you can’t get into a fighting war. I think we had four or five 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalties. That can come back to haunt us,” Pavlovich said. “Our focus on defense needs to improve. The last two weeks, we’ve been exposed, I think. They ran traps against us, and we didn’t defend them very well. I can’t blame the sophomores this week, because they weren’t there. We just have to be a better defensive team.”

Annandale finished with 366 yards of offense.

Hajas led that Delano defense with 17 tackles.

“We came out a little flat,” he said of the second half, then giving Annandale’s offense some credit. “That running back was really good. He was good at reading the holes, so our defense had to wait a little longer to wait for him to commit, so that gave their O-line more time to set up their blocks.”

As always, the final two games of the regular season are squeezed together because of MEA Week. The Tigers go to Litchfield this Friday (Oct. 13), and finished five days later, Wednesday, Oct. 15, at home against Watertown-Mayer.

 

DELANO 34, Annandale 20

Friday, Oct. 6

Delano High School

1 2 3 4 – F

Annandale 0 7 13 0 – 20

Delano 20 0 14 0 – 34

Scoring

First Quarter

10:40: D – Shoultz 1-yard run (kick failed), 6-0

4:15: D – Shoultz 25-yard pass to Wishart (run failed), 12-0

0:00: D – Shoultz 15-yard pass to Hart (Shoultz pass to Wishart), 20-0

Second Quarter

1:43: A – Helget 3-yard run (Meidinger kick), 20-7

Third Quarter

9:39: D – Link 7-yard run (conversion failed), 26-7

6:52: A – Helget 3-yard run (kick failed), 26-13

2:34: D – Link 1-yard run (Link run), 34-13

1:30: A – Healy 44-yard pass to Bieniek (Meidinger kick), 1:30

Fourth Quarter

No scoring

Statistics

TEAM Total Yards: Delano 345. Rushing: Delano 44-247 3TD. Passing: Delano 7-98 2TD.

INDIVIDUALS Rushing: Delano — Kern 15-138, Link 21-104 2TD, Shoultz 7-7 TD, Wishart 1–2. Passing: Delano — Shoultz 7/16-98 2TD INT. Receiving: Delano — Hart 3-49 TD, Wishart 3-35 TD, Kramp 1-14. Tackles: Delano — Hajas 17, Link 9, McDonald 8, Paulson 8. Interceptions: Delano — Wishart. QB Sacks: Delano — McManus.