It’s on to state for Alden-Conger

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 1, 2008

The timing couldn’t have been better for the Alden-Conger football team and head coach Chad Mattson.

Ten years to the day that the Knights won their last Section 2 championship they defeated Nicollet 18-0 Friday night in Alden. Mattson was the quarterback of the 1998 team and Friday’s win made his 28th birthday even better.

“I was hoping for this all day,” Mattson said.

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The rematch of a week six meeting that saw Alden-Conger win 34-32 in double overtime proved not as thrilling as the Knights controlled play from the opening kickoff.

Nick Wach returned the opening kickoff down to the Raiders 15 yard line. Four plays later Alden-Conger quarterback Lucas Kleinschrodt scored on a fourth-and-5 from 11 yards out, 1 minute, 29 seconds into the game.

After a second quarter touchdown run by David Troska that made the game 12-0 the Knights did not score again until the fourth quarter.

Wach was a spark plug for the Knights all game long despite the offense being unable to score more points. In the third quarter Wach caught a pass from Kleinschrodt on a seam route to bring the ball to the Nicollet 6 yard line. Alden-Conger failed to score on that drive as four penalties drove the offense back to the 26 yard line. But Wach did the same thing on the very next drive on a nearly identical play that brought the Knights to the Raiders 4 yard line. A fumble on the next play cost Alden-Conger a chance to score.

E.J. Knight scored his first touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter when he powered his way to the end zone from 8 yards out to put the game at 18-0 with 5:09 remaining, giving the Knights the championship.

“It’s amazing,” Wach said. “We’ve worked all season for this one moment.”

Knight finished with a 102 yards, most of which came in the second half, along with 31 yards receiving. It was another big performance from Knight against Nicollet.

“He’s a tough runner,” Wach said. “He’s going to be there for us, we really appreciate his running.”

Last time against the Raiders Knight led the team with 232 yards as the team rushedfor 448 yards. The second time around the Knights had 208 yards on the ground.

“I give it all to the linemen,” Knight said. “Can’t do anything without them.”

Heading into the game Mattson said the offensive line was going to be a key for Alden-Conger and it proved up to the task. Aside from giving up two sacks and some penalties the unit performed well.

With the memory of the last meeting between the two teams still fresh, there was a little concern about the narrow lead at halftime.

“We knew last game we blew that lead,” said Wach about the 20-0 lead Alden-Conger built in the last meeting. “We just kept telling ourselves it wasn’t going to happen this time.”

The offense didn’t exactly alleviate any concerns in the second half, but the defense eliminated any chance of the Raiders making a comeback. The Knights had four drives stall inside the Nicollet 20 in the second half, but the defense kept the Raiders off the board. Alden-Conger limited Nicollet to 62 yards on offense and four first downs in the game.

“We kind of hurt ourselves again down inside like last time against these guys with some mistakes,” Mattson said. “In the end it didn’t hurt us because the defense stepped up.”

The defense came up with three turnovers in the game and was able to pressure Raiders freshman quarterback Sean Murphy for most of the game. Murphy was playing in place of starting quarterback Jordan Rudenick. Rudenick played at wide receiver with a cast over his throwing arm.

“The front line really put a lot of pressure on the quarterback and our coverage was spectacular,” Mattson said. “All around they all did their job.”

Next up for the Knights will be Clinton-Gracville-Beardsley. The Wolverines are 11-0 on the season and defeated Westbrook-Walnut Grove 8-7 Friday night in the Section 3 championship. Alden-Conger will meet Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley at Southwest State University in Marshall next Friday at 5 p.m.

Alden-Conger 18, Nicollet 0

Nicollet 0 0 0 0 — 0

A-C 8 8 0 8 — 8

First Quarter

A-C – Lucas Kleinschrodt 11 run (kick failed)

Second Quarter

A-C – David Troska 22 run (kick failed)

Third Quarter

No scoring

Fourth Quarter

A-C – E.J. Knight 8 run (kick failed)

Total offense

Nicollet – 62

A-C – 327

Total rushing

A-C – 208

Total passing

A-C – 119