Fulton powers Wabasso to win

SLEEPY EYE – Mitchell Fulton was almost untouchable.

The senior running back rushed for 294 yards on 29 carries and one touchdown in helping lead No. 6-ranked Wabasso to a 33-8 win against Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s in a Southwest District, East Subdistrict football game on Friday.

“We had a game plan where we would try to get up on their smaller defensive backs and linebackers and try to make them tackle our big backs and I think we successfully did that and we wore on them as the game went on,” Wabasso coach Joe Kemp said. “We played a really good physical game against a really good physical team. That team is really good and the score didn’t indicate it. But our kids executed the game plan perfectly.”

Fulton got the Rabbits (3-1) going on their first drive with a 61-yard run to the opposing 8-yard line. This eventually set up a 1-yard run by junior quarterback Nick Altermatt to put the Rabbits up 7-0.

Fulton broke free again for a huge run in the second quarter, slipping past the secondary for a 66-yard touchdown run.

“He’s a workhorse and I think that’s where he’s improved from last year is he’s going to give us 25, 30 carries and he put himself in shape physically for that type of thing,” Kemp said. “The big thing is we stacked the box so if you miss Mitchell or Jared [Welch], they’ve got the speed to pull away from you.

“And in the open field, you don’t want to be a safety coming up on those guys.”

Welch, a senior 250-pound fullback, was held to 15 yards rushing in the first half but later broke for a 14-yard gain, during which he pushed the defenders back about 8 or 9 yards after contact while backing into them and churning his legs. Welch finished with 48 yards on 14 carries for one touchdown, which came on a 1-yard run on fourth down at the tail end of an 11-play drive to open the second half.

Altermatt accounted for three of the Rabbits’ touchdowns – rushing for scores of 1 and 5 yards as well as a 16-yard touchdown pass to Colton Taylor.

After a Week 1 injury and the grind of getting back into it, Altermatt’s performance was reassuring.

“We can throw the ball better; we didn’t throw the ball great tonight, but taking a couple weeks off will do that to you,” Kemp said. “Don’t turn the ball over. We’ve got some weapons and if Nick continues to make smart decisions, we’re going to be able to make plays.”

Senior quarterback Nick Strate was 7-for-21 passing for 71 yards, but failed to reach the end zone for the Knights (2-2). He found fellow senior Nic Helget five times for 60 yards, including a 41-yard grab that kept a third-quarter drive alive.

Freshman quarterback Nick Labat was 2-for-2 in the Knights’ final possession, during which he found sophomore Carter Currans from 28 yards out for a touchdown.

St. Mary’s hosts Minnesota Valley Lutheran for its Homecoming game next week, while Wabasso will play Red Rock Central in Lamberton.

Wabasso 7 12 8 6 – 33

St. Mary’s 0 0 0 8 – 8

Scoring

First quarter

W – Altermatt 1-yd TD run (Welch PAT good), 4:13

Second quarter

W – Altermatt to Col Taylor 16-yd TD pass (Welch PAT no good), 10:17

W – Fulton 66-yd TD run (Welch PAT no good), 5:24

Third quarter

W – Welch 1-yd TD run (2-pt. conv. good), 6:39

Fourth quarter

W – Altermatt 5-yd TD run (Col Taylor PAT no good), 3:01

S – Labat to Currans 28-yd TD pass (2-pt. conv. good), 1:08

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