Cougars race by Greyhounds, move on to section finals

NEW ULM — Cedar Mountain sophomore quarterback Carson Schiller threw three touchdown passes and the Cougars’ defense forced four New Ulm Cathedral turnovers in the first half as the Cougars topped the Greyhounds 32-14 Saturday in a Section 2, Nine-Man football semifinals game.

Schiller launched scoring tosses of 11 yards to Blake Steffl while finding Branndon Pendleton for touchdown passes of 66 and 20 yards.

Pendleton also scored on a 20-yard run, with Cooper Freitag adding a 1-yard run.

Jevan Wilfahrt scored on a 1-yard run and added a 12-yard touchdown pass to Rylan Koopmann.

Cedar Mountain, now 6-3, will play Red Rock Central on Friday in Cottonwood for the section title.

New Ulm Cathedral sees its season end at 6-3.

“Give Cedar Mountain credit for capitalizing on our mistakes in the first half,” New Ulm Cathedral head coach Denny Lux said. “They were able to set the tone on how the game was going to go in the first half.”

Cedar Mountain head coach Dwane Jemmings said that his game plan on Saturday was to shut down the Greyhounds’ running game.

“When we played them in Week 4 (a 22-19 win for the Greyhounds) we ran a total 18 plays on offense and scored three touchdowns,” he said. “So if we shut down their running game, we would be fine. We did that and I have not seen our team play this good in a long time.”

Cedar Mountain got right to business on its first possession, going 75 yards on four plays, ending with a Schiller-to-Steffl touchdown pass of 11 yards.

The Cougars forced the first of four Cathedral turnovers in the first half when a Greyhounds fumble went out of the end zone for a touchback.

Five plays later, Schiller hit Pendleton for a long 66-yard scoring strike.

A second Cathedral turnover late in the first quarter deep in its own territory set the stage for a short four-play, 24-yard march that saw Freitag run in from a yard out for an 18-0 lead with 35 seconds left in the first quarter.

“We set tone in the first half,” Jemmings said. “And all year we have been talking about Branndon Pendleton and getting him involved in the game and today when Cathedral had that big run and he tackled the runner and then knocked the ball out of the end zone. Right there that could have been a 6-6 game. That was one of the biggest momentum swings there.”

Cedar Mountain capped off a dominating first half when Pendleton powered in from 2 yards out with 28 seconds left for a 25-0 halftime lead.

Cathedral pieced together a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Wilfahrt one yard run.

While it was a scoring drive, it took over six minutes to complete.

“Maybe some teams are built better for catch-up football than we are, but we gave it a good effort in the second half,” Lux said.

Schiller’s third touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter upped the lead to 32-8.

Jemmings said that moving Freitag from quarterback to running back and replacing him with Schiller has made a difference.

“That has helped a lot,” he said. “We knew that Carson is good player and if we could get him in, he would take advantage of that. Since we made that change our offense is so much better.

“This will be two of the last three years that we have been in the section finals. I am proud of the team and our goal is to win the section.”

Jaden Helget rushed for 39 yards on eight carries for Cathedral, while Josh Bentler had 11 carries for 41 yards and Koopman had 13 carries for 57 yards. Logan Mielke had a 2-point conversion catch also for Cathedral.

Joe Gillis led the Greyhounds with 17 tackles, while Jake Finstad, Mielke and Wilfahrt were all in on eight tackles.


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