The Mille Lacs County Times » Sports http://millelacscountytimes.com The Mille Lacs County Times cover community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for Milaca, Minnesota and it's surrounding areas. Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:32:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wolves suffer thunderous defeat http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/16/wolves-suffer-thunderous-defeat/ http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/16/wolves-suffer-thunderous-defeat/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:15:02 +0000 http://millelacscountytimes.com/?p=108175 For the first 17 minutes of the first half, the Milaca varsity team’s defense played at a championship level, holding the high-octane Zimmerman offense scoreless.
But in the final 7 minutes of the second quarter, the Thunder proved hard for the visiting Wolves to handle.
Milaca gave up three touchdowns on the way to the halftime intermission and surrendered 20 points in the game’s final two quarters. The Wolves failed to put the ball in the end zone as Zimmerman easily claimed a 38-0 win in Granite Ridge Conference football action.
And the Thunder did their damage with a backup quarterback. Starter Matthew Dorso left the game with a knee injury early in the first half, giving way to Alex Riley. Riley threw a 33-yard touchdown pass on his only completion of the night and scored two touchdowns on 64 yards rushing, including a 19-yard quarterback keeper for a touchdown.
It was a night that the Thunder ran over the Wolves.
Zimmerman rushed the ball on 60 of 63 offensive plays, accumulating 377 yards on the ground — an average of 6.3 yards per carry. Five of the Thunder’s six touchdowns came on the ground, including a 29-yard run for the first score of the game and a 19-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.
Milaca had 140 total yards as Zimmerman limited a usually active passing game to 103 yards. Nathan Hass hit receiver Mike Garber twice for 35 yards and running back Teddy Blenkush three times for 34 yards. Levi Hunt and Nick Reibel also had three receptions for 22 and 8 yards, respectively.
Zimmerman all but stopped the Wolves’ running attack, allowing 37 yards on 25 rushing attempts for an average of 1.5 yards per carry. Bryce Kohlgraf was Milaca’s top rusher with 26 yards on two carries. Hunter Deluge, the top rusher a week earlier against Becker, was held to 12 yards on three carries.
The Wolves got a good idea what they were in for against Zimmerman on their first drive. They committed a holding penalty on the first play of the game, followed by a 5-yard, two incomplete passes and a punt that netted just 20 yards.
Zimmerman turned around and ran the ball down field with relative ease but came up short of scoring with a fumble at the Milaca 9-yard line. Milaca’s Garber pounced on the ball for the turnover.
Three plays later Milaca quarterback Nathan Hass connected with Garber on a 31-yard pass for one of Milaca’s biggest offensive highlights of the game.
On Zimmerman’s next drive, the Wolves forced what appeared to be a three-and-out. On fourth and eight Zimmerman punter Austin May ran a fake but Wolves defender Austin Weidner came up with a big tackle short of the first-down marker to force a turnover on downs.
Early in the second quarter a Hass pass was intercepted by Trent Milless to set up the game’s first touchdown. Six plays later Thunder running back Ben Schnellman took a 29-yard run into the end zone. A two-point conversion run by running back Mack Riley was no good. Zimmerman had a 6-0 lead.
Zimmerman lined up for the ensuing kickoff and sent a pooch kick toward the Zimmerman sideline. Zimmerman recovered the live ball at the Milaca 38-yard line.
Fifty-two seconds and four running plays later, the ball was at the Milaca 5-yard line. Quarterback Alex Riley took the ball into the end zone on the next play for a 12-0 lead. A two-point conversion run for Alex Riley failed.
It was 2:45 later that Alex Riley hit Haydon Miller for a 33-yard touchdown reception and an 18-0 lead. An Alex Riley pass on the two-point conversion failed.
Zimmerman took kickoff to open the third quarter and marched 61 yards in four minutes. On second-and-eight from the Milaca 19, Riley peeled off a run for his second touchdown of the game. For the fourth consecutive time, the Milaca defense stopped Zimmerman’s two-point conversion attempt to hold the Thunder to a 24-0 lead.
It looked like Milaca would get its best scoring opportunity of the game following its next series. After going three-and-out, Milaca lined up to punt. Zimmerman appeared to fumble the ball at its own 36-yard line. Milaca’s Josh Otten recovered the fumble, but after a conference among the referees, the call was reversed and the ball awarded to Zimmerman. Nine plays later, with 2:05 remaining in the third quarter, Andrew Nixon put Zimmerman up 30-0 with a 4-yard touchdown run. The Joe Loija kick was good, putting Zimmerman up 31-0.
Early in the fourth quarter Milaca did get its best field position of the game after an errant pitch from Zimmerman quarterback Riley. Milaca fell on the ball at the Zimmerman 35-yard line. On fourth down, Hass connected with Hunt on a pass that appeared to set the Wolves up in the red zone at the 20-yard line. But a holding penalty brought the ball back and set up a fourth and long. A Hass pass was knocked down at the line of scrimmage, turning the ball over to the Thunder.
Zimmerman got the ball back at their own 30 with 5:24 remaining in the game. Running back Carter Janu came into the game and rushed on nine consecutive plays for 70 yards, capped by a 10-yard run into the end zone for another touchdown. A Loija kick for the extra point put Zimmerman up 38-0.
Milaca’s record dropped to 1-5 in the Granite Ridge Conference and 1-6 overall. The Wolves traveled to Husky Stadium at St. Cloud State University on Wednesday where they took on St. Cloud Cathedral in Granite Ridge football action.
The Wolves return to the field next week in playoff action. Since the final season was not yet complete when this edition of the Times went to press Tuesday evening, Milaca’s opponent, location and game time were not known. Updates will be posted online at http://www.millelacscountytimes.com as they become available.

Zimmerman 38,
Milaca 0
Zimmerman   0  18   13   7   – 38
Milaca            0   0     0     0   – 0

Scoring
Zim—Ben Schnellman 29 run (run failed)
Zim—Alex Riley 5 run (run failed)
Zim—Haydon Miller 36 pass from Riley (pass failed)
Zim—Riley 19 run (run failed)
Zim—Andrew Nixon 4 run (Joe Loija kick)
Zim—Carter Janu 9 run (Loija kick)

Individual Statistics
Rushing: Milaca – Bryce Kohlgraf 2-26, Hunter Deluge 3-12, Luke Manoleff 5-5, Teddy Blenkush 2-1, Nick Reibel 2-0, Nathan Hass 11- -7. Zimmerman –  Austin May 16-100, Carter Janu 8-70, Alex Riley 10-64, Andrew Nixon 8-49, Ben Schnellman 5-45, Trent Milless 4-19, Haydon Miller 3-18, Matthew Dorso 2-11, Joe Loija 1-2, Mack Riley 3- -1.
Receiving: Milaca – Mike Garber 2-35, Teddy Blenkush 3-34, Levi Hunt 3-22, Nick Reibel 3-8, Dylan Hakes 1-4. Zimmerman – Haydon Miller 1-33, Andrew Nixon 1-24.
Passing: Milaca – Nathan Hass 11-22-99-0-1, Blake Kiel 1-2-4-0-0. Zimmerman – Alex Riley 1-2-33-1-0, Matthew Dorso 1-1-24-0-0.

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Wolves runners find success at Purple Pride http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/16/wolves-runners-find-success-at-purple-pride/ http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/16/wolves-runners-find-success-at-purple-pride/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:13:08 +0000 http://millelacscountytimes.com/?p=108171 The Wolves were gearing up for last Tuesday’s conference cross-country meet with two top-five finishes and three top-10 finishes at the Oct. 7 Purple Pride Invitational cross-country meet in Albany.
Milaca was running in the conference meet Tuesday as this edition of the Times was in production.
A week earlier at Albany, Milaca ninth-grader Jon Hall continued toward his goal of a conference title with a third-place win at the Purple Pride. Hall ran the course in 17:14.91 and trailed only Nate Sourther of Big Lake (16:41.90) and Noah Moravec of Mora (16:56.38).
Sam Berg (23, 18:39.62) and Drey Thomas-Ferry (30, 19:19.80) rounded out the top 30 for the varsity boys.
In varsity girls competition, it was Anna Donnay of Eden Valley-Watkins taking first place with a time of 15:23.00. Alex Ploeger was Milaca’s top finisher with a run of 16:54.64, good enough for 10th place. Teammate Emma Bolt (20,17:31.06) was the only other top-30 finisher for the Wolves varsity girls.
Milaca’s younger runners had a good day at Albany.
In junior high girls action,  Jerica Ploeger earned a second-place finish (13:45.50) and missed out on first place by 6.21 seconds. The Wolves also got strong performances from Cherramae Erickson (7, 14:51.88) and Brooklyn Eggen (15, 15:26.25) to put three runners in the top 15.
Kendall Rensenbrink turned in a seventh-place finish in JV action (18:14.02). Rensenbrink ran a new personal best by over a minute, cross-country head coach Dave Dillan said.
She was the only girls JV runner to crack the top 30.
In boys JV action, four runners finished in the top 25. Joe Baker led the JV squad with an 11th place finish and a time of 20:02.49. Sam Petty (13, 20:07.92), Brett Husman (16, 20:17.19) and Zack Korvela (21, 20:26.85) rounded out the JV runners finishing in the top 25.
In junior high action, Samuel Bolt led the Wolves with a run of 13:21.79, good for 18th place. Dominick Smith crossed the finish line three places later. His run of 13:41.10 was good for 21st place.

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Volleyball earns home playoff game http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/16/108168/ http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/16/108168/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:11:52 +0000 http://millelacscountytimes.com/?p=108168 Milaca’s volleyball team was fighting to achieve a certain goal all season.
They wanted a home playoff game.
Just about a year ago Milaca earned the fifth seed in the playoffs, pitting the girls against fourth seed Rush City.
“Five versus four was rough. I think the home court advantage cost us a few points,” said head volleyball coach James Taylor.
This year, the girls wanted more control over their own destiny. That happened Tuesday afternoon when coaches’ votes were counted and playoff seedings set.
To Taylor’s surprise, the Wolves were voted the number three seed. He had hoped for the number four.
The Wolves’ reward for their number three seed is a Thursday, Oct. 3 playoff opener at home against Fridley. Game time is at 7 p.m.
Taylor had said before last week’s game action that his girls needed a couple wins to help improve their playoff chances.
The volleyball team needed a spark going into the final full week of the season, Taylor said, and ignited a winning attitude with two wins as the girls closed in on that home playoff game.
The Wolves earned a 3-1 home win Monday, Oct. 6 against Pine City and a 3-0 victory on the road Thursday, Oct. 9 at Zimmerman. Sandwiched in between was a 3-0 loss to Becker.
“Overall it was a great week as we were able to get two wins,” Taylor. Said.
Against Pine City, the girls opened by winning their first two games 25-18 and 25-22.
“We started strong,” Taylor said. The first two games were nice wins, but we started playing sloppy towards the end of the second game and that continued into the third game.”
Pine City answered with a 25-18 win. Too many errors and inconsistent play meant a win for the Dragons, Taylor said.
Milaca rallied from a 14-19 deficit to take the match 25-19 to earn the win. Molly Banks got a kill that brought Karna Terpstra to the serving line. WIth Terpstra serving, Milaca scored 10 in a row. Terpstra had 5 aces in that run.
The back row of Melanie Drew and Kristina Loegering dug well all night. Each had 22 digs. Banks had 14 kills, Taylor said.
In the loss to Becker, Milaca wasn’t able  to get its offense going. With 25-22, 25-12,  and 25-8 games, the Wolves lost 3-0.
“We were in the first game and Becker gave us opportunities like an overpass on a serve,but we didn’t score on their errors and they eventually started to play better and took the match.
The last game we just got stuck in a rotation that we couldn’t get out of . Not many good stats as we only had 9 kills all night,” Taylor said.
Two days later, the Wolves dominated the Thunder at Zimmerman in what Taylor called the girls’ best match of the season. The girls won 3-0, winning their games 25-8, 25-7,  25-15.5
“I have never seen them play so consistent and confident as we did Thursday night. I was very pleased with every part of our game,” Taylor said.
Milaca served 71 of 73 balls in with 7 aces. Four of those came from Karna Terpstra.
“We passed and played defense almost perfectly,” Taylor said. “We covered, dug, and blocked everything Zimmerman tried all night. Our setters were on with their set ups and our hitters took turns as being the star for all three games.”
Paige Quaintance led the Wolves in the first game, pounding 5 kills from the middle. Molly Banks and Nadesha Dohm were efficient from the outside, leading the Wolves attack in games two and three.
Malayna Sikkink had a  double double with 13 set assists and 11 digs for the night.
The Wolves travelled to Mora for a Tuesday night match. Tonight (Thursday, Oct. 16) Milaca travels to Upsala for a tournament. Milaca faces Royalton, Bertha-Hewitt and Melrose in its pool.

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Swimmers make mark at True Team event http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/16/swimmers-make-mark-at-true-team-event/ http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/16/swimmers-make-mark-at-true-team-event/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:08:34 +0000 http://millelacscountytimes.com/?p=108165 Milaca’s Chloe Hendrickson swims the 200 individual medley Oct. 9 against Albany. Hendrickson took first in the event.Times photo by Jeff Hage

Milaca’s Chloe Hendrickson swims the 200 individual medley Oct. 9 against Albany. Hendrickson took first in the event. Times photo by Jeff Hage

The Milaca swimming and diving team is optimistic about the upcoming section tournament after a fifth-place showing at the Saturday, Oct. 11, True Team sectional meet at Becker High School.
Eighth-grader Chloe Hendrickson led the girls with four medals while sisters Rachel and Tara Airhart earned three medals each. Ashley Cassens and Breanna Mehrwerth were two-time medalists. The top eight swimmers or teams in each event were awarded as a true team medalists.
The best showing of the day for the Wolves was in the 400 freestyle relay, with Tara Airhart, Mehrwerth, Hendrickson and Rachel Airhart swimming for Milaca. The girls finished with a time of 4:00.64, just 3.51 seconds behind first place Monticello’s time of 3:56.13 and about one second behind second-place Becker’s 3:59.56.
Hendrickson had a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 200 individual medley (a combination of the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle) and the 100 backstroke. In the 200 individual medley, Hendrickson finished with a 2:28.65, 6.6 seconds off the first-place swimmer from Monticello. In the 100-yard backstroke, she finished with a 1:09.05, about 3 seconds behind Sauk Rapids’ first place finish of 1:06.12.
The Wolves had fifth-place finishes in the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle relay. In the 100 freestyle, Rachel Airhart had a time of 59.87 and was less than a second behind the second, third and fourth place finishers. Maggie Knier of Big Lake won the event with a 57.74 finish. In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of Cassens, Tara Airhart, Mehrwerth and Rachel Airhart finished with a time of 1:50.19. The Foley team finished first with a 1:44.98.
The 200 medley relay team of Hendrickson, Ellie Hartung, Cassens and Tara Airhart medaled with a seventh place finish.

Milaca tops Albany
The Milaca Wolves won nine events in defeating Albany 98-88 on Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Milaca High School pool.
It was the last home meet for the Wolves and a night where the team honored the parents of swimmers and the seniors swimming for the last time in their home pool.
The Wolves won all three of the four-person relay events. In the 200 medley relay, the team of Cassens, Hartung, Hendrickson and Tara Airhart turned in a first-place time of 2:08.77. In the 200 freestyle relay, it was Cassens, Mehrwerth and Tara and Rachel Airhart turning in a top time of 1:49.99. In the 400 freestyle relay, the Airhart sisters, Mehrwerth and Hendrickson reached the finish line first with a time of 4:00.92.
Hendrickson was the top finisher in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:29.35. She also finished first in the 100 backstroke with a 1:08.56.
Mehrwerth was first in the 50 freestyle, finishing in 27.54. Rachel Airhart was right behind her in second place with a 28.94. Mehrwerth also had a first place finish in the 100 freestyle. Her 1:00.85 was 2.5 seconds better than second-place finisher Alli Schiffler of Albany.
Cassens finished first in the 100 butterfly with a 1:11.48. Tara Airhart turned in a first-place diving performance, earning 186 points. That was well ahead of the 161.55 of second-place finisher Sam Fischbach of Albany.

Swimming notes
n Milaca hosted the junior high conference meet on Monday, Oct. 13, at the MHS pool.
n The 2014 conference meet is scheduled for Oct. 25 at Becker. First swim is at 11 a.m.

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Hall sets new course for local Mega Meet runners http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/hall-sets-new-course-for-local-mega-meet-runners/ http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/hall-sets-new-course-for-local-mega-meet-runners/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 17:47:28 +0000 http://millelacscountytimes.com/?p=108077 Jon Hall might only be a ninth-grader at Milaca High School, but he has some lofty goals.
As a member of the Milaca High School cross-country team, his most pressing goal these days is to win at sections and earn a berth in the state cross-country tournament.
But he had a greater goal three weeks ago at the Milaca Mega Meet, an event billed as the world’s largest high school cross-country meet that attracted 5,000 runners and thousands of spectators to Milaca’s Stone’s Throw Golf Course.SCAN0001
“I wanted to win it,” Hall said with his trademark smile.
In the days leading to the meet, Hall took to the Internet and looked at times of ninth-graders who crossed the finish line in Mega Meets past and came up with the following conclusion: “I thought I had a good chance.”
On Saturday, Sept. 20, he woke up feeling ready to run, Hall said.
“I thought I’d have a pretty good day,” he said.
The first mile Hall ran in five minutes flat, he said.
“I thought I was going to die. I started out too fast for my own liking. I thought I was going to crash,” Hall said.
Hall was helped out mentally, he said, when former teammate Cameron Sundberg at the first checkpoint gave him his time and some appreciated words of encouragement.
Hall said after that first mile of the 3.1 mile race (5K) that he decided to go forward and not slow down.
“I took the hills hard,” he said of the Stone’s Throw terrain.
When Hall reached the last 800 meters, he broke into a sprint and ran as fast as he could toward the finish line.
“I really kicked it in the last 200 meters,” he said. “And I never looked back.”
All Hall saw was people to the left and people to the right.
“All I could hear was music in the background,” Hall said. He couldn’t hear all the people cheering him on over the music, he noted.
And when he crossed the finish line, all he could think of is that he was glad to be done.
He didn’t know how he fared in his Mega Meet run, but he did know this — no runner ever passed his while he was on the course.
Seconds after crossing the finish line, spectators were patting him on the back, letting him know he had run a good race.
Milaca head cross-country coach Dave Dillan met up with Hall to let him know he did a good job, he recalls.
And when the results were tabulated, Hall was in first place and the first Milaca runner to ever hold the top spot in any division of the Milaca Mega Meet in the 44-year history of the event.
To sweeten the accomplishment even more, Hall ran the race in record time for a Milaca runner, coming across the finish line in 16:31.20. That was 48.1 seconds better than second-place finisher Ryan Fernholz of Sartell. There were 367 runners in the ninth grade race.
Hall’s big day didn’t come without a lot of hard work. It’s a journey that began about three years ago.
After sixth grade, heading into seventh grade, Hall was encouraged by his father, Travis Hall, to run as a means of preparing for an upcoming wrestling season. Hall, one of Milaca’s top young wrestlers, agreed that running would be a good way to get in shape.
A year ago, during his eighth-grade year, Hall joined the cross-country and track teams for the first time.
As an eighth-grader, Hall ran varsity. At the section meet, he defeated the No. 1 senior at Milaca for the school’s fastest time at the meet. He was two places shy of qualifying for the state meet, he said.
Last spring in track, Hall ran the 1600- and 3200-meter races.
This past summer, Hall made a commitment to not just running to prepare for the wrestling season, but to be the best runner he could possibly be. He also wanted to be the best runner he could for his team, he said.
He ran nearly every day during the summer, 7 to 10 miles a day.
“I just ran down the dirt roads by our house. I ran, looked around and would see what I would see,” Hall said.
He ran near Lake Michigan on a family vacation this summer, too, and was glad to have an opportunity to take in some new sights.
A freak accident in August didn’t keep Hall from achieving his first place fete at the Mega Meet, either.
He broke a toe while four-wheeling.
“I stopped running for about a week,” Hall said. After that, he ran through the pain.
When Sept. 20 and the Milaca Mega Meet rolled around, the toe was healed and Hall was ready to run.
And while he regularly runs varsity on the Wolves cross-country team, he made a calculated decision to run the ninth grade race as opposed to the varsity race – in which his time would have placed him at second or third place.
“As winner of the ninth grade race, it says you’re the best,” Hall said.
In the weeks to come Hall hopes a winning attitude can carry over to another big accomplishment of his young cross-country career in the weeks to come.
“I want to go to state,” Hall said.

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Dorr: Larson would be happy with Twins’ move http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/dorr-larson-would-be-happy-with-twins-move/ http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/dorr-larson-would-be-happy-with-twins-move/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:40:44 +0000 http://millelacscountytimes.com/?p=108051 Somewhere my friend Gary Larson is rejoicing after last week’s announcement by the Minnesota Twins that they were replacing their manager, Ron Gardenhire.
Larson, who died unexpectedly last March, was editor and a sportswriter for the Mille Lacs County Times for about 25 years.
Gary just wasn’t a fan of Gardenhire and in our Monday morning talks that went on for a few years, he made that very clear.
Last October, in the Ask The Sportswriters feature that ran every week, Gary wrote: “At times old Gardy looked disinterested this season.” Gary did mention that all-time great managers couldn’t have won with the roster Gardenhire was provided.
In answering another question last October, Gary wrote that “any Twins fans who didn’t see this train wreck of a season coming just weren’t paying attention.”
In that same issue the writer of this column made the prediction that, contract or no contract, Gardenhire would not be back for 2015 if the Twins faltered again.
I remember Gary disagreeing with me on that, although he wanted Gardenhire to be gone after the 2013 season.
We had our weekly philosophical discussions about the Twins, about Gardenhire, about Jerry Kill and about the quarterback situation for the Vikings.
But the biggest item for discussion each week in the summer and early fall for Gary was the status of Gardenhire.
Earlier, in July 2013, Gary said Gardenhire should be tougher on the players and opined that both Gardy and pitching coach Rick Anderson “looked clueless in the dugout.”
Even though I would classify myself as not a Gardenhire fan, I would stick up for Gardenhire a bit, saying he just didn’t have the players to do much better.
I wish Gary had been around this past summer to see some of the improvement and the unveiling of some promising young players such as Santana, Escobar and Vargas. And there appears to be some promise with some minor leaguers.
My guess is that Gary would approve if Paul Molitor is chosen as the new manager. He often brought up his name in the summer of 2013 when he talked about who might be next in line to manage.
Gary also wasn’t a big fan of the Pohlad family, the owners of the Twins. He thought they should spend more money. Trouble is, I argued, money doesn’t always solve problems. The Twins had their biggest payroll ever in 2011, $113 million, and they lost 99 games that year.
Sid Hartman, sometimes not Gary’s favorite columnist and radio personality, is pushing hard now for Molitor to get the job, so I think Gary and Sid would be in lock step on this one.
We also had a lot of discussions about U of M football coach Jerry Kill.
I’ve been a Kill booster since he got here, while Gary had some reservations. After last year’s one-sided loss to Michigan, Gary wrote that it would be a long time before that trend would be reversed. So I wish he’d been here for the win over Michigan two weeks ago. He was a big fan of Minnesota football and, like myself, grew up when things were a little better. We both longed for better times.
He was kinder to Kill after the Gophers won four in a row in the Big Ten last year and I’m sure he’d be praising the coach today.
We also had many, many discussions about the quarterback situation for the Vikings, me sticking up for Christian Ponder and Gary saying that Ponder should not be the starter.
The Vikings averaged 27 points a game in their first three games of 2013 with Ponder as the starter, losing twice in the last few seconds when the defense caved in, and Ponder lost his starting job for a couple weeks after losses in those three games.
I reminded Gary that the Vikings won the division the previous year with Ponder as the quarterback in a 10-6 season during which he played very well against playoff teams. The stats from those four games were very good for Ponder and Gary admitted he was surprised at the stats.
But he was adamant that Ponder should not have the job and I think he’d be happy now to see that Ponder was relegated to third string when everyone was healthy.
We had lots of enjoyable discussions, and sometimes disagreements, about the Minnesota sports scene. We had a combined 80 years of experience of covering high school sports and following college and professional teams in Minnesota. And we both had our biases.
I miss those weekly conversations and wish they could have gone on for a couple more decades.
But, since they can’t, I’m glad Gary got his wish about the manager job for the Twins.
Last week he’d probably have been telling me, “I told you he had to go.” And I would have agreed.

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Wolves swimmers sink Ogilvie, Cathedral to extend home streak http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/wolves-swimmers-sink-ogilvie-cathedral-to-extend-home-streak/ http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/wolves-swimmers-sink-ogilvie-cathedral-to-extend-home-streak/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:39:54 +0000 http://millelacscountytimes.com/?p=108049 The Milaca swimming and diving team continues to find success in its home pool, remaining undefeated at home after a 98-83 win over Granite Ridge Conference rival St. Cloud Cathedral on Thursday, Oct. 3. The win came two days after the Wolves defeated Ogilvie-Mora 97-73 on the road at Ogilvie on Tuesday, Sept. 30.
At Ogilvie, the Wolves won eight of 10 scored events and saw Chloe Hendrickson and Ashley Cassens each win multiple events to lead the Wolves to the first of two victories of the week.
Cassens won the 50 freestyle (30.84) and 100 butterfly (1:25.29) and was part of the first-place 200 freestyle relay team (2:05.98).
Hendrickson finished first in the 200 individual relay (2:48.59) and 100 backstroke (1:17.54).
Milaca’s Rachel Airhart won the 200 freestyle and was part of the first-place 200 freestyle relay team. Her sister Tara Airhart was part of the same first-place 200 freestyle relay team and took first place honors in diving (180.6). The Wolves’ Breanna Mehrwerth was first in the 100 freestyle (1:09.68).

St. Cloud Cathedral
Milaca improved its record to 3-0 at home this season against the Crusaders by a 15-point margin.
The Wolves won nine of 12 events on their way to the 98-93 victory.
Cassens helped lead the girls to victory with two individual first-place finishes and the first heat on two winning relay teams.
Cassens was first in the 50 freestyle (27.62), trimming more than three seconds off her time at Ogilvie. She was also first in the 100 butterfly (1:14.28), cutting nine seconds from her time two days earlier. Cassens was also on the winning 200 medley relay team (2:07.49) and the 200 freestyle relay (1:51.08).
Hendrickson won two events, the 100 backstroke (1:09.15) and the 200 freestyle (2:13.81). Her time in the backstroke was about nine seconds better than at Ogilvie. Hendrickson also swam on the first-place 200 medley relay team with Cassens and the Airhart sisters.
Tara Airhart was the top diver for the second consecutive meet, earning a score of 184.55, besting Cathedral’s second-place diver by about 51 points. Rachel Airhart was first in the 500 freestyle (6:20.60). The Airharts were on the winning 200 freestyle relay team with Cassens and Mehrwerth.
Mehrwerth also turned in a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle. (1:00.45). She also trimmed about nine seconds from her Sept. 30 time.

Up next
The Wolves had a week off but return to action tonight, Oct. 9, against Granite Ridge Conference rival Albany at home. Meet time is at 6 p.m. On Monday, Oct. 13, the Wolves will host the junior varsity/junior high conference meet. Meet time is at 5 p.m. at the Milaca pool.

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Wolves get volleyball win at Mora tournament http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/wolves-get-volleyball-win-at-mora-tournament/ http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/wolves-get-volleyball-win-at-mora-tournament/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:39:12 +0000 http://millelacscountytimes.com/?p=108047 The Milaca volleyball team is in a battle for wins as it tries to secure a home playoff spot. But the girls made that more of a challenge last week with Granite Ridge Conference losses at home to Foley and St. Cloud Cathedral. The Wolves also went into the heat of battle at the Mora tournament on Saturday, getting a much needed win in the tourney playoffs but ended up with a 1-3 record to close the day.
Sept. 30 against Foley, the girls couldn’t avenge an early season loss and fell to the Falcons 3-0. Molly Banks led Milaca with seven kills. Kristina Loegering had 16 digs for the Wolves.
It was another 3-0 Thursday, Oct. 2 against Cathedral.
The Crusader middles were outstanding,” head coach Jamie Taylor said.
“We thought maybe we could triple block and mess with them, but they have obviously seen it before and it didn’t slow them down at all,” Taylor said.
The Wolves hit better against Cathedral than they did two days earlier against Mora, Taylor said. Paige Quaintance had her best hitting night of the season with nine kills on 19 swings. Malayna Sikkink had 12 set assists.
At the Mora Tournament, the Wolves lost 2-0 to Carlton and 2-0 to Hudson, Wisconsin in pool play.
In the playoff round, Milaca earned a 2-0 win over Crosby-Ironton.
“Nadesha Dohm had a great match starting us off with her serving.” Taylor said. Dohm had no aces but gave C-I tough serves that they couldn’t return very well. That helped Milaca set up its offense. Dohm also finished with four kills on 12 swings and three digs.
In its final match of the tournament, Milaca fell 2-0 to Unity Christian.
“Inconssitent play really hurt us here,” Taylor said.
Milaca had opportunities for wins at home this week against Pine City, Becker on Monday and Tuesday. The Wolves travel to Zimmerman Thursday as they seek that home playoff seeding.

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Cross Country: Hall, Ploeger Wolves top harriers at Becker http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/cross-country-hall-ploeger-wolves-top-harriers-at-becker/ http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/cross-country-hall-ploeger-wolves-top-harriers-at-becker/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:37:56 +0000 http://millelacscountytimes.com/?p=108044 A week after claiming the top time in a Granite Ridge Conference cross country meet at Foley, Milaca’s Jon Hall cracked the top three at the Becker Invitational on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Milaca 8th grader Jerrica Ploeger runs the girls junior high race at Becker on Tuesday, Sept. 30. Ploeger took first place with a time of 14:00.00. It’s the second consecutive meet in which Ploeger posted a first-place finish. Photo by Melissa Terpstra

Milaca 8th grader Jerrica Ploeger runs the girls junior high race at Becker on Tuesday, Sept. 30. Ploeger took first place with a time of 14:00.00. It’s the second consecutive meet in which Ploeger posted a first-place finish.
Photo by Melissa Terpstra

Squaring off against runners from Mora, Big Lake, Becker, Pine City, and North Branch, the boys had two runners in the top 15 and a fifth-place team finish with 99 points, just four behind fourth-place Pine City.
For the girls, senior Alex Ploeger continued her run as the team’s top harrier, coming in about two seconds shy of a top 10 finish.
The girls didn’t fill the full field of seven runners, which hurt them in team competition. They finished last in the 9-team field that included Becker, Princeton, Big Lake St. Cloud Cathedral, Mora, North Branch, Pine City and Zimmerman. The girls finished with 193 points on the day.
Hall led the charge for the Wolves boys, timing in at 17 minutes, 4.99 seconds. Big Lake’s Nathan Souther (16:38.08) and Luke Lahr (17:00.98) took the top two spots.
Milaca’s Sam Berg came in 15th place (18:18.92). Senior Jacob Riebel (27th, 19.22.66), Dray Thomas-Ferry (29th, 19:29.25), Gabe Petty (32th, 19:34.01), Bennet Lerud (43rd, 20:48.01) and Cole Patten (45th, 20:58.03) rounded out the field for the Wolves.
For the girls, Ploeger’s 13th-place time of 16:54.72 came 10 time slots ahead of sophomore Emma Bolt’s 23rd-place time of 17:07.48. Milaca’s Lizzy Fordyce (42nd, 18:13.42), Sara Demesova (57th, 20.38.45) and Allie Terpstra (58th, 21:03.80) rounded out the field.
The Wolves ran Tuesday in a Granite Ridge Conference meet at Albany and are running hard at practice this week preparing for the Granite Ridge Conference Meet, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 14 at Becker.

Other CC highlights
• For the second consecutive meet, Milaca eighth-grader Jerica Ploeger took first place in the junior high race. Her time of 14:00.00 was almost 25 seconds better than second-place finisher Ava Soucy of Monticello. Cherramae Erickson and Brooklyn Eggen combined with Ploeger to give the Wolves three finishers in the top 25 of the junior high race.
• Sam Petty’s time of 19:48.47 was the best among the Wolves boys in the JV race and good for 9th place.
• Runners Dominick Smith, Sam Bolt and Alec James gave Milaca three finishers in the top 25 of the boys junior high race.

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Football: Down 2 at halftime, Milaca gives up 53 unanswered points to Becker Bulldogs. http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/football-down-2-at-halftime-milaca-gives-up-53-unanswered-points-to-becker-bulldogs/ http://millelacscountytimes.com/2014/10/09/football-down-2-at-halftime-milaca-gives-up-53-unanswered-points-to-becker-bulldogs/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:35:53 +0000 http://millelacscountytimes.com/?p=108041 Milaca receiver Levi Hunt pulls in a reception from quarterback Nathan Hass. He eluded the Becker defense and ran 20 yards after the catch into the end zone. It was a 51-yard touchdown play. Times photo by Jeffrey Hage

Milaca receiver Levi Hunt pulls in a reception from quarterback Nathan Hass. He eluded the Becker defense and ran 20 yards after the catch into the end zone. It was a 51-yard touchdown play.
Times photo by Jeffrey Hage

For the first 24 minutes Friday, Oct. 3, the Milaca Wolves held their own against one of the top football programs in the state of Minnesota.
During the second 24 minutes, not so much.
On the last home game of the 2014 season — a night known as parents night and seniors night — Milaca took advantage of fumbles, a blocked punt and lapses in strong defensive schemes to jump out to a 16-6 lead over sixth-ranked Becker in a memorable first half in Granite Ridge Conference football action at home at Claffy Field.
By the end of Milaca’s final home game of 2014 against Becker, the game became one most Milaca fans might choose not to remember.
After jumping out to a 16-6 lead on an 11-yard touchdown strike from Nathan Hass to Mike Garber at the 4:50 mark of the second quarter, the Wolves gave up 53 consecutive points to the Granite Ridge Conference’s first-place Bulldogs. The Wolves never saw the bright lights of the end zone again until they gathered at the end of the game with the coaching staff for a post-game pep talk.
Still, Milaca had a big night offensively, racking up 280 yards and a dramatic 51-yard touchdown pass from Hass to receiver Levi Hunt down the left side of the field.
Hass connected with receivers on 10 of 15 passes for 184 yards. Garber had 114 yards receiving, followed by Hunt, with 61 yards through the air.
Milaca had success with its ground game, too, with Hunter Daluge rushing for 38 hard-earned yards against a stout Becker defense and Nick Reibel rushing for 24 yards. Hass picked up 17 yards on eight carries. Hunt and Bryce Kohlgraf each had 20-yard kickoff returns.
On defense, the Wolves’ Hunt had a big fumble recovery in the first quarter to kill a drive after defender Brad Bekius brought down Becker’s Eric Blomgren after a 20-yard catch and run that gave Milaca the ball at its own 34 yard line.
The defense came up even bigger three minutes into the second quarter with a block of a Michael Veldman punt that resulted in a safety.
How did the Wolves contain Becker in the first half?
“Our defense was sound,” head coach Cory Anderson said. “We lined up right every time.”
Milaca was aided by the fact that Becker offensive coordinator Mike Lundeen was the one-time head coach of the Wolves and the coaching staff had some familiarity with his offense.
“We kind of know their team,” Anderson said.
On offense, Milaca made plays in the first half and made Becker work, Anderson said.
But in the second half, Becker took over the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, Anderson noted.
“They outplayed us on many levels and proved they are a complete team,” Anderson said. “They’re one of the best teams in the state.”
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first after taking the opening kickoff and capping a 14-play, five-minute drive with a 5-yard run by Milan Hunt. After a failed two-point conversion, Becker had a 6-0 lead. Milaca punted on its first series.
On Becker’s second series, running back C.J. Schwintek took the ball from receiver Austin Rassmussen 3 yards in the backfield, ran for 10 yards and fumbled. The Wolves’Mike Garber recovered the ball. The drive featured a nice 14-yard pass play from Hass to Garber, but ended in a punt.
But the Wolves got the ball back one play later when Becker’s Veldman dropped back and hit Eric Blomgren 8 yards up field. Blomgren ran 13 yards after the catch with Milaca defender Brad Bekius wrapped around him. Bekius knocked the ball out of Blomgren’s hands. Hunt then jumped on the ball for the fumble recovery on the Wolves 34-yard line. The drive ended again with a Levi Hunt punt.
With 22 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Wolves took possession of the ball at their own 23-yard line. Sixty-two seconds later, they were in the end zone celebrating a touchdown. On the first play of the series, Daluge ran the ball 28 yards to the Milaca 48. Three plays later, Hunt got a step ahead of defender Andrew Stanger and beat him on a pass from Hass. Hunt outran Stanger in a race to the end zone for a 51-yard touchdown reception. Joshiah Forker ran 2 yards into the end zone after a 4-yard pass from Hassfor the two-point conversion and an 8-6 Milaca lead at the 11:18 mark of the second quarter.
The Milaca defense came up big on Becker’s next drive. The Wolves held the Bulldogs to just 3 yards, forcing a three-and-out. On the ensuing punt, Zach Petersen got a hand on the ball, sending it backwards into the end zone. The Wolves nearly scored a touchdown on the play. As Milaca was falling on the ball, a Becker player kicked it out of the end zone for a safety. The Wolves took a 10-6 lead.
Milaca got the ball back with 6:21 remaining in the half after a Becker punt to the Milaca 48-yard line.
On first down, Hass hit Garber for a 39-yard pass. Garber was taken down at the 14-yard line. Three plays later, Hass hit Garber on an 8-yard touchdown pass to give the Wolves a 16-6 lead. Hass threw an incomplete pass on the conversion attempt.
Becker got the ball and marched 67 yards in three plays and scored on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Veldman to Beau Pauley and cut Milaca’s lead to 16-12. The two-point conversion failed. Becker turned around on its next possession and marched 62 yards in three plays, capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Veldman to Dawson Brown. Veldman hit Pauley on a 3-yard pass on the conversion to take a 20-16 halftime lead.
The Wolves couldn’t hold the Bulldogs in the second half, giving up 39 unanswered points.
In the third quarter Becker got the following touchdowns:
• Milan Kent scored on a 17-yard run. Veldman hit Matt Conzemius on a 13-yard pass for the conversion. Score: Becker 28, Milaca 16.
• Veldman connected with Blomgren on a 42-yard touchdown pass. Kent ran the ball 3 yards for the conversion. Score: Becker 36, Milaca 16.
• Veldman hit Conzemius for a 20-yard touchdown pass. The Rassmussen kick was good. Score: Becker 43, Milaca 16.
• Alex Meidt scored on an 8-yard run. The Rassmussen kick was good. Score: Becker 50, Milaca 16.
In the fourth quarter Becker got another touchdown:
• Stanger threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jake Fobbe. The Rassmussen kick was good. Score: Becker 57, Milaca 16.
With 2:27 remaining in the game, Milaca quarterback Blake Kiel was sacked in the end zone for a safety. The two points set the final score at 59-16.

Game notes: Levi Hunt and Ted Blenkush left the game with knee injuries and spent the second half on the bench. “They tweaked their knees, both of them,” Anderson said. “It looks like they both have slight sprains.”

Becker 59, Milaca 16
Becker          6  14   23   16   – 59
Milaca            0   16     0     0   – 16

Individual Statistics
Rushing: Milaca – Hunter Daluge 11-28, Nick Reibel 4-22, Austin Weidner 2-2, Luke Manoleff 2-2, Nathan Hass 13-0, Mike Garber 2, -1, Ryan Allen 1, -1, Teddy Blenkush 1, -2, Levi Hunt 2, -6, Blake Kiel 1, -10. Becker –  C.J. Schwintek 10-52, Milan Kent 4-20, Andrew Stanger 3-24, Alex Meidt 2-14, Austin Rassmussen 1-13,  Beau Pauley 2-10, Tanner Kiffmeyer 3-6, Blake Angell 1-1, Michael Veldman 1-12.
Passing: Milaca – Nathan Hass 10-15-174, Levi Hunt 1-1-8, Mike Garber 1-1-6. Becker – Michael Veldman 13-21-222, Andrew Stanger 1-1-25.
Receiving: Milaca – Mike Garber 8-108, Levi Hunt 2-61, Dylan Hakes 1-13, Tony Kruse 1-6. Becker – Eric Blomgren 5-97, Matt Conzemius 2-43, Dawson Brown 3-40, Beau Pauley 2-38, Jake Fobbe 1-25, Austin Rassmussen 1-4.

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