Blue Devils run past Kelliher-Northome
GRYGLA, Minn. -- After a 76-yard run, Delray Cullen was caught from beyond, 1 yard shy of the end zone. "That's happened a couple of times to me this year," the Grygla-Goodridge senior said. "It felt like I was running fast, but I guess I wasn't....
GRYGLA, Minn. -- After a 76-yard run, Delray Cullen was caught from beyond, 1 yard shy of the end zone.
"That's happened a couple of times to me this year," the Grygla-Goodridge senior said. "It felt like I was running fast, but I guess I wasn't."
It took a big play to catch Cullen. But, for the most part here Saturday night, there was no stopping the Blue Devils' ground game as they scored a 32-0 win against Kelliher-Northome in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota Section 8 9-man football playoffs.
The win advances the 4-4 Blue Devils, seeded fourth in the section, into next Saturday's semifinals and a 2 p.m. game against unbeaten (8-0) Stephen-Argyle, the top-ranked team in the state. Kelliher-Northome, the No. 5 seed in the section, closed its season with a 3-5 record.
Cullen led the way in a ground attack that dominated the game. He rushed for 138 yards, Briar Verbout ran for 91 and reserves Adrian Prestebak and Dillon Olson contributed 40 and 35, respectively. All the offensive numbers were heavily slanted to the Blue Devils -- they had a 423-61 advantage in total yards, a 316-8 edge in rushing yards and ran 67 offensive plays to the Mustangs' 35.
"Our line was a dominant group," Cullen said. "We (backs) did what we needed to do."
Ball control was the game plan for the Blue Devils, working behind the blocking unit of center Sam Anderson, guards Brock Olson and Chris Ostby and ends Jordan Anderson and Brett Bakken.
"When we scouted (Kelliher-Northome), we felt that we could run sweeps and off tackle against them," G-G coach John Wilebski said. "The strength of our linemen showed. They've been working in the weight room and it showed tonight. We were more physical.
"Kelliher-Northome really opens up their offense and they throw well. We were worried about that from them. We wanted to control the ball and run time off the clock."
The Blue Devils were particularly efficient in the first half. They scored on their first three possessions -- on 4- and 2-yard runs by quarterback Tyler Schulz and a 55-yard pass from Schulz to Jake Nelson.
Schulz was an efficient 5-of-6 passing for 96 yards. Grygla-Goodridge led 20-0 at halftime and scored on three of its four possessions in the half, the only time it was stopped coming when time expired in the second quarter.
Verbout (after Cullen's long run) and Bret Johnson added scoring runs in the second half -- more than enough offense against a Kelliher-Northome unit that couldn't get going. Dylan Ungerecht's throwing -- 7-of-14 for 53 yards -- was the only offense the Mustangs could muster.
"Offensively we couldn't get anything going," K-N coach Derrick Gross said. "That's kind of the way the season has gone for us. And they're very tough up front."
The shutout -- the first of the season for the Blue Devils -- surprised Wilebski. "I thought they'd put a few points up there. They have some really quick kids," he said.
And, for the second time this season, Grygla-Goodridge snapped a negative streak. Early in the year, it halted a 10-game losing streak, dating back to the end of the 2006 season. This win was the first in the playoffs for the program since winning in the quarterfinal round in 2003.
"This is a goal we set at the beginning of the year," Cullen said.