GAME OF THE WEEK: Stephen-Argyle claims 13-6 victory over Kittson County Central
ARGYLE, Minn. -- Justin Yutrzenka scored all of Stephen-Argyle's points and led the Storm in rushing yardage Friday night, but he may have had an even bigger impact on the defensive side. The junior also had two interceptions and a fumble recover...
ARGYLE, Minn. - Justin Yutrzenka scored all of Stephen-Argyle’s points and led the Storm in rushing yardage Friday night, but he may have had an even bigger impact on the defensive side.
The junior also had two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the Storm’s 13-6 victory over Kittson County Central.
Each side agreed that turnovers were the biggest factor in the decision, which gave the Storm the top seed in the Section 8 nine-man football playoffs and a share of the Top of the State Conference title.
“They scored on short fields because of our (five) turnovers,” KCC coach Cory Waling said. “Our defense played outstanding when we made them go the distance on the field.”
Yutrzenka’s fumble recovery led to the game’s first touchdown, coming on the last play of the first quarter. The Storm traveled 55 yards on nine plays, with the 170-pound junior getting the touchdown on a 16-yard run.
“Our defense really hustles to the ball and gang-tackles,” Yutrzenka said, when asked about the high turnover count. “And we play pretty physical.
“Turnovers are usually big momentum changes.”
Cousin Max Yutrzenka’s diving interception deep inside Storm territory not only stopped a KCC scoring threat, but also led to the ultimate winning touchdown, which came just 16 seconds before intermission.
Nursing a seven-point lead and facing a fourth-and-1 at their own 35 with about a minute left before intermission, Storm Coach Ethan Marquis gambled and won, keeping the drive alive.
After the Storm picked up the first down, Justin Yutrzenka completed the 11-play, 76-yard drive with a 7-yard run with 16 seconds left for a 13-0 halftime lead.
“I thought it was a good time to take a little risk,” S-A coach Ethan Marquis said. “It felt like it was a play we could make. We wanted the offense to run as many plays as possible because you feel good when the ball is in your own hands and not theirs.”
Carson Thorsteinson, who led all rushers with 160 yards on 32 carries, pulled the Bearcats within 13-6 late in the third quarter on a 4-yard run to complete a 70-yard drive. They threatened again on their next possession, but a fumble recovered by Jacob Sundby stopped them at S-A’s 30.
“Offensively, it seemed like there were a lot of pinky-toe tackles away from breaking big plays,” Waling said. “But, (Stephen-Argyle) earned it.
“They fly to the football and get after it.”
Marquis had similar view on the Storm’s defense.
“The turnovers were a big deal and big help,” Marquis said.
Heading into the playoffs next week, Stephen-Argyle is 6-1 and KCC is 5-2.