Prep report: Cromwell falls in state Nine-Man quarterfinals

BEMIDJI -- The last time Kittson County Central was involved in a game in which a team turned the football over five times, it was the Bearcats who were playing giveaway.

BEMIDJI - The last time Kittson County Central was involved in a game in which a team turned the football over five times, it was the Bearcats who were playing giveaway.
“I remember that game vividly,” Bearcats coach Cory Waling said of a 13-6 loss to Stephen-Argyle. “Us getting five turnovers, I can’t remember the last time that happened. It
hasn’t this year.”
Not until Friday, anyway. That’s when the Bearcats took advantage of five Cromwell turnovers in a 16-8 win in cold, windy, rainy conditions in a Minnesota Nine-Man high school state quarterfinal at Bemidji State University.
Kittson County Central (9-2) advances to a 5 p.m. Nov. 14 semifinal against the winner of today’s Underwood-Grand Meadow game. Cromwell closed with a 10-2 record.
Cromwell’s first two possessions ended in Kittson County Central territory on fumble recoveries by Skyler Slusar and Dalton Klegstad, the latter inside the 20-yard line. That helped limit the damage as the Bearcats trailed only 8-0 at halftime.
In the second half, Mitchell Jensen recovered a fumble that led to the go-ahead touchdown, and Cromwell’s final two drives ended on interceptions by Bryden Swenson and Ty Diamond.
“Our coaches hyped us up at halftime,” standout Kittson County Central linebacker Alex Vagle said. “We were pretty fired up on defense in the second half. We were playing with more emotion.”
After being shut out in the first half, the Bearcats pulled within 8-6 when Carson Thorsteinson took a pitch, broke a tackle down the left sideline and went for a 71-yard touchdown with 8:06 left in the third quarter.
Said Cromwell coach Jeff Gronner: “That big run was the momentum changer.”
Later in the third quarter, Jensen’s fumble recovery gave the Bearcats the ball on the Cardinals’ 16-yard line. Thorsteinson got the call on four straight carries, the last resulting in a 3-yard touchdown run with 1:54 left in the third and a 14-8 lead. Thorsteinson finished with a game-high 155 rushing yards on 27 carries.
Cromwell finished with a 256-202 advantage in total yards. Sophomore quarterback Zion Smith rushed for 43 yards and was 10-of-23 passing for 138 yards. One of those completions was to a wide-open Alek Striowski in the end zone for a 5-yard scoring pass with4:08 left in the first half.

Kittson County Central    0-0-14-2-16
Cromwell    0-8-0-0-8
C - Alek Striowski 5 pass from Zion Smith (Tyler Hakamaki run)
KCC - Carson Thorsteinson 71 run (kick failed)
KCC - Thorsteinson 3 run (Mitchell Jensen pass from Dylan Olsonawski)
KCC - Safety, Cromwell snap out of end zone
Girls hockey
New Prague 3, Duluth 1
Catie Skaja scored two goals and Sydney Culshaw made 17 saves as the Trojans opened the season with a nonconference win at Heritage Center.
Kalei Kleive had 14 stops in net for the Northern Stars.

Duluth    0-1-0-1
New Prague    1-1-1-3
First period - 1. NP, Catie Skaja (Jordan Anderson), 15:03.
Second period - 2. D, Brionna Stafne (Avery Ziegler), 7:02; 3. NP, Kaitlyn Blair (Skaja, Anderson), 15:49.
Third period - 4. NP, Skaja (Anderson), 16:12.
Saves - Alex Morris, NP, 17; Makayla Jackson, D, 14.
Browerville 3, Carlton 0
Crystal Pearson had 16 kills and Browerville made quick work of the Bulldogs in sweeping their Minnesota Class A consolation semifinal 25-17, 25-18, 25-16 in 70 minutes Friday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Katelyn Middendorf totaled 30 set assists for Browerville (25-6), which faces Ada-Borup for fifth place at 9 a.m. today.
Carlton (27-7), which bowed out by going 0-2 for the second straight year, was led by senior Grace Macor’s 10 kills and a combined 26 set assists from setters Hannah Benson and Brianna Walton. The Bulldogs only hit .021 as a team, committing 27 attack errors.

Class A Consolation Semifinals
Browerville def. Carlton 25-17, 25-18, 25-16 - B (25-6): Crystal Pearson 16K, 19D; Kendra Buchta 9K; Paige Callahan 5K, 2B; Katelyn Middendorf 30SA, 8D; Katelyn Kellen 2AS, 17D; MaKenna Hegseth 23D; Quinn Kircher 6D. C (27-7): Grace Macor 10K, 7D; Macy Belich 8K, 11D; Jessica Stanslaski 5K; Hannah Benson 14SA; Brianna Walton 12SA, 8D; Amanda Groth 6D.

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