State football - Class AAA: New London-Spicer unleashes a scoring storm on Proctor
ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- An emotional roller-coaster of a season came to an end for the Proctor Rails on Friday night. The 61-0 loss to New London-Spicer in a Minnesota Class AAA high school state tournament quarterfinal at Husky Stadium wasn't how th...
ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- An emotional roller-coaster of a season came to an end for the Proctor Rails on Friday night.
The 61-0 loss to New London-Spicer in a Minnesota Class AAA high school state tournament quarterfinal at Husky Stadium wasn't how the Rails hoped the season would close -- they wanted to make it to the Metrodome for the first time in school history.
The Wildcats (10-2) scored on their first five possessions to take a 34-0 lead into the locker room and earn a berth in next Friday's semifinals against DeLaSalle at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Proctor's season ended at 9-3 on a rainy, cold night on the St. Cloud State campus. The Rails have failed to get out of the quarterfinal round the past three years and all six of the times they've advanced to the state tournament.
But just qualifying meant a lot to the Rails, who lost longtime coach Dave Hylla to a heart attack less than a week before fall practice began in August. Hylla, 58, was going to retire after this, his 28th season. The team visited Hylla's farm and gravesite in nearby Holdingford, Minn., before the game and obviously had a tough time containing their emotions.
"We never used that as an excuse," said Derek Parendo, a longtime assistant who replaced Hylla. "New London flatout beat us in every phase of the game. They were more physical and faster. They were better in every facet of the game than we were."
The game went poorly from the outset. New London-Spicer, making its first state tournament appearance, put together eight-play scoring drives on their first two possessions, then sped up the process with a 48-yard touchdown connection from Jared Williamson to Derrick Dohmann, a 28-yard scoring run by Taylor Dammerman and another Williamson-to-Dohmann TD pass for the 34-point halftime lead.
"I thought we were pretty focused mentally, which was the big thing," coach Dan Essler said. "Their main focus was to get to the Dome, they weren't happy with just being in the state tournament."
The second half went even worse for the Rails. The Wildcats returned an interception and a punt for touchdowns during a 27-point third-quarter explosion as the Rails didn't help their cause with three turnovers in the period. The fourth quarter completed on running time.
The Wildcats owned a 386-88 edge in total yards.
Though the season didn't end the way that the Rails hoped, the year had its share of memories.
"Like we told the players, 'If all you learned was football this year, you were blind,'" Parendo said. "This group of 62 men learned more about life in three months than a lot of them will in many years to come."
New London-Spicer 13-21-27-0--61
NLS -- Jay Moten 4 run (Caleb Friedrich kick)
NLS -- Taylor Dammerman 1 run (kick failed)
NLS -- Derrick Dohmann 48 pass from Jared Williamson (Jake Essler run)
NLS -- Dammerman 28 run (kick failed)
NLS -- Dohmann 15 pass from Williamson (Friedrich kick)
NLS -- Derek Henle 23 run (kick failed)
NLS -- Erik Tengwell 20 interception return (Friedrich kick)
NLS -- Jake Essler 33 punt return (Friedrich kick)
NLS -- Dammerman 1 run (Friedrich kick)