March 4, 2024

Grant County Herald

Community news from the prairie to the lakes

Knights stay perfect at 4-0, top Hawley

Knights Cole Anderson, Hunter Norby, and Torin Olson team up for a tackle on a Hawley runner. Photo by Kendra Anderson

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The West Central Area/Ashby  Knights football team scored first and held the lead for the entire game in a 22-7 rout of Hawley Friday, Sept. 24, in Hawley.

“We played just well enough to win, but had some things exposed that we need to work on as we enter the second half of the regular season,” Knight coach Nate Wood said.                                                           

Evan Paulson had a hand in all three scores for WCA, including his second rushing touchdown of the year, which opened the scoring in the first quarter. Paulson found Cole Anderson in the second and third quarters on strikes of 34 and 38 yards to give the Knights a 22-7 lead after the third quarter.

“Evan did a great job in preparing for this game. He put a lot of time into film study to the tune of over four hours and was able to be confident throwing the ball due to this,” Wood said. “Hawley was selling out to stop Anthony (Sykora) and our off tackle power play. This allowed us to attack the edge and created openings in the passing game.”

Paulson finished 9-for-15 for 152 yards through the air.

The offense was able to get the win for the Knights as their defense struggled with the fundamentals. On paper, Hawley was able to run the ball with ease as the Nuggets averaged five yards per carry, finishing with 232 yards on the ground in 46 attempts.

“We tackled poorly,” Wood said. “We need to focus on fundamentals, hitting low, wrapping up, and running our feet. Our focus will be on attacking, not sitting back and absorbing contact.”

Obviously the Knights were able to make stops when it counted to secure the win over Hawley, who put together over 300 yards of total offense and just one score.

Senior Hunter Norby played a big role in limiting the scoring of the prolific offense. He finished with 11 tackles, including nine solo tackles and two tackles for loss.

“Hunter was all over the field, he had some big stops, especially late in the game. Excellent senior leadership,” Wood said.

Beau Robinson also added two tackles for loss and Nas Dotts had the lone interception of the game.

The Knights, now 4-0, will host their homecoming game against Crookston on Friday, Oct. 1, in Barrett. Kick off slated for 6:00 p.m. Last year, the Knights knocked off Crookston 24-6. Crookston is 1-3, coming off its first win over the season against Frazee Friday.

       WCA – 22

     Hawley – 7

WCA/A (4-0) 8 6 8 0 – 22

Hawley (2-2) 7 0 0 0 – 7

Scoring plays

W – Evan Paulson 1 run (Anthony Sykora run)

H – Derek Tibbetts 5 run (Samuel Burkel kick)

W – Cole Anderson 34 pass from Paulson (conversion failed)

W – Anderson 38 pass from Paulson (Anderson from Sykora)

West Central Area

First downs: 13… Penalties:  3-25… Rushing: Anthony Sykora 16-60, Hunter Norby 5-45, Mattson Hoff 4-16, Evan Paulson 6-2… Passing: Paulson 9-15-152-2… Receiving: Cole Anderson 2-72, Ryder Staples 3-43, Hoff 2-26, Sykora 2-11… Interceptions: Nas Dotts 1… Fumble recoveries: Carson Spangler 1… Tackles (solo-assist): Hunter Norby 9-4, Spangler 5-1, Beau Robinson 4-2, Sykora 3-3, Tyler Stone 3-3, Hoff 4-1… QB sacks: none

Hawley

First downs: 10… Penalties:  1-5… Rushing: Samuel Burkel 8-90, Derek Tibbetts 9-53, John Vetter 7-35, Carson Brew 5-2… Passing: Brew 1-3-19-0… Receiving: Tibbetts 1-19… Interceptions: none … Fumble recoveries: 1… Tackles (solo-assist): Joey Aakre 4-2, Brady Gratton 2-3… QB sacks: Wyatt Dunham 1

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