May 25, 2024

Warrior defense shines in battle of the undefeated teams

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Brooke Kern

Grant County Herald

Wheaton/Herman-Norcross proved why it has been atop the 9-man state polls with a solid defensive performance in a 36-14 win over Hancock Friday, Sept. 23, in Wheaton.

“It was a total team win. We had to battle at so many positions in all facets of the game,” Warrior coach James Paul said.

The Warriors last win against Hancock came in the 2016 season. The win also snaps a 25-0 regular season record for Hancock that dates back to the 2019 season.

“It feels good to get back in the win column against Hancock,” Paul said. “Hancock runs a great program and has excellent coaches, so anytime you can beat them means you must be doing some things right.”

Wheaton / Herman-Norcross opened the first on a pick six by Bryant Callenius. He intercepted Davin Rose and had a short six-yard dance to the end zone.

The Owls got on the board with a 15-yard run by Dain Schroeder in the second quarter. A failed two-point conversion kept the Warriors in the lead going into halftime, 7-6.

Out of halftime, Dylan Bainbridge got the offense going for Wheaton/Herman-Norcross. He scored twice on passes of 20 and nine yards from Marshall Tolifson to give the Warriors a 23-6 lead after three quarters.

In the fourth, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross’s offense continued to flourish. Clint Determan had a one-yard pass to Jack Siegel to go up 30-6 and Grant Dawson plunged into the end zone from one-yard out for the final 36-14 score. Hancock’s second score came on a 25-yard pass from Rose to Jared Koehl midway through the fourth.

Both teams were defensively stout, especially in later downs as teams combined to go 3-of-26 on third downs and 2-of-16 on fourth downs. The Warriors held Hancock without a third-down conversion in the game.

“Our defense played tremendously. We wanted to stop the run and we did,” Paul said. “Our DB’s did a great job in man coverage all night chasing around a solid group of wideouts for Hancock.”

Marshall Tolifson was 11-for-20 for 188 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the rushing attack with 14 carries for 47 yards. Brayden Hofer had 45 yards on 10 carries. Determan hauled in five catches for 108 yards.

Defensively, Grant Dawson led the team with 11 tackles and a sack. Determan added five tackles.

The Warriors next play Bertha-Hewitt Friday, Sept. 30, in Bertha.

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