Maple River downs G-F-W 41-0
By Joe Steck – Mankato Times
MAPLETON, MINN. — The Maple River Eagles defeated the Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop (GFW) Thunderbirds 41- 0 Friday night in the Eagles home opener. With the win, Maple River improves to 2-0 while GFW drops to 0-2. The Eagles will take on Sibley East next Friday on the road with a 7:00 pm scheduled start.
Head Coach Jerry Thul was happy with how his team played.
“We wanted to go out and set the tone, which we did pretty well. We tried to dominate them on every play. Defensively we try to get three turnovers in every game and tonight we had six. Offensively we executed pretty well, we had some good runs and some nice pass plays. We played pretty flawlessly. We had a few penalties we shouldn’t have had but otherwise we played pretty good.”
It was parent’s night for the Eagles and the team came out ready to impress their family members and fans. The Eagles came out quickly, scoring 21 points in the first quarter with the first touchdown coming off a 9 yard run from Hunter “The Jet” Pederson with 6:17 left in the quarter.
The Eagles took advantage of a Thunderbirds fumble on their next possession. Nathan “Iceman” Moore threw a perfect pass over the GFW defenders into the arms of Ethan Sindelier for a beautiful 23 yard touchdown. After the Iceman hit the extra point, the Eagles were up 14-0 with 5:32 left in the quarter.
Ethan Sindelir spoke about his long touchdown catch.
“We like to use play action a lot, especially with us being a great running team. Nathan put the ball where it needed to be. That was one of the best thrown balls I have caught in my entire career.” Said Sindelir “We can pound the rock with who we’ve got. We have five great senior linemen and I am playing a little more tight end this year so we have six guys up front that can move people.”
Maple River extended their lead to 21 – 0 after a 62 yard touchdown run by Pederson with 38 seconds left in the 1st. The Eagles offensive line opened a huge hold for the Jet, who juked his way past the Thunderbirds defensive backs and into the end zone for his second score of the game. Pederson finished the night carrying the ball 8 times for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns.
With senior running back Lincoln Arndt out of action due to a broken arm suffered in the first game of the season against Luverne, junior running back Hunter Pederson took over the lead spot of tailback. The speedy tail back saw some action last year, but is showing more confidence with his game this season.
“I am feeling more confident and understand the plays more and am getting more comfortable running the ball,” said the Jet “Ethan Sindelir threw some good blocks and Wyatt Simon had an amazing block for my long touchdown run. I would like to thank my linemen, Logan Ziegler, Bill Karels, Connor Thorn, Brock Doering and all the guys (for opening holes tonight.”
The Eagles extended their lead to 28 – 0 after Moore rushed in from 6 yards with 3:52 left in the half. After another Thunderbird turnover, the Eagles scored again, this time from 4 yards out with Moore crossing the goal line to put the team up 34 – 0. The Iceman finished the night 3 for 5 passing for 46 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. He also rushed 7 times for 45 yards and 2 scores while making 5 of 6 extra-point kicks.
The Eagles final score came with 10:06 left in the game with Cody Walters rushing in from 6 yards out to put Maple River up 41-0.
Senior lineman and outside Linebacker Logan Ziegler had a big night, opening up big holes on offense and leading the team with 8 ½ tackles.
“Offensively our line did what we normally do. I like to think we are the best offensive line in the state,” said Logan Ziegler “Our defensive line was making holes for me and making it easy to read. We go out hard every time. Our goal on both sides of the ball is to dominate early so we can get the young guys in and get them some reps.”
With the large lead, the Eagles started to rotate in underclassmen into the game, giving valuable playing experience to the players.
“We are trying to get our non-starters into the game more and more to save these guys legs for the end of the year,” said the Coach “When the game is out of hand there is no reason we should keep playing our starters. We are not going to get better in the years ahead by keeping them in, so we are trying to get the young kids in to play.”
The Eagles finished the game with 297 yards of total offense on 45 plays. 53 yards came through the air and 244 on the ground. The tough Eagles defense held the Thunderbirds to 237 yards on 57 plays with 21yards coming from the pass and 216 rushing yards. The Eagles also forced five fumbles, recovering four and had one interception.
The offensive bright spot for the Thunderbirds was running back Jancarlo Munoz who rushed for 126 yards on 16 carries.
Maple River Game Stats: 41-0
Passing: Nathan Moore, 3 of 5, 48 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int.; Carter Bair 1 of 4, 7 yards, 1 Int.
Rushing: Hunter Pederson 8 for 114yds, 2 TD; Nathan Moore 7 for 45yds, 2 TD; Cody Walters 3 for 33yds, 1 TD; Joe Bennett 6 for 26yds; Wyatt Simon 6 for 11yds; Carter Bair 4 for 9yds; Jared Latusek 1 for 7yds; Conner Doering 1 for -1yds.
Receiving: Ethan Sindelir 2 for 31yds, 1 TD; Cody Walters 2 for 22yds.
Defense: Logan Ziegler 8.5 tackles, 5 solo; Tyler Mass 7 tackles, 4 solo; Gavin Doering 6 tackles, 4 solo; Ethan Sindelir 3.5 tackles, 2 solo; Cody Walters 3.5 tackles, 2 solo; Zach Spande 3.5 tackles, 3 solo; Connor Thorn 3.5 tackles, 2 solo; Stephen Dobie 3 tackles, 2 solo, 1 Int; Sam Bennett 3 tackles, 1 solo; Jacob Doering 2 tackles, 1 solo; Wyatt Simon 2 tackles, 1 solo; Bill Karels 2 tackles, 1 solo; Carter Bair 2 solo; Joe Bennett 2 tackles, 1 solo; Hunter Pederson 1 solo; Ethan Kittelson 1 solo; Bryan Garlow 1 solo; Nathan Moore .5 tackles; Nathan Trio .5 tackles; Jared Latusek .5 tackles.