Is it possible that a team playing Nine-Man football can overwhelm an opponent with numbers? That was likely the case in Mountain Lake's 42-8 romp over Mountain Iron-Buhl in the semifinals.
Mountain Lake (12-0) showed its physical identity on its first possession Friday. The Wolverines battered the smaller Rangers, driving 75 yards on 11 plays, all runs. The drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Abe Stoesz and an early 8-0 lead.
"Our game plan was to get a lead," Mountain Lake coach Tim Kirk said. "We've been behind, I think, just once all year."
Playing for the first time in U.S. Bank Stadium, Stoesz said he and his teammates had some pregame butterflies, but that quick lead helped them settle down.
"You have a bit of nerves, but once the game starts, you stick your chest out and turn those nerves into pride," he said.
Four of the Wolverines' first five possessions ended in touchdowns, leading to a 29-0 halftime lead. They outgained the Trojans 250-58 in total yards before halftime with a defense designed to bottle up their opponent's speed.
"We ran into a real tough team today," Mountain Iron-Buhl coach Dan Zubich said. "They have 33 guys. They have a lot of depth, and they wore us down."
Said Kirk: "We have a very good defense, a very fast defense, and we have some depth."
Mountain Lake added another touchdown in the third quarter on an 18-yard pass from Stoesz to Zach Spinks, making the score 36-0. The final quarter was played with running time.
"There's lot of kids that want to be on our team that can't cut it,'' Kirk said after the game. "These guys can, and that is why we are where we are."