Fertile-Beltrami runs through Clearbrook-Gonvick
#7 Clearbrook-Gonvick at #2 Fertile-Beltrami (Section 6 9-Man Football Playoff)
Fertile, MN — In a rematch of the 2019 Section 6 quarterfinal game, only one thing changed between Clearbrook-Gonvick and Fertile-Beltrami’s previous matchup — the Falcons scored even more points.
Fertile-Beltrami thumped the Bears 45-6 thanks to a commanding night by junior running back Everett Balstad, who rushed 11 times104 yards and two touchdowns. The Falcons defeated the Bears 33-0 last season in the very same round. Fertile-Beltrami advances to 5-1, while Clearbrook-Gonvick finishes the season winless at 0-4 after playing its first game since Oct. 30.
Things started fast and heavy for the Falcons, scoring three times in the first quarter alone. Balstad began his dominant night with a 6-yard touchdown scurry on the opening drive.The Bears turned the ball over on downs in their own territory on the ensuing drive, resulting in a 10-yard touchdown run by senior Falcons fullback Brandon Van Den Einde not even four minutes later.
The Falcons kept the pedal to the metal in the first quarter, but this time Fertile-Beltrami found the end zone on defense. Junior Bears quarterback Kyle Gerlofs was sacked just two minutes later, as the ball popped out right into the hands of freshman Falcons defensive end Derek Sorenson, who then took it the distance. At the end of one quarter, it was already 24-0 in favor of the Falcons.
Junior Falcons quarterback Rylin Petry snuck in from four yards out to make it a 30-0 at halftime. Junior Falcons linebacker Tyler Stuhaug made sure that, ending the Bears’ first and only red zone drive with an interception with just seconds left in the second quarter.
Balstad capped off his solid performance with a 42-yard touchdown dash to start the third quarter, and that’s all the Falcons needed to show off as the running clock ensued. Sophomore Falcons offensive lineman — no, that’s not a typo — Kobe Bennefeld even scored on a 2-yard plunge late in the fourth quarter.
The Bears’ lone score came way on a 32-yard touchdown strike to sophomore receiver Ty Dyrdahl from Gerlofs in the third quarter.
The second-seeded Falcons take on the sixth-seeded Park Christian Falcons this Saturday — a rematch from Nov. 12 when Fertile-Beltrami coach Brian Nelson’s Falcons beat the opposing Falcons 38-7. Park Christian was supposed to play No. 3 Nevis, but the Tigers had to forfeit due to not having enough players, leaving the playoffs with a Falcons vs. Falcons matchup.