The Hutchinson Tigers plowed through the Fridley Tigers Friday for a 52-14 win in the Class 4A state quarterfinals at Hopkins.
Hutchinson is the No. 1 ranked seed in the bracket but was lined up on the away team side of the field Friday. The Hutch faithful still made their way to Hopkins High School, filling out their section with plenty of fans until there was only standing room along a gate to watch the game.
“The town of Hutch coming out to support really is what shocked us right away,” senior captain Ethan Beffert said. “Right when we left the school, the whole town was there. It really motivated us to run it up a little bit.”
The game itself was over at halftime. The defense was in control except for one hiccup on Fridley’s first drive of the game. But after that, Hutchinson forced four straight three-and-outs on defense.
Fridley also could not stop the Tigers on offense, allowing more than 400 yards rushing. In the first half, Hutchinson scored on all but one of its five offensive drives to take a 30-7 lead into halftime.
“We knew we had to come out and assert that we were the bigger team and show that we can push them around,” senior running back Hayden Jensen said. “We just lined up nose-to-nose and showed that we were tougher.”
The second half was much of the same as the first. When Fridley would move the ball, the Tigers were quick to tackle and not let anything get behind them. Trailing big in the second half, Fridley fought every down and was forced to go for it on fourth downs. Fridley’s only other score was late in fourth quarter when Hutch’s secondary backups took over the game.
The Tigers’ offense continued to do its thing and rack up big chunks of yards on the ground. They scored three more times, twice in the fourth quarter for good measure.
“We just came out and out-physicaled them tonight,” head coach Andy Rostberg said. “It’s demoralizing for another team when you stack your whole team up in there and we were still hurting them off tackle.”
The team has come a long way to get to this point. The camaraderie is there as players hugged and cheered each other on the sideline. Jensen is a senior captain for the Tigers and had to ponder a bit when he thought this team was capable of something special.
“This summer,” he said. “All the work we put in this summer, all the fun we had during practice. We’re all just a bunch of guys that love to hangout and have fun.”
On to the Bank
For the first time in a long time, Hutchinson football will play its next game indoors. But not in just any stadium, it’s the home of the Minnesota Vikings.
The next game is 4:30 p.m. Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. For most, this will be their first time ever playing in an indoor stadium. But that shouldn’t be a problem considering the temperatures of mid-November. Playing at the professional stadium is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will make many memories.
“It feels good to be going to the Bank,” Beffert said. “I know a lot of guys got family coming, it’s a big deal.”
“We’re going to enjoy this one tonight, tommorrow and Sunday.” Rostberg said. “Then we’ll get ready for whoever we face.”
Hutchinson 52, Fridley 14 (Nov. 8)
Fridley … 7 0 0 7
Hutch … 14 16 8 14
H—Tyler Schiller 12 run (pass no good)
F—Kaleb Blaha 10 pass to Terrell Davis (kick good)
H — Schiller 40 run (Russell Corrigan run)
H—Russell Corrigan 9 run (Corrigan pass to Hayden Jensen)
H—Corrigan 1 run (Corrigan run)
H—Jensen 3 run (Corrigan run)
H—Ty Glaser 1 run (Corrigan run)
H—Mitchel Piehl 9 run (no good)
F—Blaha 29 run (kick good)
Rushing — Hutch: 53-449; Fridley: 15-44
Passing yards — Hutch: 1-30; Fridley: 13-102
Total offense — Hutch: 479; Fridley: 146
Passing: Corrigan 1-3-30-0-0
Rushing: Hayden Jensen 11-151, Tyler Schiller 28-200, Mitchell Piehl 3-25, Riley Gil 2-20, Ty Glaser 4-16, Russell Corrigan 5-37
Receiving: Ethan Beffert 1-30
Tackles: Logan Holtz 2, Zeke Cosby 3, Devon Verhasselt 1, Billy Marquardt 3, Sam Rensch 2, Ciaran McGraw 3, Beffert 2, Payton Jepsen 2, Piehl 1, Alex Nelson 2, Alex Staples 2, Jake Schumann 2, Tristan Hoppe 5, Cody Kurth 2, Jordan Titus 1
Sacks: Beffert 2, Nelson 2, Titus 1