NYM to face Deer River in the opening round of state
By Chad Koenen
Just about the only thing that could stop the New York Mills offense on Friday night was halftime.
The Eagles scored a touchdown on five of their opening six possessions of the game. The lone time they didn’t score came after an interception gave the Eagles the ball with just seconds remaining in the second quarter. The end result was a 32-0 win over the Breckenridge Cowboys and NY Mills’ first state tournament berth since 2006.
“We played a very good game on Friday night,” said head coach Matt Radniecki. “I was very proud of the defensive and offensive effort. We really played an all around great game. The kids were focused and came ready to play.”
In a game of ball possession, NY Mills dominated Breckenridge in the opening half of the game. The Eagles marched their opening drive of the game right down the field, before Bren Salo capped off the drive with a 1-yard run to put NY Mills up 6-0.
Breckenridge had its opening drive stall deep in the Eagles territory, before Salo scored his second touchdown of the game to put NY Mills up 12-0 in the second quarter.
NY Mills dominated the time of possession in the first half as the Cowboys didn’t get the ball for the second time until there was just 4 minutes left in the first half. That drive quickly stalled and the Eagles sscored on a 46-yard pass from Salo to Jonah Johnson to give NY Mills a dominant 18-0 lead going into halftime.
Radniecki said the Eagles offensive and defensive lines controlled the line of scrimmage and helped to open holes for NY Mills’ running backs throughout the game.
“Our offensive and defensive lines controlled the line of scrimmage and our backs did a nice job of running and blocking for each other.”Coach Matt Radniecki
It was more of the same in the second half for NY Mills as Salo scored his third touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run and Johnson made the score 32-0 on a 67-yard run. Brayden Ehnert kicked both extra points in the third quarter.
The win advances the Eagles to their first state tournament in 15 years as they will take on the top ranked team in the QRF in Deer River.
“I am really pleased for this group as they have set the goal to get to state and kept believing in each other and have gotten there,” said Radniecki. “We get an opportunity to play in the state tournament and that is pretty special. I would also like to thank our fans who were out in full force. It was great to see you at the dome and we hope to see you Friday in Brainerd.”
Deer River comes into the game with a perfect 11-0 record and advanced to the state tournament with a 32-8 win over Barnum. They won the Section 7A championship and come into the state tournament averaging 33.6 points per game on offense, while giving up 10.4 points per game on defense.
The Eagles are 9-1 on the season and are currently ranked eighth in the QRF. They are averaging 32.9 points per game on offense and give up just 7.8 points per game on defense. NY Mills is currently giving up the second fewest points per game in all of Class A with only Minneota giving up less.
The state football tournament will kick off this week at various locations throughout the state. The Section 8A champion Mahnomen/Waubun will take on the Section 5A champion team from Minneota, while the Section 4A champion team from Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa will take on the Section 1A champion from Rushford/Peterson and the Section 3A champion from Murray County Central will take on the Section 2A champion from Mayer Lutheran.
The winner of Deer River and NY Mills will take on the winner of Murray County Central and Mayer Lutheran on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 11:30 a.m. at US Bank Stadium.
The Class A state championship game will be held on Friday, Nov. 26 at 10 a.m. at US Bank Stadium.