VERMILLON, S.D. — The Hartington Wildcats got an early lead on the Winside Wildcats and then held off their opponents for a big 22-16 win Thursday at the DakotaDome.
Winside would out-gain Hartington on the night, but the Big Purple would come out ahead where it counted — on the scoreboard.
The win improved Hartington’s record to 5-3 and gives them a chance to avenge a regular season loss to the Creighton Bulldogs in a rematch in Thursday’s first round playoff game.
Hartington’s Nick Miller led the offense with 101 yards rushing and 56 yards passing on his way to two touchdowns.
Alec Fuelberth had the other Hartington TD.
Adam Wortmann and Reece Pedersen led the solid defensive effort for the boys in Purple with 15 tackles each and Alec Fuelberth and Josh Nelson contributed with 12 stops apiece.
Winside was led by Forrest Jones with 25 carries for 107 and Caleb Lienemann with 23 carries for 99 yards while Blaine Meyer added 55 yards and scored the two touchdowns for the Wildcats in red.
Hartington dominated the first quarter on both sides of the ball as they shut down Winside’s potent ground game. Nick Miller put the purple Cats on top early with an electrifying 73-yard gallop for Hartington’s first touchdown.
At the midway mark of the opening period, Hartington was on the march again. Alec Fuelberth capped the 60-yard drive with a two-yard blast off the left side for the touchdown. Eric Derickson bulled in for the PAT and the Wildcats led 14-0 after one quarter.
The Red Wildcats began to find some running room in the second quarter as they put together a 12-play 72-yard drive to paydirt. Blaine Meyer ran in from the five yard-line for the score. Caleb Lienemann hooked up with Meyer for the PAT and Winside had cut the lead to 14-8 at the half.
Both teams were able to get into the other red zone, but the defense stiffened resulting in a scoreless third quarter.
Winside opened the final frame with another drive. Behind the hard running of Forrest Jones and some timely Caleb Lienemann scrambles they drove 55 yards. Blaine Meyer dove in from a yard out to score. Jones added the PAT and the Red Cats had the lead 16-14.
As crunch time approached, Hartington responded with a game-winning drive. Behind the hard running of Alec Fuelberth they moved the ball into Winside territory. A 24-yard catch and run by Eric Derickson and an option keeper by Nick Miller advanced the ball to the five-yard line. Nick Miller scored from the one behind a nice push by the Wildcat line. Miller added the PAT and HPS retook the lead 22-16. The defense did the rest as HPS won this cat fight 22-16.
Winside 0 8 0 8 —16
Hartington 14 0 0 —22
Hartington – Nick Miller, 14-104; Alec Fuelberth, 12-65; Eric Derickson, 6-26; Adam Hochstein, 3-16. Winside – Forrest Jones, 25-107; Caleb Lienemann, 23-99; Blaine Meyer, 10-55.
Hartington – Nick Miller, 3-6-56. Winside – Blaine Meyer, 3-9-47. yards
Hartington – Adam Wortmann, 2-32; Eric Derickson, 1-24. Winside – Levi Lange, 1-36; Coltin Brokaw, 1-19 Caleb Lienemann, 1-2.
Hartington – Alec Fuelberth, 12; Adam Wortmann, 15; Reece Pedersen, 15; Josh Nelson, 12; Eric Derickson, 11; Nick Miller, 7; Taylor Fischer, 4; Adam Hochstein, 4.
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