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Class AA Semifinal West Central Area/Ashby 8 Maple River 7

Posted: Friday, November 19, 2021 - 2:08 PM

Touchdowns and field goals typically determine the outcomes of football games, but the Class AA semifinal between Maple River and West Central Area/Ashby had a unique game-deciding twist.

West Central Area/Ashby recorded a two-point safety late in the third quarter to climb over Maple River for an 8-7 victory on Friday, Nov. 19 at U.S. Bank Stadium. The victory sends the Knights (11-1) into the Prep Bowl Championship game against Chatfield on Friday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. Senior linebacker Hunter Norby stopped Maple River junior running back Cooper Ochsendorf for a three-yard loss in the end zone with 1:04 remaining in the third quarter to provide the winning margin to earn a spot in a championship game for the first time since 1999 when it was the Class AA runner-up. Norby ended the day with two sacks and nine tackles.

West Central Area/Ashby’s defense also came up big in the final minutes of regulation time. Facing a 4th and 4 on the Knights’ 14-yard line, Maple River senior running back Boden Smith was held to half of that after being stopped by junior defensive lineman Tyler Stone. West Central Area/Ashby had 11 combined tackles from sophomore defensive back Nasir Dotts-Wakemup.

West Central Area/Ashby opened the scoring on a 16-yard touchdown pass from junior Anthony Sykora to junior wide receiver Cole Anderson.

The Eagles (11-2) answered with 13 seconds left in the first half when Simon scored from three yards and junior Landon Fox tacked on the extra-point for a 7-6 lead at the break.

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