A furious Mabel-Canton fourth quarter rally forced overtime, but the Cougars fell short in the extra period 52-44 at Randolph on Friday, Oct. 13. The outcome left Mabel-Canton at 3-4 (2-4 East) and the Rockets at 4-3 (3-3 East). Randolph leads the series with the Cougars 3-2.

The Mabel-Canton fourth-quarter rally was stunning, forcing overtime before literally coming up two yards short on the final play of the extra period. The Cougars made up a 16-point deficit within the span of one minute and 21 seconds and then recovered a Rocket fumble on their own 1-yard line with 10 seconds left in regulation.

The term “offensive showcase” feels like an understatement. Three Cougars finished with over 100 rushing yards. Brenden Kerns ran for 178 yards on 24 carries, including five and two-yard TD runs plus a pair of two-point conversions.

Ryan Kuhn carried the ball 16 times for 114 yards, including a 10-yard TD run and two-point conversion to tie the score with just 1:07 left in regulation.

Drew Wyffels gained 125 yards on 16 carries, including TD runs of 17 and 45 yards. The Cougars didn’t throw often, but Wyffels did complete four of seven for 49 yards, including a late TD pass to Logan Richardson.

To say it was a good night to play offense is yet another understatement. The teams combined for 45 first downs and a whopping total of more than 1,000 yards of offense with M-C finishing at 480 yards (mostly on the ground) and Randolph at 574 (mostly through the air).

Andrew Wenstrom, who came in as the leading passer in the sub-district with 1,048 yards, led the Rocket attack while running for 3 touchdowns (47, 40 and 16 yards) and passing for another 3 TDs (23, 77 and 5 yards). He also completed 3 passes for extra-points and scored twice on extra-point runs.

Wenstrom completed 19 of 30 passes for 335 yards and rushed for another 157 yards, amassing an amazing 492 yards of total offense. The Randolph QB scored on a 47-yard TD run on the game’s fourth play, but the offensive fireworks didn’t come until after halftime.

Both teams had some success in the first half with the Cougars taking an 8-6 lead after an impressive 14-play drive covering 81 yards.

But M-C fumbled away one early opportunity at the Randolph 31-yard line and was denied on a fourth-down attempt after driving the ball deep into Randolph territory at the Rocket nine yard-line.

Randolph then took the ball 91 yards in 11 plays to go ahead 14-8 at halftime.

The Rockets had also lost an opportunity in the first half, running out of downs at the Cougar 19.

There was almost nothing that went wrong for the offenses in the second half as Mabel-Canton scored on five of six possessions and Randolph reached the end zone on four of six possessions.

After scoring on four straight drives, the Rockets led by 16 points (44-28) with only 3:56 left. The Cougars would have to get two TDs and two 2-point conversions with a defensive stop in between just to tie the score.

M-C pulled it off, first going 52 yards in only five plays. Wyffels threw the ball 14 yards to Richardson and Ethan Underbakke ran in the two points to make it 44-36 with 2:28 to play.

The Cougars forced a Rocket punt, which only went 14 yards after being blocked by Wyffels. M-C took possession at its 38 yard-line, using only six plays to cover 62 yards with Kuhn running for the final 10 yards and also carrying in the two-point conversion. That tied the score at 44-all with only 1:07 to play.

After a near-miraculous Cougar comeback to tie the game, Randolph came roaring back 63 yards and looked to be on the verge of scoring as the clock ran out.

Most coaches would be satisfied with a one-turnover game, and the Rockets only had one. However, the timing was awful for Randolph. It came with 10 seconds to play at the Cougar goal line.

Wenstrom had first down yardage attained before Nate Magnuson and Blake Henry forced a fumble, which was picked up by Conner Gulbranson inches from the goal line and returned to the Cougar 4. M-C would take a knee and send the game to overtime.

Each team would have four downs from the 10-yard line. Randolph had the ball first with Wenstrom throwing a five-yard TD pass on third down and then completing another pass for the two-point conversion. The Rockets led 52-44.

The Cougars then ran the ball three times to get it down to the three-yard line. The fourth-down run was stopped at the two, and Randolph began to celebrate.

Both teams had come into the game with identical 3-3 records, and this wasn’t the first overtime thriller they’d played. This one came a season after Mabel-Canton beat the Rockets 46-40 in overtime at Mabel.

This week and next

The regular season ended with the Cougars hosting Lanesboro (2-5) on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The section tournament begins on Tuesday, Oct. 24 and continues on Saturday, Oct. 28.

The youngest gridders

The sixth and fifth-grade Spring Grove/Mabel-Canton boys ended an unbeaten season (6-0) by blanking Winona Orange 41-0 in the Morrie Miller League championship game in the rain at Winona.

Over the last two seasons, the SG/MC varsity boys have gone undefeated in 11 games while winning the league championship both years - giving up no touchdowns in 2016 and only two scores in 2017

>>EAST SUB-DISTRICT

Spring Grove…....6-0 (7-0 all)

Houston………….5-1 (6-1)

Grand Meadow….4-2 (5-2)

LeRoy-Ostrander .3-3 (4-3)

Randolph………...3-3 (4-3)

Mabel-Canton….2-4 (3-4)

Lanesboro……….1-5 (2-5)

Lyle/Pacelli……....0-6 (0-7)

>>M-C 44, Ran 52 (OT)

MC--0--8---8---28--0  = 44

Ran--6--8--16--14--8  = 52

TEAM TOTALS

YARDAGE (rush+pass)

M-C 480 (431+49)

Ran 574 (239+335)

RUSHING: att.-yards (avg.)

M-C 68-431 (6.3) 5 TD (+ 4PAT)

Ran 30-239 (8.0) 4 TD, (+2PAT)

PASSES: comp-att-int, yds. (TD)

M-C 4-7-0, 49 yds., TD

Ran 19-30-0, 335 yds., 3 TD (+3PAT)

SACKS allowed: M-C 2, Ran 2

TDs: M-C 5 rush, 1 pass

Ran 4 rush, 3 pass

PAT:  M-C 4-6 (rush 4-6)

Ran 5-7 (rush 2-4, pass 3-3)

TOTAL PLAYS: M-C 75, Ran 60

YARDS/PLAY: M-C 6.4, Ran 9.6

FUMBLES - LOST: M-C 1-1, Ran 3-1

TURNOVERS: M-C 1, Ran 1

PENALTY: M-C 5-40, Ran 10-84

3rd downs: M-C 6-13, Ran 6-10

4th downs: M-C 3-5, Ran 0-1

Red zone: M-C 5-7, Ran 3-5

First downs: M-C 24, Ran 21

Plays 20+ yards: M-C 5, Ran 7

>>M-C INDIVIDUALS:

RUSHING: Brenden Kerns 24-178, 2 TD, long 28; Drew Wyffels 16-125, 2 TD, long 45;; Ryan Kuhn 23-114, TD, long 26; Ethan Underbakke 4-15; Team 1-(-1) knee

PASSING: Wyffels 4-7-0, 49 yds. TD

RECEIVING: Ryan Kuhn 1-21; Logan Richardson 1-14, TD; Ethan Underbakke 1-9; Brenden Kerns 1-5

PUNTING: Kerns 2-73 (36.5 avg.)

INTERCEPTIONS: none

BLOCKED PUNTS: Drew Wyffels 1

FUMBLE RECOVERIES:

Conner Gulbranson 1 - 3 yards

SACKS: Blake Henry 1.0, Nate Magnuson 0.5, Pierce Lind 0-5

KICKOFF RETURNS: Ethan Underbakke 2-22, Brenden Kerns 1-20, Ryan Kuhn 1-15

PUNT RETURNS: none

SCORING: Kerns 16, Wyffels 12, Kuhn 8, Richardson 6, Underbakke 2