R-P football opens playoffs with win over Hayfield

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The Rushford-Peterson football team kicked off the Section 1A playoffs with a 54-13 win over Hayfield in the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday night, Oct. 23rd.

The No. 3 seed Trojans used a second-quarter offensive outburst to sweep the No. 6 seed Vikings in their second matchup of the season.

R-P coach Davin Thompson said the team had no problem bouncing back from a disappointing loss to Blooming Prairie in the last game of the regular season. “It really was a fun night,” Thompson said. “We really turned a corner with our on-field leadership. The kids played with a lot of heart, grit, and passion. We played really well together and for each other.

“We actually played without a couple key players in Vinnie Mason and Ian Brown, our starting defensive ends. Tim Highum and Brennan Volkman came in and played well in relief. It was a really good team win on Tuesday night.

“Offensively, we got (running back) Ethan Sense his touches, carrying the ball between the tackles and off the edges,” Thompson said. “Triton Meldahl had a big night while running on some option plays and quick pitches. Kobe Lind made some really nice catches, and Ethan Hermanson played well again. The offensive line also did well despite missing Mason and Brown on that side too.”

The R-P offense totaled up 473 yards on 50 plays. The Trojans ground game averaged an impressive 8.50 yards per carry, rushing the ball 34 times for 289 yards. Triton Meldahl was explosive, finishing with 109 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries, including a long 79-yard scamper (21.80 yards per carry). Ethan Sense rushed for 54 yards and two TD’s on 13 carries. Carson Flynn added five carries and 63 yards with one touchdown. Fullback Carter Weidemann also had a rushing TD.

Senior QB Landon Skalet was very efficient in the final home game of his career, completing 10 of 15 passes for 184 yards and two TD’s. Hermanson was explosive catching the football, finishing with four receptions for 103 yards and a TD. Lind added four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.

“We did really well on special teams too,” Thompson added. “At one point, we even recovered an onside kick. Coach (Chris) Drinkall noticed a couple of their blockers bailing on the kickoff return team, so Nolan (Mueller) attempted an onside kick to his right and Kobe Lind was able to recover it. That play gave us an extra possession.”

The win earned Rushford-Peterson a rematch with the Goodhue Wildcats. The Trojans lost the regular-season game vs. Goodhue 14-7 on Friday night, Oct. 5.