Wolverines’ defense too much for GFW
WINTHROP – Sibley East racked up 257 yards of total offense to complement a dominant defensive performance en route to a 33-6 thumping of Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop in a nonconference high school football opener on Friday.
The Wolverines (1-0) dominated possession in the first half of the game with a strong running attack.
“It always feels good to get out here and smack some people from the other team at game speed in the season opener,” said Sibley East senior running back Erik Danielson.
After fumbling the ball on their first possession of the game, the Wolverines took advantage of an interception by linebacker Donovan Swanson.
Sibley East used a balanced rushing and passing attack to move the ball down the field before Danielson powered the ball in from the 2-yard line for the first score of the game.
Quarterback Brody Rodning ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Wolverines an 8-0 lead.
GFW (0-1) gave the ball right back to the Wolverines when Jaden Katzenmeyer’s pass was intercepted by Travis Schmidt.
Sibley East was forced to punt, however, when what would have been a fourth-down conversion was called back for offensive pass interference.
The Wolverines scored again with 1:45 remaining in the half. They did not put the ball in the air for the entire drive with the majority of the yards gained by the legs of Danielson.
The drive went 63 yards and lasted three minutes and 45 seconds. Danielson recorded his second touchdown on a three yard rush.
“The offensive line played amazing tonight,” Danielson said. “I just have to give them all the credit for my success tonight.”
Katzenmeyer’s pass was intercepted on the two point conversion, and Sibley East took a 14-0 lead into the half.
Sibley East started with great field possession on its first drive of the second half after GFW sailed a snap over their punter’s head on fourth down.
Rodning ran the ball in himself on the third play of the drive, but Sibley East missed the extra point. The Wolverines extended their lead to 20-0 early in the second half.
The Thunderbirds forced Sibley East into a punting situation late in the third quarter, but they squandered the opportunity by roughing the punter to extend the Wolverine drive.
Quin Riffenburg took advantage of the opportunity and got into the end zone on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give Sibley East a 26-0 lead.
The Thunderbirds scored their lone touchdown of the game on a 95-yard fumble return by sophomore Gustavo Munoz with 4:20 left in the game making the score 26-6.
“Gustavo is a heck of an athlete,” said GFW head coach Pat Hentges. “(Gustavo) has great speed, and he is just a really tough kid.”
Beau Swenson busted a 50-yard run to the four yard line late in the fourth quarter and scored on a 4-yard run the next play for Sibley East’s final score of the game.
Francisco Guzman tacked on the extra point to make the final score 33-6 in favor of the Wolverines.
Katzenmeyer led the Thunderbirds offensively with 57 yards rushing.
Tristan Schmidt and Munoz led the GFW defense with 13 and nine tackles, respectively.
“Contrary to the score, I thought our defense played very well tonight,” Hentges said. “(The defense) was out on the field a lot, and they never quit hustling and playing hard.”
No individual stats were available for Sibley East.
The Wolverines (1-0) travel to play at Jordan next Friday, while GFW (0-1) plays at home against Maple River.