Raiders heading to state

NICOLLET- Nicollet defeated Madelia 28-12 for the Section 2, 9-man football championship Friday night.

Riley Benzel of Madelia intercepted an errand Dalton Elliott pass at 8:15 of the first period.

Kyle Schultz threw a long pass to Benzel for what appeared to be a touchdown, but the officials ruled it out of bounds and no score.

Nicollet took over on downs and turned it into a touchdown on a 70-yard pass from Dalton Elliott to Matt Fischer with 3:59 left in the first quarter. Fischer caught the ball and he raced down the right side of the field for the score. The PAT gave the Raiders an early 7-0 lead.

Later, Schultz threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jack Bergeman at 10:43 of the second quarter. Schultz tried a quarterback sneak for the two-point PAT, but if failed and Madelia trailed 7-6, which was the halftime score.

Neither team was able to score in the third period because both teams defense stiffened.

Matt Christensen scored on a 9-yard run at 11:21 of the fourth quarter. Fischer’s PAT gave Nicollet a 14-6 lead.

Nicollet thought it scored a touchdown on a one-yard plunge by Matt Christenson, but a penalty wiped it out. On the next play, Elliott scored on a six-yard touchdown run with less than six minutes left in the game. Fischer was able to make the PAT, and Nicollet led 21-6.

Elliott handed off the Christenson who scored the Raiders final touchdown of the night. Fischer’s kick gave Nicollet a 28-6 advantage.

Schultz threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Benzel with 18 seconds left in the game. Schultz tried a two-point conversion on a quarterback sneak, but the Raider defense stopped it.

Elliott took two snaps, put his knee to the ground, and time ran out, securing the Raiders trip to the state tournament

“The turnovers really helped, and we really executed our game plan. Our defensive play was good. Our defense took away their passing game, and the credit for that goes to Coach Christenson, said Nicollet Head Coach Tom Murphy.

Elliott was happy to be a part of another section championship team.

“I’m (more than) a little happy,” Nicollet quarterback Dalton Elliott said. “The championship means more to me than the passing record. We earned it because different players stepped in and filled holes when they needed to.”

“They’re well-coached and they played well,” Madelia coach Terry Arduser said. “That’s a championship team. I’m proud of our kids.”

Nicollet will now travel to Roseville to play an opponent to be determined in the first round of the Minnesota State 9-Man tournament on Friday.

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