The UNC Warriors’ “One Dream” season came to an end Friday night in St. Cloud.
United North Central fell to second-ranked Pipestone Area 49-9 in the semifinals of the State Class AA Football Tournament.
The Arrows didn’t waste any time. On UNC’s first three drives, it ran nine plays for minus-two yards. On Pipestone Area’s first two drives, it ran eight plays and scored twice.
A quick three-and-out and a nice return set the Arrows up at the UNC 43 to start their first possession. Five plays later, Brayden Baartman found Justin Rops for a 26-yard touchdown. Caleb Tinklenberg’s PAT made it 7-0 with 7:57 left in the opening frame.
After another three-and-out forced by the Arrow defense, it took the offense just three plays to find the end zone again. A 33-yard run by Baartman made the score 13-0 with 5:40 remaining.
The Warriors scored their only touchdown of the night came early in the second quarter. On fourth-and-7 from the Pipestone 22, quarterback Tom Tellers was flushed out of the pocket and put up an off-balanced heave toward the back of the end zone. Senior wide receiver Thane Dailey was covered well, but he made an outstanding, lunging catch. The extra-point by James Clark cut the lead to 13-7.
Pipestone Area needed just 15 seconds to respond. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Baartman and Rops connected again, this time it was a 74-yard touchdown strike. Trevor Schumann caught the two-point conversion pass and the Arrows were up 21-7.
Trying to get something going on their next possession against the stingy Pipestone defense, the Warriors went for it on fourth-and-6 at their own 30 yard line. But the Arrow’s third sack of the game resulted in a turnover on downs.
Pipestone Area took advantage of the excellent field position. For the third time in the contest, the Baartman-to-Rops connection resulted in a touchdown. The nine-yard scoring strike and PAT pushed the Arrows’ advantage to 28-7 with 4:45 before halftime.
The Arrows added a five-yard touchdown run by Dylan McCormick with 19 remaining to take a 35-7 lead into halftime.
After the aerial fireworks in the first half, the Pipestone Area turned to the rushing attack in the second.
A 13-yard run by Daniel Larson, followed by the extra-point, made the score 42-7. Larson scored from four yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter. The ensuing PAT closed the scoring for the Arrows at 49-9.
United North Central scored its final points of the night on a safety.
Baartman finished with a game-high 110 yards rushing on just nine carries. He also completed 9-of-12 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Rops finished the game with four catches for 129 yards and three touchdowns.
Tellers was 5-of-14 for 47 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed 17 times for 62 yards. Kirby Hrdlicka was held to 28 yards on 11 carries. George Lausten ran six times for 16 yards. Dailey finished two two receptions, 24 yards and the one TD. Aaron Hrdlicka, Kirby Hrdlicka and Clark each had one catch.
Tellers led the defense with 14 tackles (12 solo/2 assists). Colt Hansen made 11 (10/1), Clark and Owen Anderson both had 8 solo tackles, while Lausten added 7 (4/3) tackles.
The Warriors finished their season at 9-3.