The Mound Westonka High School football team got off to a slow start in an afternoon game Sept. 8 at St. Paul Johnson, but the White Hawks hammered away at the Governors’ defense to come back and win 27-20.
White Hawks senior running back Bobby Sweet had a record-breaking day. Sweet set a new MWHS single-game rushing record with 259 yards on 33 carries. He also scored two touchdowns and chipped in three tackles on defense.
St. Paul Johnson took a 12-0 lead early in the game on a couple of fluke plays. The Governors scored on their first offensive play from scrimmage when the White Hawks’ cornerback tripped while in coverage. The White Hawks then drove all the way down the field on the ensuing offensive position but threw an interception that St. Paul Johnson senior defender Johnathan Sinkfield returned for a touchdown.
“We did not expect at all to be down 12-0 in the first quarter,” said White Hawks head coach Nick David. “We were once again very proud of how our boys responded. They didn’t get rattled or uptight at all; they just put their helmets on and went right back to work.”
“We have focused a lot the past couple of years on a ‘next play’ mentality, and they exhibited it to its fullest last Friday night,” David added.
Sweet scored twice on first-half touchdown runs of 4 and 3 yards to give the White Hawks the lead early in the second quarter. Junior Alex Farwell then scored his first varsity touchdown off a 15-yard pass from junior quarterback Brandon Hokkanen to bring the score to 21-12. Hokkanen put together another efficient game, finishing 4-for-8 with 69 yards and a touchdown. A 31-yard field goal by senior kicker Jon Neve gave the White Hawks a 12-point lead at halftime.
David called the efforts of the White Hawks offensive line—made up of seniors Marshall Boser, Jarek Witczek and Bailey Ramlet and juniors Ben Wulf, Sam Kerr, Thomas Elliott and Farwell—”nothing short of brilliant.”
“I cannot say enough about how well the offensive line executed this past Friday night,” David said. “Any time a running back breaks a rushing record, you know that things were firing on all cylinders up front as well.”
The Governors scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown and 2-point conversion in the second half but were unable to retake the lead. A 43-yard field goal by Neve in the third quarter ended the scoring for the game. In addition to his two field goals, Neve was 3-for-3 on extra points to remain perfect on the season. The final score was 27-20 White Hawks.
Filling in for injured senior running back Conner Clark, junior Kris Kurtz put together a nice game running the ball, finishing with 67 yards on 10 carries. Kurtz also paced the defense for the second game in a row, totaling 10 tackles, four tackles for loss and an interception.
Farwell also had a nice game on defense, finishing with six tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Junior Logan Holmgren recorded seven tackles and recovered a fumble forced by Wulf.
Other defensive standouts included senior Evan Dahl and junior Sam Dufault, who recorded interceptions at pivotal points in the game. Dahl also pitched in 32 yards receiving on two receptions.
The win brought the White Hawks’ record to 2-0. According to David, the team will be focusing on ball security and tackling in preparation for a home game against Minneapolis Patrick Henry on Sept. 15.
”We have far too many turnovers in the two games that we have played,” said David. “[Ball security] has been one of our strengths the past couple of years and is definitely something that we need to shore up.”
David added, “We are going to do our best to put the boys into some more competitive and physical situations this week in hopes that it translates into more physical play on Friday night against Minneapolis Patrick Henry.”
Photos by Dennis Hoogeveen
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