Hahn, Heitzman spoil homecoming for Alex
The Alexandria football team was left searching for answers on both sides of the ball after a homecoming game that got away from them early in a 55-21 loss to Willmar on Saturday afternoon.
Willmar’s talented backfield proved to be almost unstoppable as the visiting Cardinals came into Alexandria and ran to a 27-0 lead by the break. Junior Michael Heitzman had his team’s first three touchdowns and quarterback Augustine Hahn added three more rushing and threw for another to drop Alexandria to 0-5 on the season.
“It’s definitely not fun, that’s for sure,” Alexandria senior captain Parker Bowden said. “Giving up 55 points; that just can’t happen if you expect to win a game…We had to punt our first couple drives and they scored their first couple drives. That put us in a hole right away and we just couldn’t dig ourselves out.”
Heitzman and Hahn made life miserable for the Alexandria defense. Heitzman scored his three touchdowns on runs of seven, nine and one yard on his way to 82 yards. Hahn got in on the action with a rushing touchdown from nine yards out that made it 27-0 at the half.
Willmar (4-1, 2-0 CLC South) came into the game averaging 35 points per game and the 55 points was a season high on Saturday. The Willmar Cardinals put up 566 yards of total offense, compared to 199 for Alexandria.
“We knew Willmar had very good athletes at their skill positions,” Alexandria head coach Mike Empting said. “We knew that coming in. From here, I just think we have to stay true to what we’re doing. I have to watch the video, but it looked like a lot of times on their running game, that we had guys at the point of attack. I mean, there were a few times where I thought we were going to have them corralled for a loss and it ended up being a 10-yard gain. They just made really good plays.”
Hahn ran for two touchdowns in the second half of 12 and 45 yards before he connected with Tyler Pendill on a 14-yard touchdown pass that made it 48-7. Hahn finished the day with 101 yards rushing on 10 carries and 225 yards through the air on 16-of-26 passing.
Heitzman is listed at just 5’6” and 165 pounds, but he plays with a combination of strength and elusiveness. Couple that with Hahn’s big day on the ground and his ability to throw to guys like 6’6” Adam Nibaur and 6’5” Austin Grove and it made for a long day on defense for the home Cardinals.
“Michael, he’s really good,” Bowden said. “One man can’t bring him down. You got to bring the whole house. Their quarterback, he can throw too, so they have a good balance. It keeps you on your toes.”
Alexandria struggled equally on the offensive side of the ball. The Cardinals’ only touchdown through three quarters came on special teams when junior lineman Mitch Maday scooped up a fumble on a Willmar punt return and took it 26 yards to the end zone to make it a 34-7 game.
Senior running back Mitch Peck had a 38-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Freshman quarterback Jaran Roste also scored on a run of five yards after taking over for senior John Vogeler with the game well out of reach late.
“Offensively, we put our defense in a tough spot because we just struggled to get anything going again today,” Empting said. “We have to watch the video but I think probably it was a combination of a couple different things. We had some missed assignments today. We have kind of a patchwork offensive line in there because of injuries, but they’ve had time to prepare for this thing. They should know their assignments. We knew coming into this season that we were thin on our line spots across the board, and I think they took advantage of that today.”
Vogeler dealt with constant pressure from the Willmar defense and finished 14-of-22 passing for 90 yards and an interception. Peck had 75 of Alexandria’s 109 rushing yards. Much of that came in the fourth quarter with Willmar’s first-string defense watching from the sidelines.
“I wish I could tell you,” Bowden said of the offensive struggles. “We don’t really know right now.”
The Cardinals will have a chance to get things going this Friday as they host another home game against 0-5 Grand Rapids. The Thunderhawks have struggled in their first year in the Central Lakes Conference and have lost their five games by an average 30 points per game.
WILLMAR 13 14 21 7 – 55
ALEXANDRIA 0 0 7 14 – 21
TOTALS – Alexandria – Rushing – 42-109; Passing – 14-22, 90 yards, 1 interception; Willmar – Rushing – 44-257; Passing – 19 completions for 309 yards
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – Rushing – Vogeler – 17-(-12); Peck – 16-75, TD; Jacob Vukelich – 3-4; Roste – 6-42, TD; Passing – Vogeler – 14-22, 90 yards, INT; Receiving – Peck – 1-10; David Krivanek – 6-40; Bowden – 4-7; Travis Krueger – 1-11; Joe Gorghuber – 1-11; Tyler Thompson – 1-11
ALEXANDRIA DEFENSE – Bowden – 3 solo, 2 assisted; Ben Kluver – 2 solo, 2 assisted; Gorghuber – 7 solo; Eric Noetzelman – 1 solo, 3 assisted; Riley Hvezda – 7 solo, 2 assisted; Brody Erdman – 1 solo; Connor Barth – 1 solo; Jake Nienaber – 1 solo; Michael Helgeson – 1 assisted; David Anderson – 2 assisted; Sam Helgeson – 2 solo, 2 assisted, 1 pass breakup; Jeremiah Burnham – 1 solo, 2 assisted; Jed Willander – 2 solo, 1 assisted; Aaron Steidl – 1 solo, 2 assisted; Landon Anderson – 2 solo, 1 assisted; Parker Revering – 7 solo, 7 assisted; Nick Partington – 1 assisted, fumble recovery; Ryan Thompson – 1 assisted; Jordan Karger – 2 solo; Mitch Maday – 2 solo, 1 assisted, fumble recovery, TD; Parker Marti – 1 assisted; Quinn Gibson – 5 assisted; Nick Dee – 1 assisted; Aarin Willander – 1 solo, 2 assisted