The West Central Area-Ashby football team is looking like a Section 6AA contender through its first two games of the season.
On Friday night, WCA-A beat Wadena-Deer Creek 57-0 behind 41 points in the first half.
“We’re feeling good right now because you’re never going to know for sure what’s going to happen,” head coach Nate Wood said. “We’ve worked really hard in taking care of business for ourselves. Good things happen because of it and it’s really nice to be rewarded for your hard work with a win.”
Junior running back Jordan Lohse started the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown run. A two-point conversion run from junior quarterback Jaden Norby gave the Knights an 8-0 lead.
Conner Nadgwick was able to strip WDC quarterback Payton Rondestvedt to give the ball back to WCA-A on the Wolverines' next possession. During the Knights’ first offensive play of the drive, Norby ran the ball 29 yards but fumbled the ball into the end zone. Sophomore offensive lineman Colton Lindquist jumped on the loose ball for the touchdown.
Leading 16-0, the Knights didn't take their feet off the gas. Lohse returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown to put WCA-A up 22-0 heading into the second quarter.
“The punt return felt amazing. I couldn’t believe myself,” Lohse said. “The blockers cleared the way for me and all I had to do was run.”
WDC started the second quarter by gaining two first downs. After a holding penalty brought back a considerable gain that would’ve put the Wolverines in the red zone, Lohse came up big again. He intercepted the WDC pass and returned it 26 yards across the 50-yard line.
With 7:07 left in the half, Norby found the back of the end zone for the first time with a 19-yard touchdown run. The WCA-A offensive line created the gaps necessary for the skill players to have a big night.
“It starts with the offensive line,” Lohse said. “They’re the reason why we are running so well. They open up those big holes and we could walk through them if we wanted to. They are the biggest part of why the offense is playing so well right now.”
Norby would take part in two more scores before the half ended. After a 7-yard touchdown run, he found Gage Staples in the corner of the end zone before the half ended. The Knights took a 41-0 lead through two quarters.
“Getting an early lead like that is kind of a double-edged sword,” Wood said. “You’re able to relax but also trying to stay focused for a whole game can be a challenge. I thought our guys did a really good job of staying dialed in through halftime and still ready to put the work in all game.”
The Knight cruised to a 57-0 win with two more touchdowns in the second half. WCA-A picked up its first section win and is now 2-0 on the season.
“We are all-business when we are out there. We take things one play at a time,” Lohse said. “We try not to let things get away from us. It’s about being respectful and focused and that’s how we want to be every time we step on that field.”
Norby led the team in rushing with 110 yards on nine carries. He had three touchdowns and was pulled before the fourth quarter.
“He’s a very reliable guy out there,” Lohse said. “We know that when his number is called on third or fourth-and-short, he’s going to get us a first down.”
WCA-A is a team with a lot of potential that could take advantage of a smaller section. The Knights are ranked ninth in the opening Class AA state rankings from the Associated Press.
With five other teams to beat in Section 6AA, a state tournament appearance isn’t out of the question. However, Wood knows that his guys aren’t going to dominate every opponent they face.
“We’re going to get hit in the mouth at some point. It’s going to happen,” he said. “We’ll know what kind of team we have when they need to respond to adversity and I believe that they’ll respond very well.”
The focus for WCA-A shifts to its first road game of the season. Next week, the Knights travel to Crookston (0-2).
“Our emphasis is effort and discipline,” Wood said. “When we do those two things, good things are going to happen. When you’re here to play football, it’s a business trip and that’s how we want to approach every game.”
WADENA-DEER CREEK 0 0 0 0 - 0
WEST CENTRAL AREA-ASHBY 22 19 8 8 - 57
SCORING- FIRST QUARTER- 6:48: Jordan Lohse 13-yard TD run (Jaden Norby two-point conversion run) 8-0; 4:43: Colton Lindquist fumble recovery TD (Gage Staples two-point conversion catch) 16-0; 2:08 Jordan Lohse 77-yard punt return TD, 22-0;
SECOND QUARTER- 7:07: Jaden Norby 19-yard TD run, 28-0; 4:08 Jaden Norby 10-yard TD run, 34-0; 1:56: Jaden Norby 40-yard TD pass to Gage Staples (JJ Sabolik PAT good) 41-0;
THIRD QUARTER- 7:12: Braden Overson 5-yard TD run (Overson two-point conversion run) 49-0;
FOURTH QUARTER- 9:19: Evan Paulson 15-yard TD run (Cole Anderson two-point conversion pass to Ryder Staples) 57-0