The West Central Area-Ashby football team scored 30 unanswered points to erase an 18-point deficit on Saturday to beat Ottertail Central in the season opener.
The Knights went into the half trailing 18-0 following three touchdowns from the Bulldogs. Anthony Sykora got WCA-A on the board with a seven-yard scamper followed by a two-point conversion pass from Evan Paulson to Jaden Norby.
Sykora ran for his second touchdown of the day to cut Ottertail's lead to two before his third touchdown gave the Knights the lead midway through the fourth quarter. Norby gave the Knights insurance with a rushing score with just under six minutes left in the game from 10 yards out.
Sykora had a big day on the ground running for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Norby had eight carries for 46 yards and a score. Paulson threw 20 times while completing 10 passes for 76 yards.
Hunter Norby led all tacklers with 12, including three for loss. Jordan Lohse made nine tackles, while Cole Anderson pulled down an interception.
WCA-ASHBY 0 0 16 14 - 30
OTC 12 6 0 0 - 18
TOTALS - WCA-Ashby - Total offense - 310; Passing - 76; Rushing - 35-234; Penalties - 1-10; Turnovers - 3; First downs - 16; OTC - Total offense - 321; Passing - 79; Rushing - 242; Turnovers - 1; First downs - 15
WCA OFFENSE - Passing - 10-20, 76 yards, 2 INT; RUSHING - Anthony Sykora - 18-180, 3 TD; Jaden Norby - 8-46, TD; Jordan Lohse - 5-12; Paulson - 3-(-1); Brady Reeve - 1-(-3); RECEIVING - J. Lohse - 4-50; Sykora - 1-14; J. Norby - 2-9; Ryder Staples - 2-3; Tate Christenson - 1-0
DEFENSE - Hunter Norby - 12 tackles, 3 TFL; J. Lohse - 9 tackles, 1 TFL; J. Norby - 6.5 tackles, 1 TFL; Connor Nadgwick - 4 tackles; Cole Anderson - 4 tackles, INT; Sykora - 3 tackles; Kade Olson - 3 tackles; Nate Kisgen - 2.5 tackles, 1 TFL; Brady Reeve - 2 tackles; Mattson Hoff - 2 tackles; Carson Spangler - 2 tackles; Colton Lindquist - 2 tackles, 2 TFL; Austin Mattson - 2 tackles; Nas Dotts - 1 tackle; Tate Christenson - 1 tackle, 1 TFL; Breau Robinson - 1 tackle
Knights looking for more after last year
The Knights team got out to a 4-0 start last year, but limped across the finish line. After a loss in the Section 6AA semifinal to Osakis, the Knights are looking to go even further in 2020 if given the opportunity.
WCA-Ashby lost only seven letter-winners from last season and brought back 11 starters. One of the main fixtures is quarterback and linebacker Jaden Norby, who committed to play Division I football at the University of North Dakota in the offseason.
The Knights are a predominantly run-first team with Norby leading the offense. Jordan Lohse and Anthony Sykora also return to the backfield.
“This team has a number of returning starters entering their third season,” head coach Nate Wood said. “They are poised, focused and confident in their responsibilities and in each other. We need to be resilient, and respond positively no matter what challenging situations are thrown at us during this very abnormal time.”
Even with a big group of impact starters back on the field, Wood is excited for some new guys to enter the fold.
“We’re looking for several underclassmen to step up, including Torin Olson, Cole Anderson, Sam Heeter and Ryder Staples,” Wood said. “These young men are very athletic, and we look for them to contribute in various ways.”
The goal for the Knights is to make an extended postseason run, but they want to do it the right way.
“We want to be a positive representation of West Central Area and Ashby on and off the field,” Wood said. “We want to demonstrate maximum effort and discipline while being extremely focused. This year, more than any other year, we need to play with a sense of appreciation. We need to be grateful for the opportunity to have this experience and share in the joy that is high school football.”
WEST CENTRAL AREA-ASHBY 2020 FOOTBALL ROSTER
SENIORS- Austin Mattson, Brady Reeve, Jaden Norby, Jordan Lohse, Kade Olson, Mark Adams, Nate Kisgen, Shane Wrolson, Tate Christenson, Trent Koloski, Connor Nadwick; JUNIORS- Carson Spangler, Colton Lindquist, Derrick Novotny, Hunter Norby, Mattson Hoff, Ryder Staples, Torin Olson, Evan Paulson; SOPHOMORES- Anthony Sykora, Beau Robinson, Bret Amundson, Cole Anderson, Damon Sansted, Isaac Kreft, Justin Blasyck, Roman Mikhailovschi, Parker Stach, Tyler Stone; FRESHMEN- Ben Nyreen, Brady Lindquist, Carter Lohse, Fred Schlotfeld, Grant Lindquist, Jake Norby, Nas Dotts, Owen Hubbard, Will Rustan; COACHES- Head Coach- Nate Wood; Assistant Coaches- Todd Hickman, Andy Peterson, Peter Nelson, Eli Dotts, Dave Stone, Cody Hickman
WEST CENTRAL AREA-ASHBY FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Oct. 3 at OTC (Henning High School), 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. Crookston, 6 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Staples-Motley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 vs. Breckenridge, 7 p.m.
Oct. 30 vs. Barnesville, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6 at Pillager, 7 p.m.