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West Central Area-Ashby earns another shot at top-seeded Osakis in the 6AA championship game

The Knights and Silverstreaks will match up on Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. in the Fargodome after WCA-Ashby overcame a halftime deficit to beat Sauk Centre on Saturday afternoon.

The West Central Area-Ashby football team had two quarters to keep its season alive after trailing at the half in the Section 6AA semifinals on Saturday, and the Knights were not going to be denied.

Behind a strong defensive effort, second-seeded WCA-Ashby (8-1) secured its spot in the section semifinals against Osakis on Nov. 5 with a 20-7 win over Sauk Centre. The two 8-1 teams will kick off at 3 p.m. on Friday at the Fargodome.

Third-seeded Sauk Centre (5-5) led 7-6 at halftime on Saturday after an Elijah Fletcher 6-yard touchdown run and an Aaron Kerfeld extra point in the second quarter. Anthony Sykora started the scoring with a touchdown for the Knights, but the 2-point conversion attempt was no good.

West Central Area-Ashby’s defense held strong after that Fletcher touchdown. The Knights limited the Mainstreeters to 154 total yards. A talented back like Fletcher can cause teams problems, but WCA-Ashby held him in check with 73 yards on 19 carries. They also limited the Sauk Centre passing game to 9-of-21 passing with 77 yards and two interceptions.

Sykora was a workhorse for the Knights with 22 carries and 118 yards. His third-quarter touchdown on another 6-yard run gave his team the lead for good as quarterback Evan Paulson added the 2-point conversion on a run.

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Paulson was efficient in the pass game all day, going 7-of-8 for 84 yards. His 15-yard touchdown pass to Cole Anderson in the fourth quarter put the finishing touches on the win.

Osakis beat Wadena-Deer Creek 34-19 on Saturday to secure its spot in the section championship game. The Knights will try to avenge a 22-20 loss to Osakis from Oct. 15 in a bigger atmosphere when the two teams meet in the Fargodome on Friday with a trip to the state tournament on the line.

West Central Area-Ashby is going for its second state tournament appearance as a co-op after also making the tournament in 2017. West Central Area also made state in 1995 and 1999 (runner-up). Osakis is going for its eighth trip to state, with the last coming in 2019.

SAUK CENTRE 0 7 0 0 - 7

WCA-ASHBY 6 0 8 6 - 20

TOTALS - Sauk Centre - Offense - 44-154; Passing - 77 yards; Rushing - 77 yards; Turnovers - 2; Penalties - 5-45; First downs - 8; WCA-ASHBY - Offense - 55-334; Penalties - 5-40; Turnovers - 1; First downs - 21

WCA-ASHBY OFFENSE - PASSING - Evan Paulson - 7-8, 84 yards, TD; RECEIVING - Cole Anderson - 2-35, TD; Torin Olson - 1-21; Anthony Sykora - 2-20; Mattson Hoff - 2-8; RUSHING - Anthony Sykora - 22-118, 2 TD; Hunter Norby - 5-48; Mattson Hoff - 10-47; Paulson - 9-25; Carson Spangler - 1-12

WCA-ASHBY DEFENSE - Sykora - 7 tackles; Mattson Hoff - 6.5 tackles; Isaac Kreft - 3.5 tackles; Hunter Norby - 2.5 tackles, 0.5 TFL; Sam Heeter - 2.5 tackles, 0.5 TFL; Torin Olson - 2.5 tackles, 1 TFL; Nas Dotts - 2 tackles, 1 TFL; Carson Spangler - 2 tackles, 1.5 TFL; Ruebens Swanson - 2 tackles; Tyler Stone - 1 tackle, 1 TFL; Colton Lindquist - 1 tackle; Quinten Winter - 1 tackle; Beau Robinson - 0.5 tackle

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Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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