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Turnovers cost Spencer in 46-21 loss to E-Hawks

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Emmetsburg's Jake Jackson and Nick Schany jump on a Spencer fumble, one of six Tiger turnovers, Friday, Aug. 23 at Dale Norton Field in Spencer. Turnovers would prove costly as the Tigers fell behind 32-0 at half time. Spencer regrouped and showed some offensive and defensive firepower in the second half but fell to the E-Hawks, 46-21.
(Photos by Michael Fischer)
It certainly wasn't the way Spencer wanted to start the 2012 season but a first-play fumble recovered by Emmetsburg at the Tigers own 15-yard-line is how this year's opener got under way. Andrew Wellik would score on a 15-yard run on the E-Hawks' first play to set the tone in a 46-21 win over Spencer at Dale Norton Field on Friday, Aug. 23.

Spencer would lose three more fumbles in the first half, two inside the E-Hawks' 10-yard-line, and throw an interception. The Tigers also couldn't slow down Wellik, who carried 13 times for 182 yards in the first half, as the E-Hawks built a 32-0 lead at half time.

"I was upset with how we protected the ball in the first half," Spencer coach Jim Tighe said. "And we weren't very physical. On defense, we were catching not tackling. We got exposed in some pretty serious areas. We competed better in the second half, and we'll bounce back."

After the miscue on the first play and an early 7-0 deficit, the Tigers marched down the field on an 11-play, 59-yard drive to the E-Hawk 7-yard line before fumbling again, halting the drive. Wellik would break off runs of 16 and 51 before Austin McCartan scored on a 4-yard run to make it 14-0.

Spencer's following possession ended with a punt, which lead to Wellik's second touchdown run, a 20-yarder around the edge to make it 20-0 in the first quarter. Spencer's third first-half fumble came on the next drive, which was recovered at midfield and led to McCartan's second TD run, a 14-yard scamper.

The first six possessions of the season for the Tigers resulted in four lost fumbles, an interception and a punt, which led to Emmetsburg commanding the game with a 32-0 lead.

Despite the deficit, Spencer drove the ball deep in E-Hawk territory before the half, but fumbled once again, this time at the 1-yard line. A few of the fumbles came on the pitch from quarterback Matthew Finnern to the running back.

"We haven't been dropping the pitches in practice," Tighe said. "Of course, the speed of the game is faster but we have to make that pitch work. We'll get it figured out."

Spencer's Blake Altenhofen races 60 yards for the Tigers' first touchdown of the game - and the season - against Emmetsburg Friday, Aug. 23 at Dale Norton Field in Spencer. Despite scoring three touchdowns in the second half, six turnovers would be the difference in a 46-21 loss to the E-Hawks.
The option pitch worked to perfection on Spencer's first possession of the second half. Finnern tossed to senior Blake Altenhofen for a 60-yard touchdown run, the first of the season for the Tigers.

Spencer scored on its next possession as well, a 3-yard run by Finnern to cap a 9-play, 52-yard drive to make the score 32-14.

The Tigers committed a few miscues on Emmetsburg's next drive, including the kickoff going out of bounds, a late hit penalty and a pass interference call that helped the E-Hawks move down and score again, a 1-yard touchdown run by Wellik, his third of the game. The 200-pound running back finished the game with 24 carries for 260 yards.

"He's a good back," Tighe said. "We also weren't helping ourselves much, we were letting him get the edge."

Allen Jensen would score Emmetsburg's final touchdown, an 11-yard run, following Finnern's second interception. Spencer got into scoring position late in the fourth after a 30-yard punt return by Hunter Cushman, which was followed by a horsecollar penalty. Brady Illg carried the ball for the final score of the game, a 34-yard run.

Finnern led the Tigers in offense, carrying the ball 21 times for 128 yards and a touchdown. He was 1-of-6 for 12 yards passing the ball. Altenhofen gained 78 yards on five carries, including the 60-yard touchdown. Illg finished with 63 yards on five carries, and Cody Mowery added 25 yards on four carries.

Spencer gained 344 rushing yards but were devastated by the six turnovers to the 1A powerhouse.

"We did some good things offensively but we've got to get some things fixed defensively. They're a good quality opponent and we stuck together pretty good, but we've can't turn the ball over and have to be more physical," Tighe said.

The Tigers will travel to Sheldon next Friday for another non-district game, which begins at 7 p.m.





M. Finnern 21-128, 1 TD

B. Altenhofen 5-78, 1 TD

B. Illg 5-63, 1 TD

A. Lauck 9-35

Mowery 4-25

Cushman 4-21

Rosendahl 1-6


A. Wellik 24-260, 3 TDs

C. Henderson 9-42

McCartan 6-40, 2 TDs

A. Jensen 8-26, 1 TD


Finnern, Spencer: 1-6, 12 yds., 2 INT

J. Jackson, E'Burg: 3-6, 67 yds, 1 TD


Huisinga, Spencer: 1-12

N. Schany, E'Brug: 2-59, 1 TD

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I heard a rumor and I hope that it is not true. There is a story going around that some Spencer teens went to Emmetsburg and wrote something on their football field. If this is true...and once again I hope its not!!!! Maybe Karma came back and bit our football team Friday night.

-- Posted by olmanhawk on Sat, Aug 25, 2012, at 8:33 PM

I think it goes just a wee bit past "Karma" and having everything to do with just being beaten by a vastly superior team that is two classes below! LOL! Too funny!

I too hope it's not true about the E'Burg Field.

-- Posted by SSGM270 on Sun, Aug 26, 2012, at 11:47 PM

Well, sad to say it is true.

A nice purple Tiger Pride spray paint job.

I don't think the kids from Emmetsburg needed motivation but they had reason now.

-- Posted by clay21 on Mon, Aug 27, 2012, at 1:51 PM

I had heard that the paint was the product of an inside job by a member of the E-burg coaching staff who was less then impressed with the intensity of their practices the previous few days. Regardless, they have a fine team and that running back might be the best back the Tigers will see all year. Good luck to both squads the rest of the season.

-- Posted by The Hammer on Tue, Aug 28, 2012, at 7:17 AM

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