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White Hawks Defense Slows Delano Passing Attack in 42-28 Road Victory

By Steve Tebbs, 10/10/23, 9:45AM CDT


The Mound Westonka offense came out on fire, scoring on their first four possessions en route to a 42-28 Skyway Bronze Subdistrict win at Delano on Oct. 6.

The temperature made it feel like a Minnesota fall football game, but the cold didn’t stop the Mound Westonka offense from coming out on fire, scoring on their first four possessions en route to a 42-28 Skyway Bronze Subdistrict win at Delano on Oct. 6. Led by juniors Cole Drill, Ray Beiningen, and Max Kraay, the Westonka offense rolled up nearly 500 yards of total offense.

The White Hawks (5-1, 2-1) defense also took center stage, as senior safeties Jack Nelson and Owen McCue came up with big interceptions. At the same time, juniors Dylan Sloan and Carter Kleinsasser harassed Delano QB Bryce Peterson all game. Westonka held the Tigers to just 252 total yards.

Following Nelson’s interception at the 50-yard line, Drill, a junior quarterback, marched the White Hawks offense down the field before hitting junior tight end Dylan Holappa on a 2-yard touchdown pass. Senior Sam Gaylord tacked on the extra point, giving Westonka a 7-0 lead barely three minutes into the game. Delano returned the ensuing kickoff to their own 38-yard line, giving them a short field to work. Just over two minutes later, Tigers running back Cael Olson found the end zone from 10 yards out, tying the score at 7-7.

On Westonka’s next drive, Beiningen took over, as the White Hawks took almost half of the first quarter clock to move down the field with Beiningen, finishing off with an 18-yard score and regaining the lead, 14-7. Peterson, who was held to under 200 yards passing for only the second time this season, found one of his favorite receivers, Jake Schultz, on a fade route down the left sideline for a 15-yard TD. The extra point tied the game 14-14.

Westonka then drove 80 yards in just 2 1/2 minutes, capped off with a Max Kraay touchdown catch as Drill found him from 27-yards out. Gaylord’s extra point gave them a 21-14 lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.

“We were really happy with the way the offense executed all night long," said head coach Nick David. "Drill played his best game of the season and did a fantastic job, not only with our option game, but was very efficient in the passing game as well."

The White Hawks defense then forced a punt, giving Westonka good field position at their own 45-yard line.  The sustained 55-yard drive led to Beiningen waltzing through on a 2-yard TD run and a 28-14 halftime advantage.

The White Hawks offense wasted little time getting back to the Delano (2-4, 1-1) red zone on the opening possession of the second half. However, Beiningen fumbled inside the Tigers 1-yard line after taking almost 6 minutes off the third quarter clock. It appeared that Beiningen had reached the ball across the goal line, but nevertheless, it was knocked out and recovered by Olson.

The White Hawks defense held once again, giving Westonka the ball near midfield following a punt. On the first play from scrimmage, Drill couldn’t quite connect on a long pass to Kimbrough, but a balanced offensive attack allowed the White Hawks to advance down the field leading to another Beiningen touchdown and a 21-point lead.

The nickel defense that Westonka deployed against the pass-heavy Delano offense proved to be the difference holding Peterson to under 50 percent completion. Peterson, who had averaged 285 passing yards over the last two weeks, threw for just 191 yards and 6.2 yards per attempt. “The guys really took on the challenge of doing something very unique and different for our defense throughout the week of preparation, and it paid off as they executed and confused the Delano offense,” stated defensive coordinator Kyle Ague.

The Tigers would cut the lead to 14 early in the fourth quarter following a Drill fumble deep in Westonka’s own end. Peterson passed to Caden Rock for a 4-yard TD, giving the Tigers some life, but it was short-lived. In true White Hawks fashion, they trudged down the field, taking almost half of the fourth quarter to score. Beiningen walked in from the 2-yard line with 4:39 remaining in the game, giving the visitors a 42-21 lead.

The White Hawks defense held Delano to 100 yards below their per-game average and just 61 yards on the ground. Junior linebackers Roman Larsen (six tackles) and Carter Kleinsasser (five tackles) led the defense, with senior linebacker Jaaron Konkel contributing four tackles and a sack. Dylan Sloan, Mikey Oftedahl, and Brandt Tebbs each finished with three tackles. As a team, Westonka knocked down five pass attempts and had four tackles-for-loss.

Beiningen passed the 200-yard plateau for the third time this season and went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season. Drill had his most complete game of the season, completing 80 percent of his passes for a career-high 188 yards to go along with a career-high 81 yards rushing. Kraay also had a huge night, catching nine balls for 130 yards, both career-highs. Kimbrough and Holappa both had three receptions.

The White Hawks travel to Zimmerman this Thursday night, Oct. 12, to face the Thunder at 7 p.m. in a rematch of last season’s Section 6AAAA semifinal playoff game that Zimmerman won 42-14 at Haddorff Field. Zimmerman went on to win the 6AAAA Section Championship before eventually losing in the Class AAAA State Semifinals.

“We have a big test this week with our game at Zimmerman," said David. "[Zimmerman head] coach Kish does a great job with his program, and we know that we are going to have to play with high intensity, as Zimmerman is going to play very fast and physical football."