Comet Defense Soars as Special Teams Replacements Create Separation
A 25 yard field goal, an onside kick, and a punt downed at the 1 yard line pulled Hillcrest away from Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (CGB) in the second half. Bolstered by an early lead, Hillcrest's special teams play demoralized CGB as the Comets make their way to the section final game after the upset.
CGB entered Saturday afternoon's contest ranked 2nd in the section. Playing through a difficult bracket, the Wolverines knew Saturday's contest would challenge their players, but few expected the Comets to dominate with such a complete game.
Some quick scoring in the first half placed Hillcrest on top. A 7 yard pass from Sean McGuire to Chris Tungseth gave the Comets an early lead. With Jordan Foss playing Comet Soccer Saturday, the Football team was forced to alter their usual special teams game plan. Rather than kick an extra point, which the Comets have been automatic with, they were forced to go for the two-point conversion. McGuire looked Tungseth's way again for the two point conversion, giving Hillcrest an 8-0 lead on their first drive of the game.
Moments later the Wolverines answered, putting up 6 points of their own through their bear-down-and-grind-out attack. A 5 yard touchdown run was met with penetration from the Comet line in the 2 point conversion. The surge kept CGB from tying the game, giving Hillcrest an 8-6 advantage with 1 minute in the first quarter.
Opening the second quarter, Hillcrest brought more of the same in their offensive play calling. As the Comet line established their presence, keeping Wolverine defenders at bay, Tungseth brought bruising to the second level. Linebackers, cornerbacks, and defensive ends piled on Tungseth who literally put the Comets on his back and trodded down field. Tungseth's hard hitting opened consistent lanes for Hillcrest's other backs as all the attention shifted to number 44. McGuire found pay dirt through an open lane with 1 minute off the clock in the second quarter. The constant barrage Hillcrest created demoralized the Wolverines, who saw a turnover open the game as McGuire hit Newman on a 67 yard pass. The score gave Hillcrest a 20-6 lead going into the half.
With the game still within reach of the Wolverines, Hillcrest went back to work in the third quarter. After reaching the 15 yard line Hillcrest failed to convert a long third down play. Turning to the bench expecting to see Jordan Foss, the Comets called on Peder Bruun to put the game on the shelf with a 25 yard field goal. Bruun's kick was followed by a Tungseth touchdown run after a failed CGB series. Scoring ended with Tungseth, who was also called in to replace Foss in converting an onside kick and pinning the Wolverines down at their own 1 yard line on a beautiful punt to open the fourth quarter.
Hillcrest dominated the field, producing 356 yards of total offense. McGuire found 254 passing yards, joining Newman and Tungseth on the ground for 102 rushing yards combined. Reggie Undseth was an X-factor, hauling in 5 receptions for 86 yards and picking-off CGB twice. "Our defense as a whole played great with Chris Tungseth and Sean McGuire leading the way,” reported Head Coach Charlie Brue. “This was the best game that our d-line has played all year."