Dell Rapids’ Jase Nelson charges down the field for a touchdown against West Central in Friday’s game in Dell Rapids, Oct 10, 2014.
DELL RAPIDS – The Dell Rapids Quarriers used a big second half and erased an 11-point halftime deficit to cruise to a 34-25 victory over West Central.
The Quarriers scored 22 points in the third quarter and 28 unanswered points in the second half before West Central scored a late touchdown.
In what would have normally been a momentum-killer just before half, the Class 11A third-ranked Quarriers (5-1) rallied around a missed opportunity. Trailing 17-6 at their own 27-yard line, Dell Rapids drove to the West Central 19 with just 1.1 seconds to play.
A big chunk of that yardage to the 19 came on a nifty hook-and-ladder play for 39 yards. But on the final play of the half, Dell Rapids quarterback Jase Nelson hit Riley Jurgensen for what looked to be a touchdown. However, Jurgensen was ruled down just inches from the goal line, and the half ended with the Quarriers coming up short.
“That really got some fire under our butt,” said Dell Rapids running back Riley Schmidt, who finished the night with 211 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. “We knew we were that close, and we made sure in the second half that we got that touchdown.”
Dell Rapids ended up with four touchdowns in the second half. The Quarriers gained 378 yards of total offense, and Schmidt rushed for 174 of his 211 yards in the second half.
“Our kids felt like they could score, and they were always full of confidence,” Dell Rapids coach Steve Hansen said. “When you play good teams like West Central, they put you in positions where you can’t flinch. We told our kids to stay focused and do your job.”
The Quarriers (5-1) came out on fire to start the second half and drove the ball 69 yards on six plays to cut the lead to 17-14 when Schmidt scored his first of three touchdowns from 32 yards out.
West Central went three-and-out in their opening second-half drive, and Dell Rapids took full advantage by scoring on a 25-yard passing play from Hunter Hansen to Austin Broin on the next series to take a 21-17 lead that they’d never relinquish.
“We knew this was a big game,” Schmidt said. “We knew we had to come out in the second half firing. We just played our game and knew we had to play harder.”
The Trojans didn’t help themselves in the second half as they turned the ball over twice on consecutive drives, both resulting in touchdowns for Dell Rapids. Schmidt ran for an 80-yard score just one play after Jurgensen intercepted Jace Hanisch at the start of the fourth quarter.
“Things can kind of snowball on you,” West Central coach Kent Mueller said. “A couple of turnovers and you give them a short field, and that’s the way they’ve played all season long. They’re just so explosive. You can find yourself in trouble in a hurry against a team like that.”
West Central gained 356 yards of offense, but just like their only other loss of the season to No. 1 Madison, the Trojans had trouble finishing long drives.