Hausken rushes 27 times for 168 yards; Welk tosses 3 touchdowns
Two fourth-quarter touchdowns broke open a close game as the Wolves won their home-opener 28-13 over Bagley Friday night at Ostlund Field.
The victory moves Walker-Hackensack-Akeley to 2-1 with Wadena-Deer Creek at Walker this week.
Coach Aaron Pfeiffer said the guys have worked really hard since the Pelican Rapids loss. “We fixed some things from week one and tweaked some more after the win at Pine River-Backus. I’m proud of the guys for putting in the work to get better,” he said.
The home fans had a lot to cheer about as WHA out-gained the Flyers 404 yards to 238, including 290 yards rushing.
Steven Hausken had a prolific night running the ball as he finished with 168 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown.
“Steven is turning into a special player. The running game is opening up and the offensive line is playing well,” Pfeiffer said.
Riley Welk rushed for 73 yards on 13 attempts, with Gavin Johannsen and Kai Ashmore finishing with 27 and 22 yards respectively.
The offensive line also did a great job of protecting Welk and giving him plenty of time to find open receivers. He finished with 114 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Bagley, held to only 56 yards in the first half on four possessions, had 182 yards in the second half, with 62 yards coming on a touchdown pass on blown coverage.
The Wolves’ defense recovered a fumble and forced two turnover-on-downs in the second half. The defense also had one sack and eight other tackles for loss.
Jackson Macfarlane caught four passes for 48 yards and a score, Ethan Anderson four receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown, Connor Craven one catch for 19 yards and Hausken a five-yard reception for a score.
Leading the team in tackles was TJ Smith with three solos for a loss, including a sack, and five assists. Cole Rasmussen had two tackles for loss, a solo and three assists. Jack Slagle had three solos and two assists, Welk and Josh Kuhlman three solos and one assist, and Tom Hansen, Carson Strosahl and Johannsen each had two solos and two assists, Welk recovered Bagley’s only fumble.
One area the Wolves need to clean up is the penalties. They had 13 for 75 yards, while Bagley only had four for 20 yards.
The Wolves got the ball first to start the game, and after picking up a first down, Logan Merschman intercepted a pass that a WHA player let go through his hands at the 47 and returned it eight yards to the 39. Seven plays later Alex Rolfson scored on an eight-yard run and Alec Norum kicked the extra point.
The second time WHA touched the ball they drove 80 yards in 13 plays with Anderson catching a three-yard slant from Welk on fourth-and-goal. Mason Schneider followed with the extra point to tie the game late in the first period.
After a three-and-out, the Wolves took over at Bagley’s 24 after MacFarlane’s 24-yard return. WHA was unable to move the ball, but two of Welk’s passes were dropped on third and fourth downs.
The defense forced another three-and-out, and WHA took over at the 49 after the punt sailed out of bounds. The Wolves drove inside the 20 before the drive stalled, and on fourth down Schneider’s 26-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
Once again WHA’s defense held Bagley to a punt and took over with 40 seconds left on the clock at their 39.
Welk had complete control of the play calling on the final drive before the half and quickly guided his team 61 yards in four plays. He connected with MacFarlane and Anderson for 15 and 20 yards, respectively. After an incomplete pass, Welk double-pumped to freeze the cornerback and dropped a perfect pass into the arms of MacFarlane for a 26-yard score. Schneider’s kick gave WHA a 14-7 lead.
Bagley got the ball to start the second half and moved deep in Wolves’ territory before turning the ball over on downs at the 23.
The Wolves punted twice in the third quarter and Bagley once. The Flyers punted once, but on their third possession a breakdown in the second allowed Justus Brtek to find Andrew Agnes open deep along the sideline for a 62-yard score. Instead of going for the tie, Bagley opted for the two-point conversion with Brtek’s pass incomplete.
WHA took the ensuing drive 75 yards in 14 plays, scoring on Hausken’s five-yard reception. The Wolves overcame a false start and holding penalty that negated a touchdown run, and picked up a first down on Welk’s one-yard run the play before the touchdown.
A fumble recovered by Welk at the 38 led to WHA’s final score. Hausken capped the 62-yard drive with a two-yard run.
Bagley twice had the ball deep in WHA’s end, but turned the ball over on downs once and the clock ran out as they got inside the 10.