USC dominated Section
The United South Central Rebels football team defeated the Randolph Rockets on Friday, Nov. 2, to claim the Minnesota Section 2A title and earn a berth in the state playoffs.
Behind the hard running of junior Zach Niebuhr, the Rebels were able to break a 14-14 half-time tie to pull away from the Rockets on their way to a 42-20 victory.
Randolph opened the game with a 72-yard scoring drive to get on the board first. Their extra point conversion failed to give the Rockets a 6-0 lead.
USC wasted no time finding their way to the end zone. Niebuhr’s run of 47 yards on the Rebel’s first play from scrimmage tied the game. George Bais kicked the extra point to put the Rebels on top 7-6.
The Rockets continued their offensive success with an 11 yard touchdown pass that capped off a 67-yard drive. The Rockets were able to convert their two-point conversion to take a 14-7 lead.
The Rebels were hit by the turnover bug. Two of their next three drives ended with a fumble. The other one ended in a punt.
USC regrouped however and reached pay dirt with Niebuhr crossing the goal line with five seconds left in the first half. The PAT kick was good to knot the game at 14-14 at the half.
“Going into the second half, we really preached to the boys that we just played as bad of a half as we could play, with turnovers and pass defense,” noted Rebels’ Head Coach Brandon Neseth. “I told them that if we just play our football, things will take care of themselves.”
USC came out strong in the second half scoring three consecutive touchdowns while holding the Rockets scoreless.
“To the boys’ credit, they came out and did just that and we played a much better second half,” commented Neseth.
It was Niebuhr who once again carried the load. His three rushing touchdowns helped propel the Rebels to a 35-14 lead midway through the third quarter.
Randolph would score once more but Niebuhr’s sixth touchdown of the night iced the victory for the Rebels making the final score 42-20.
Niebuhr, in addition to his six rushing touchdowns, rushed for 308 yards and had 36 yards receiving.
Quarterback Isaac Meyer completed eight passes in 11 attempts for 123 yards.
Mark Bushlack and Colby Klocek each had an interception for the Rebels.
Jacob Stevermer and Jacob Hendrickson also contributed one sack apiece for the Rebels.
Next, the undefeated Rebels were to take on the undefeated Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms in a state quarterfinal match held on Nov. 11, at New Ulm at 1 p.m.
Blooming Prairie advanced to the quarterfinals with 21-18 win over Goodhue.
“I think a big factor in us having the success we have had is the boys’ work ethic in the off season,” explained Neseth. “They were committed to the weight program, passing league and all of our summer practices. Also, our boys “just get it.” They know how to play football and know the expectations we have for them in each practice and game.”
Results of the game will be in next week’s Faribault County Register.