Wahpeton uses strong first quarter to rout Beulah

WAHPETON – A big first quarter proved to be very important for Wahpeton on Saturday.

The Huskies scored three touchdowns in the opening 12 minutes of the game. It was more than enough to help Wahpeton post a 52-16 win over Beulah in a Class AA quarterfinal game.

“Coming into the game, we were worried about their offense and whether or not our defense would be able to stop it,” Wahpeton coach Brian Dokken said. “So jumping out on them early was important. We scored on our first three possessions, which was huge and big for our momentum.”

The fourth-ranked Huskies (8-1) travel to play Bishop Ryan in the semifinals. It is Wahpeton’s first trip to the semifinals since 2011. Beulah eliminated Wahpeton in the quarterfinals a year ago.

Wahpeton’s offense scored 1 minute, 42 seconds into the game. Senior quarterback Jack Christensen connected with Kameron McNary for a 42-yard touchdown, capping a three-play, 43-yard drive.

“Offensively we took it to them early, but our defense really allowed us to get off to the fast start,” said Christensen, who finished 8 of 14 passing for 179 yards.

Fifth-ranked Beulah (6-4) turned the ball over on downs three times in the first half and also lost three fumbles.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a few times in the first half,” Beulah head coach Jim Dooley said. “We had to be much better offensively for us to be successful and, more importantly, to keep them off the field. We just didn’t do that.”

Wahpeton capitalized on Beulah’s miscues and established its running game.

Senior Brock Lingen rushed for touchdown runs of 54 and 50 yards in the first quarter. Lingen added a 70-yard touchdown run – his fourth touchdown of the game – in the third quarter and finished with 210 yards.

“Our offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage,” Christensen said. “Our passing game wasn’t always there, but the line allowed us to get our running game going.”

Beulah senior running back Kamron Unruh finished with 102 yards rushing on 19 carries. Junior quarterback Casey Walcker was 5 of 10 passing for 123 yards for the Miners and connected with senior wide receiver Landon Battest for a 63-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.