Aberdeen Central earns gridiron victory against Tigers

ABERDEEN —  For the second consecutive Friday night, the Huron Tigers played a homecoming football game. After holding off Sturgis the week before in its own homecoming game, Huron traveled to Aberdeen, seeking to ruin homecoming for the Golden Eagles.

But it was the Golden Eagles who took the win as Aberdeen flexed its running game in the second half, scoring three times after an extended halftime to take a 30-6 win over the Tigers.

Both teams came into the game with 2-2 records, and both were riding two-game winning streaks, but after a weather delay right before the second half, Aberdeen improved to 3-2 while Huron falls to 2-3.

The first half found both teams able to move the ball between the 25-yard lines, but neither squad was able to capitalize on good fortunes.

After the first Huron possession resulted in a pair of first downs, the drive stalled and a Koby Hofer punt pinned the Golden Eagles back inside their 15-yard line. After Aberdeen gained one first down, quarterback Parker Lemer rolled right and tossed it right into Hofer’s arms and the Tiger linebacker returned it to the Golden Eagle 16-yard line.

The Tiger offense sputtered, gaining six yards on three plays, then earning a delay of game penalty, McNeil lofted a 15-yard pass to Gavin Moeding for a touchdown. Unfortunately, Huron was whistled for holding on the play and on the next play, McNeil was intercepted, giving the ball back to Aberdeen.

The Golden Eagles struck immediately, as senior Avery Ligon quickly struck right through the center of the line and went untouched 82 yards for the score. After a Joey Dallman point after, Aberdeen led 7-0 with five and a half to play in the quarter.

Most of the remainder of the first half resulted in both teams moving the ball well - Huron earned yardage through the air - while Aberdeen stuck to its ground game.

The Golden Eagles got the ball back with 1:45 to play, when facing a first down from the Huron 34, Aberdeen backup quarterback Michael Anderson, brought in when Lemer was injured, dropped a pass over the shoulder of Cooper Eisenbeisz and setting the Golden Eagles up with a first and goal from the Huron three.

The defense stiffened, however, forcing losses on two straight running plays. Aberdeen rushed Dallman on for a field goal attempt as the clock ran down and he connected from 23 yards for a 10-0 lead after one half of play.

The halftime stats showed revealed how even the first half was played as the teams had virtually the same yardage and time of possession, but the Golden Eagles led where it counts, on the scoreboard.

A light drizzle that grew into more of a rain shower greeted the teams out of the halftime break and before action could resume, lighting in the area forced a half-hour delay for the safety of the players and the fans in the metal bleachers.

When the game resumed, the teams exchanged possessions as the rain began to abate, then the Golden Eagles mounted a four-and-a-half minute drive, covering 81 yards, every bit of on the ground, as Aberdeen began to assert themselves on the line. Austin Erickson capped the drive with a 23-yard run and Aberdeen moved to a 16-0 lead.

The Tigers moved the ball to midfield on their next drive before turning it over on downs and Aberdeen made quick work of the decent field position, running Erickson and Ligon on a pair of plays, before Anderson tossed a short pass to Ligon, who did the rest of the work, running through a couple tackles and hitting paydirt on the 26-yard scoring play. A Dallman PAT made it 23-0 as the third quarter ended.

Huron needed a quick response to get back into the game, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed Huron back into its own territory after a good kickoff return and Aberdeen intercepted a third-down pass attempt and took possession in Tiger territory.

With a three score cushion and rushing attack that was taking control, the Golden Eagles were content to run the ball and the clock. Huron’s defense forced a punt, but the ball was downed inside the Tiger five-yard line, leaving a lot of field to cover.

Three runs by Cashton Caudell resulted in a first down and the Tiger march began. But a penalty stalled the drive and Huron was forced to kick it back to the Golden Eagles with six minutes to play.

Ligon quickly carried for 31 yards, setting the Golden Eagles up at the Huron 16-yard line. Three plays netted six yards, then Erickson broke two tackles, carrying the ball in from 10-yards with 3:29 to play. Dallman’s PAT made it 30-0.

Huron quickly moved down the field, as Colt McNeil connected with CJ Gainey, then with Gavin Moeding. Those two passes, combined with a penalty on the Golden Eagles, put the ball deep in Aberdeen territory, but McNeil was intercepted in the endzone and the Golden Eagles were set to run out the clock.

But Huron forced a fumble with 1:15 to play, giving the Tigers another chance to get into the endzone, with a first down at the Aberdeen eight-yard line. A pass to Moeding put the ball at the one and McNeil averted the shutout with a one-yard run with just over a minute to play.

Huron will be back in action at Douglas next Friday, at the Douglas homecoming, with a 6 p.m. Mountain Time kickoff scheduled.

Score by quarters
Huron         0 0 0 6 — 6
Aberdeen     7 3 13 7 — 30

Scoring summary
1st quarter
ABERDEEN — 5:33 - Avery Ligon, 82-yard run. Joey Dallman, PAT.

2nd quarter
ABERDEEN — :01 - Dallman, 23-yard field goal.

3rd quarter
ABERDEEN — 3:32 - Austin Erickson, 23-yard run. PAT failed.
ABERDEEN — :03 - Ligon, 26-yard pass from Michael Anderson. Dallman PAT.
ABERDEEN — 3:29 - Erickson, 10-yard run. Dallman PAT.

4th quarter
HURON — 1:06 - Colt McNeil, one-yard run. PAT failed.