Tigers rally past Sturgis for homecoming win

PHOTOS BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN Huron’s Cashton Caudell looks for running room as teammate Jackson Reno blocks Gavin Sundstrom of Sturgis during the Huron High School homecoming game Friday at Tiger Stadium.

HURON – A huge pass in the fourth quarter ended up the difference as the Huron Tigers rang the bell on homecoming night with a 14-10 victory over the Sturgis Brown Scoopers Friday at Tiger Stadium.

After a short kick by Sturgis hit the up man for the Tigers, Huron began the opening drive on their own 48-yardline. Huron leaned hard on running back Cashton Caudell in the opening drive, with a big run by Gavin Moeding on an end-around to put the Tigers inside the Scooper 10-yard marker before Caudell took the ball into the end zone from seven yards out. Nick Kleinsasser added the extra point for a 7-0 Tiger lead with just over four minutes off the clock.

After a big run by Owen Udager to open the drive, Sturgis stalled out on their own 30 and punted.

The Tigers started off strong after a big Aiden Hedderman punt pinned Huron back on its own 10. Caudell brought the ball near midfield with a 10-yard run, but Huron would stall there, with a holding penalty pinning the team back and eventually forcing a punt.

Sturgis Sophomore speedster Sully Jost took a big return near midfield then was hit out of bounds, so after the penalty yardage was added on, the Scoopers were on Huron’s side of the field. The Scoopers leaned on Jost, as he ran five times on the drive. Huron committed an offside penalty to put Sturgis on the 11-yard line.

Hedderman connected with Jost from there for the score, and Jost added the extra point kick to tie the game 7-7.

After a Tiger three-and-out, Scoopers were putting together a strong drive into Huron territory, but Hedderman launched a long pass that Logan Leyendecker of the Tigers picked off at the 9-yard line.

The Tigers would put together a long drive that ate up most of the rest of the first half clock, going 15 plays for 63 yards, but stalling on the Sturgis 27 before turning the ball over on downs. The Scoopers would kneel on the ball to head to half tied 7-7.

Caudell intercepted Hedderman on the second play of the second half, but the Tigers stalled on offense and turned the ball over on downs.

A host of Huron defenders, including Kolby Hofer (22), Cashton Caudell (15) CJ Gainey (left) and Mason Jurgens (5), bring down a Sturgis runner during the first half of their game Friday at Tiger Stadium.

The Scoopers began to trust Hedderman’s legs on the ensuing drive, but a tipped pass that Hedderman caught for a 12-yard loss pushed the Scoopers into a long fourth down and Sturgis had to punt.

Three straight completions for the Tigers led to a pair of first downs, but the drive stalled after that, and the Tigers punted.

The Scoopers put together a nine-play drive that saw Hedderman connect on four passes, with the big play being a tight end release down the middle to Dalyn Dschaak that ate up 27 yards and got the ball to the Tigers 10 but couldn’t keep the drive going, settling for a Jost field goal from 27 yards to take a 10-7 lead with just under nine minutes remaining in the game.

The Tigers had a three and out, and the Scoopers followed Hedderman runs and another tight end release for 19 yards to get near the Huron 20, but the Tiger defense stiffened up, forcing a 43-yard field goal attempt by Jost that fell short.

Colton McNeil had trouble getting the ball through the Sturgis defense throughout the night, but on the first play of the drive, he finally got a pass behind the Sturgis defense, connecting with Moeding on a 74-yard touchdown that gave Huron a 14-10 lead after the extra point.

The Tigers pass coverage forced multiple incomplete passes in the next drive but couldn’t get anything going offensively, leading to a punt to the Scoopers with 1:53 left on the clock.

Sturgis got to the Huron 35 on four plays, but the Huron defense tightened up, forcing three incomplete passes to take over on downs. A McNeil kneel sealed the game.

The Tigers move to 2-2 on the strength of a number of defensive stands. Holden Hegg led the Tigers defense with seven solo tackles and five tackle assists.

Huron coach Dru Strand noted the team’s linebacker play as a key to the homecoming victory.

“Our defense has done pretty well this season,” Strand said. “I have to give hats off to our two middle linebackers for fighting each play tonight.”

Huron’s Holden Hegg carries the ball as Aiden Werlinger of Sturgis pursues on the play during the opening half of their game Friday at Tiger Stadium.

McNeil was 13 of 26 passing for the Tigers with 181 yards and a score. Cashton Caudell rushed 15 times for 69 yards and a touchdown while also adding 17 yards on three receptions.

McNeil connected with seven different receivers, led by Moeding, who caught two balls for 83 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 16 yards. CJ Gainey grabbed three balls for 25 yards.

Sturgis falls to 2-2 despite the efforts of Hedderman, who passed 27 times, completing 16 for 167 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions. Hedderman also rushed nine times for 51 yards.

Jost ran nine times for 39 yards and caught an 11-yard touchdown pass. Dschaak led the Scoopers in receiving with 47 yards on three catches.

The Tigers travel next week to Aberdeen Central.

Score summary
Sturgis Brown   0 7 0 3 — 10
Huron                 7 0 0 7 — 14

Scoring plays
1st quarter
7:54 - H - Cashton Caudell 7-yard TD run. (Nick Kleinsasser PAT)

2nd quarter
9:09 - SB - Aidan Hedderman 11-yard TD pass to Sully Jost. (Jost PAT)

4th quarter
8:55 - SB - Jost 27-yard field goal.
4:28 - H - Colton McNeil 74-yard TD pass to Gavin Moeding. (Kleinsasser PAT)

Individual statistics
SB - Aidan Hedderman 16-27, 167, 1, 2
H - Colton McNeil 13-26, 181, 1

SB - Aidan Hedderman 9-51, Sully Jost 9-39, Owen Udager 7-14, Holt 2-10
H - Cashton Caudell 15–69-1, Thackory Hanson 5-9, Colton McNeil 3-(-13), Gavin Moeding 1-16

SB - Dalyn Dschaak 3-47, Byron Holt 3-39, Jadon Blair 3-20, Owen Udager 2-9, Teigen Wormstadt 1-26, Sully Jost 1-11-1, Gavin Sundstrom 1-8, Aidan Hedderman 1-(-12)
H - CJ Gainey 3-25, Cashton Caudell 3-17, Gavin Moeding 2-83-1, Ethan Busch 2-29, Logan Leyendecker 2-12, Bubba Peterson 1-11, Holden Hegg 1-5