Blackhawks make it a memorable Homecoming, downing SCC

Masen Werner makes an athletic play to haul in the interception during the second half of Friday’s game against St. Croix Central.  The pass was intended for Sam Fischer (8). 

For a rivalry to occur, both teams have to win. 

Anytime a Baldwin-Woodville and St. Croix Central team play each other on a one-on-basis, it’s going to be a rivalry based on the proximity between the school districts. 

Yet, when it comes to recent action on the gridiron, a rivalry has yet to form. 

In the team’s last 10 meetings heading into Friday’s battle, Central has won 8 to B-W’s 2 and the average margin of victory in those eight games was over 30 points. 

Maybe a rivalry will now start as the Blackhawks snapped a four game losing streak with a resounding effort, defeating Central 35-14. 

“We were prepared to play the game and it was evident our kids were fired up,” B-W coach Dan Keefer said. “Football is a game of emotion and energy and Friday night we had both.” 

Central grabbed the lead after the first quarter on a Jayden Goodwin three-yard touchdown run with two minutes, 1 seconds remaining. 

The Blackhawks quickly responded as Masen Werner connected with Gavin Sell on a 20-yard touchdown reception less than a minute into second quarter. 

“The key difference in our performance was attitude and hopefully we have learned an important lesson from that,” Keefer said. 

Thanks to a Central miscue on the ensuing kickoff and stout B-W defense, the Blackhawks got the ball back promptly and pounced. Werner scored on a one-yard run. B-W went into intermission with a 14-7 lead. 

Werner scored on a 24-yard run midway through the third quarter, stretching the lead to 20-7. 

Central replied with its best offensive drive of the game, scoring on a 29-yard pass from Ethan Boettcher to Conner Nilssen on a fourth down play. 

Yet, once again, B-W had an answer and had it immediately. Werner connected with Sam Hush on a 33-yard touchdown reception less than four minutes after SCC’s score. 

Ryan Veenendall scored B-W’s final touchdown on a three-yard run with 2:15 left in the fourth quarter. 

Werner beat Central with his feet, as he rushed for a team-high 65 yards and with his arm, throwing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. 

“Masen hung in the pocket and delivered some balls under pressure,” Keefer said. “Our offensive line did a better job in pass protection. Gavin Sell, Sam Hush and Collin Fritts all made fantastic plays with the ball when given the opportunity.” Sell had a team-high 75 yards on four receptions. 

SCC (3-4 overall) finished with three more rushing yards than Baldwin-Woodville, but it took them 20 more attempts. 

“We really played much better defensively,” Keefer said, noting SCC’s longest run was 9 yards. “Gavin Sell started his first game defensively and he played very well. Wyatt Larson also got his first defensive start and he played very physically and brought good energy as well.” 

Keegan Ofstie made his play known on the defensive end with 13 total tackles and Jackson Johansen tallied nine. Elijah Helmer added six. Werner also had an interception. 

Central was without A.J. Holmgren, the team’s second leading rusher and it showed. The Panthers finished with 149 yards rushing with Boettcher leading the way with 48. The only completed pass was Nilssen’s touchdown. 

Central hosts undefeated Ellsworth for its homecoming game 7 p.m. Friday, while B-W (3-4 overall) looks to build off this win when it travels to Amery (2-5) 7 p.m. Friday. 

“We need to keep that same energy and enthusiasm against Amery Friday,” Keefer concluded.

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