Brown pick-six closes 20-point, fourth-quarter rally in 27-17 win at Waconia 

A wild 27-17 win for St. Louis Park at Waconia didn’t begin well for the visiting Orioles.

The Wildcats opened a 17-0 lead in the opening quarter by intercepting Aaron Ellingson’s first offensive play of the game by Park.

Aaron Ellingson

Park’s senior Aaron Ellingson completed 20-of-32 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown. He ran 14 times for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the defense with 12 tackles.

“We started off in a bad spot but the guys dug out of it,” Coach Ben Wolfe said, illustrated by a 20-0 rally in the fourth quarter.

Ellingson went on to an outstanding performance on both sides of the ball as safety and quarterback. He found Sajid Nathim on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to get on the scoreboard and head into halftime down 17-7.

“Nutty” was how Wolfe described the final 12 minutes of the first win for the Orioles (1-1).

Down by the same 17-7 score heading into the fourth quarter, Ellingson ran for two touchdowns within the final five minutes of the game. He completed 20-of-32 passes for 199 yards and ran for a team-high 53 yards on 14 carries. He also made 12 tackles as the starting safety going against a run-first Waconia offense that ran for 76 yards on 22 carries.

Alex Hager

Park’s senior halfback Alex Hager goes up high to catch the ball between two Waconia players.

The touchdown runs came on 5-yards with 5:09 left to make it a 17-13 deficit. He added a 3-yard touchdown with 1:13 left to take a 19-17 lead. He completed a two-point conversion pass to make it a four-point game, 21-17.

A short squib kick gave the Wildcats the ball on their 40-yard line. Waconia drove to the 10-yard line with 24 seconds left, calling a time out to regroup. “We knew our backs were against the wall but we talked about the situations during the timeout.”

Waconia tried to get the ball out to the receivers quickly but Jacob Brown was ready for it and made a play on the ball before returning it 99-yards for a touchdown. Brown, who also celebrated his birthday on Friday, is a state-caliber sprinter and showed that speed as he ran down the sideline for the six-point interception return for a touchdown to make it a 27-17 lead. 

“We work on a lot of 1-on-1 drills at practice and did a lot of coverages this week and Jacob had the right technique with his eyes in the right spot on a tough throw and just made a great break on the ball,” Wolfe said.

The Orioles sideline went crazy as kids ran onto the field before the end of the game. The team was penalized but the clock ran out on Waconia trying to come back.

Brown’s clinching interception was the second of the game after he picked off Wildcats quarterback Collin Currier in the second quarter.

Nathim finished with 17 yards on 13 carries and caught two passes for 23 yards and the one touchdown. Wolfe said the senior went from two-three yards in the first half to five-six yards by running behind his pads, making it more tough to bring him down. “He didn’t have any easy yards and also blocks well for us.

Sajid Nathim

Senior Sajid Nathim had 13 carries for 17 yards against Waconia but caught two passes for 23 yards and a touchdown.

The Orioles spread the catches around with senior Tobias Davenport leading the way with six catches for 42 yards. Junior McCabe Dvorak had five grabs for 39 yards and senior Cole Ewald had four grabs for 38 yards.

Davenport made seven tackles while six players had at least three tackles for Park and returned one kick 38 yards.

“We felt we left some plays on the field against Chaska but played well-enough to win,” Wolfe said. “The kids are competitive and this was a testament to their game. They believe in what they are doing.”

Next up

Robbinsdale Cooper (1-1) will host the Orioles in a rivalry game which the Hawks have controlled during recent regular season games. Park won the section final game to advance to state in 2017. “Unlike Waconia and Chaska, we know Cooper and they always are ready to go, have good athletes and coaches and are about not giving up that big play. Finding a way to run the ball will be a key in a rivalry game,” Wolfe said. 

Cooper handed Orono a 35-7 defeat last week as sophomore quarterback Joseph Russell threw for three touchdowns.

Benilde-St. Margaret’s

Benilde-St. Margaret’s, fourth-ranked in Class 4A, improved to 2-0 after a 59-7 win over DeLaSalle in the home opener in St. Louis Park on Sept. 6.

Sophomore running back Camden Royal needed just eight touches to pile up 147 yards and three touchdowns to set the tone for the offense. He scored on runs of 58, 10 and 34 yards in the first quarter to help BSM lead 28-0.

Senior quarterback Nick Peterson completes 6-of-9 passes for 144 yards and three touches plus 34 yards on the ground on four carries. 

All three touchdown passes were caught by Dylan Rash who made four catches for 78 yards.

The Red Knights averaged more than nine yards per carry for the game while the defense was stingy once again surrendering just one touchdown for the second game. 

Junior George Wolfe led the group with nine tackles followed by Charlie Deterding with seven tackles and a sack and Derric Standifer with five tackles plus an interception.

The Red Knights travel to Chanhassen (1-1) on Sept. 13 after the Storm lost to rival Chaska 28-7.

Follow Jason Olson on Twitter at @SunSportsJason.

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