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Never Say Never: Rampage blank Knights, stay in playoff hunt

Postseason still a long shot, but black and orange still with plenty to play for

July 19, 2012
By Troy Banning - Sports Editor ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

WEBSTER CITY - So you're saying there's a chance?

Yep, there's a chance.

A week after thinking the playoffs were nothing but a pipe dream, the Midwest Rampage breathed new life into a potential postseason run last Saturday by blanking the Pella Knights, 17-0, at Stampede Stadium.

Article Photos

Midwest Rampage running back Dan Schaa (right) changes course as he looks for a hole to run through during Saturday’s Midwest Football Alliance contest against the Pella Knights at Stampede Stadium in Webster City. Schaa rushed for 86 yards and the Rampage shutout the Knights, 17-0.

The black and orange improved to 5-4 overall and 3-4 in the Midwest Football Alliance, and avenged a 20-0 loss to the Knights earlier this season.

Most importantly, the Rampage stayed in the conversation for that sixth and final MFA playoff position alongside the Knights. It's a long shot though, as the Rampage would need to pull off the biggest upset in the history of the league and franchise by beating the Des Moines Blaze later this month.

The unbeaten and league-leading Blaze - ranked No. 1 nationally by several minor league football publications - abused the Rampage, 47-0, when the two teams met in Webster City on June 30.

Fact Box

Game Summary

Rampage 17, Knights 0

First Quarter

MR - Ross Haren 2 run (Chuck Tack kick).

Third Quarter

MR - Chris McNiel 34 pass from Ben Wolford (Tack kick).

Fourth Quarter

MR - FG Tack 35.

Individual Statistics

Rushing - PK: DeMarco Sanders 7-67. MR: Dan Schaa 14-86, Ross Haren 10-10.

Passing - PK: Ryan Hall 11-27-2 136. MR: Ben Wolford 2-12-1 41.

Receiving - PK: Jose Lainez 2-65, Sanders 5-46. MR: McNiel 1-34, Alonzo Clayton 1-7.

Tackles (Leaders) - MR: DJ Erkenbrack 6, Caleb Bonjour 5, Dillon Hart 4, Ross Haren 4, Brian Miller 3.

On Saturday, the Rampage took the lead in the opening quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by fill-in tailback Ross Haren, and it never looked back. Haren - normally a linebacker who was again called into offensive duty due to a slew of injuries in the backfield - set up the score by jumping on top of a Pella fumble while on defense, and six plays later he reached the end zone.

Haren picked up just 10 yards on 10 carries, but defensively he made four tackles, including three solo stops. Fullback Dan Schaa rolled up 86 ground yards on 14 totes.

The score remained 7-0 Rampage until the third quarter when third-string quarterback Ben Wolford lofted a pass into the hands of Chris McNiel, who took it the rest of the way to the house for a 34-yard touchdown connection.

Chuck Tack added a 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to finish off the Knights.

Wolford, the team's offensive coordinator, was forced into duty because of injuries to starter Erik Ingelin and back-up Yance Childs. He completed 2-of-12 passes for 41 yards. Alonzo Clayton reeled in the other completion that covered seven yards.

The Rampage defense did the rest, forcing three turnovers and fending off two Pella drives in the red zone. Herb Bolden eliminated two drives with a pair of interceptions.

Linebacker DJ Erkenbrack made a team-best 6 stops, while end Caleb Bonjour was in on 5 tackles.

Saturday marked the final home game of the season for the Rampage, which has gone 8-2 over the last two seasons on the familiar gridiron. It's 10-5 at home since its inception.

The Rampage will travel to Burlington on Saturday to take on the River City Warriors in a non-league tussle that is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. And then it's on to the return date with the Blaze on July 28.



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