Haren blocks PAT to preserve first 2-0 start in Rampage history

BLOOMING PRAIRIE, MINN – With players missing prior to kickoff and several others going down due to injury, the Midwest Rampage had plenty to overcome in its first road contest of the season here on Saturday.

But neither the roster shortage, nor the loss of quarterback Tyler Kibbee forced the Rampage to close up shop.

Relying once again on its menacing defense, the Rampage fended off the Steele County Warriors, 14-13, to improve to 2-0 for the first time in franchise history. Ross Haren blocked an extra point attempt in the fourth quarter to keep the visitors in front and the Black Plague Defense snuffed out three Steele County drives inside the Rampage 20-yard line late.

“We overcame a lot of obstacles to win this game and I’m proud of the players who stepped into new roles to help us get the victory,” Rampage head coach Matt Girdley said. “On any level of play, the ability to win on the road is huge in the grand scheme of things … I’m proud of the victory.”

The Warriors went to the air for 145 yards and both of their scores, but they got nothing going on the ground. The front seven of the Rampage dominated the line of scrimmage and held Steele County to just two yards rushing on 20 carries.

“Defensively we shut down the Warriors ground game to nil and forced them to throw,” Rampage defensive coordinator Marty Hart said. ‘I thought we defended pretty (well) all day. Steele County has some skilled receivers and a very good quarterback, but I cannot be prouder of this defense for their play.”

Veteran linebacker John Elkin and his teammate in the middle Shon Osbun both had eight tackles. Nick Plueger had his hat in on six stops and he also picked off a pass, as did Tyler Mosbach to go along with four tackles.

The Rampage piled up 235 yards of offense, 97 coming on 9 of 13 completions from Kibbee before his injury. His 29-yard touchdown toss to Herb Bolden in the third quarter put the Rampage in front to stay. Ross Haren plowed his way across the goal line from 3 yards out earlier in the period.

Kibbee also rushed for 59 yards on 10 totes. Haren churned out 55 yards on 23 carries.

Gunnar Wyatt caught four passes for 40 yards, and he even saw action under center as the third-string quarterback after both Kibbee and Mosbach were ushered off the field.

The Rampage will attempt to win a third straight game on Saturday when it again travels north of the border to Lake Benton, Minn., to take on the Buffalo Ridge Wildcats at 7 p.m.