Denfeld News

Oct. 27, 1979
Duluth News Tribune

Denfeld wins by 60-some
By Mark Stodghill

Neither Denfeld Coach Marv Heikkinen nor Eric Kaiser, his counterpart at Central, knew what the final score was after their Northern Lakes Conference football game before 3,100 fans Friday night at Public Schools Stadium.

For one thing they couldn’t tell by looking at the scoreboard — that went tilt when Denfeld recorded its ninth touchdown. It couldn’t record any more than 59 points. The other reason is that at that stage they didn’t much care.

It was your basic Dandy Don “turn out the lights early” laugher.

Denfeld’s Mark Weiss returned the game’s opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and his teammates scored the first six times they got the ball en route to a 69-7 triumph over winless Central, 0-9.

The game marked the close of the regular season for both teams, but Denfeld will now ready itself for its berth in the class AA state playoffs. The state’s seventh-ranked Class AA team takes its 8-1 record against either Robbinsdale Armstrong or Osseo next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Griggs Field.

Weiss’ score was the first of five by as many different players as the Hunters opened a 35-0 lead after one quarter. But the kick runback was the one that blew it open early.

“That broke our back,” Central Coach Eric Kaiser lamented. “Our kids had a lot of fire before the game, but it was the kind of thing that could go either way. If we had held early we would have been tough. But when he ran that back, things just went the other way.”


With junior tailback Mark Weiss picking up 34 of the yards, the Hunters marched 38 yards for a score on their first possession after Weiss’ runback. Fullback Brad Nelson got the final two yards and the first of his two touchdowns. Quarterback Mike Fails drilled the second of his nine straight extra points to give the Hunters a 14-0 lead just 5:25 into the game.

Fails probably could have had 10 but he didn’t get a chance. “We had to have our third string quarterback run a sneak on that last touchdown to keep from scoring,” Heikkenen grinned.

“I don’t even know what the score was. What can you say when you score 35 points in the first quarter? I have empathy for Eric and his kids. They’ve had something like 11 injuries this season, but every kid I put in there did the job. It was hard to believe.”

Yes it was.

A Mark Carlson fumble recovery put the Hunters in position to score their third touchdown. Fails immediately went to the air and, given the time to autograph five or six senior pictures (it was Seniors Night with seniors from both teams being honored before the game), spotted fellow senior Andy Verhel all alone in the end zone for a 20-yard scoring strike.

Another Fails pass to Mike Samberg made it 28-0 on the Hunters’ next possession. Fails and Central quarterback James Pascoe had plenty of competition in their aerial attack. Students from both schools pelted the field with eggs throughout the game, but not many had the arms or the heads to put them where they wanted.

The rest of the contest was academic. Denfeld unleashed reserve tailback Mike Hickey and the junior galloped for TDs of 20 and 33 yards. The Hunter defense also got a score when Ron Fike rambled 33 yards with a fumble recovery.

Central scored its only touchdown in the second quarter. Pascoe marched the Trojans 75 yards when he hit four straight passes for 71 of those yards. Greg Manolis went over from two yards out.

Because of all the offensive fireworks both teams agreed to play with a running clock the final quarter.

Denfeld ……...................…35-7-21-6—69
Central …….....................… 0-7-0-0—7

D—Mark Weiss 85 kickoff return (Mike Fails kick)
D—Brad Nelson 2 run (M. Fails kick)
D—Andy Verhel 20 pass from M. Fails (M. Fails kick)
D—Mike Samberg 8 pass from M. Fails (M. Fails kick)
D—Pat Fails 5 run (M. Fails kick)
D—Mike Hickey 20 run (M. Fails kick)
C—Greg Manolis 1 run (John Hendrickson kick)
D—Nelson 1 run (M. Fails kick)
D—Ron Fike 33 fumble recovery (M. Fails kick)
D—Hickey 30 run (M. Fails kick)
D—Perry Burke 1 run (run failed)

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