FOOTBALL: Advice pays dividends in Barnesville's victory
FARGO - Entering Thursday's regular-season finale at the Fargodome, Barnesville's Kyler Martz got some quarterback tips from a pretty good source familiar with having big games at the Dome.
Martz worked with former North Dakota State quarterback Steve Walker earlier in the week, and the 6-foot-2 junior put the advice to good use, helping Minnesota Class 2A, No. 3-ranked Barnesville to a 52-7 nonconference football win over New York Mills.
"Steve came out on Monday this week and worked with me about making sure I follow through on every throw and keep my head up," Martz said. "He did a great job of helping me and I think my game has improved a lot."
Martz was 6 of 8 passing for 159 yards and four touchdowns.
"Steve has been doing that for us the last four or five years," Barnesville head coach Bryan Strand said. "We can tell Kyler the same things, but when you hear it from a Bison quarterback it means a little more."
"Kyler has been working hard at it and comes in before school and works on his technique. He had a nice game."
The passing attack was a deviation of sorts from Barnesville's usual offensive game-plan, which is to run the ball ... a lot.
New York Mills held the Trojans (8-0) to a three-and-out on their first offensive series. All three plays were runs.
Barnesville got the ball back four plays later on an Eagles fumble and started its second drive in New York Mills territory.
During its second drive Barnesville netted a first down and proceeded to open up its offense when Martz connected with junior running back Michael Strand for a 19-yard touchdown pass.
Strand caught three passes from Martz for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
"We wanted to run the ball, but New York Mills did a great job of stopping us," Michael Strand said. "They loaded the box so we had to pass. Tyler threw some great balls."
Martz also connected with his older brother Austin Martz for a 22-yard touchdown pass and hooked up with senior tight end Tracy Jerald for a 24-yard TD strike.
"When I dropped back to pass, our line gave me a lot of time to check down all our routes," Martz said. "I just found the open man."
Playing in the Fargodome made passing an easier option, but Bryan Strand believes it will be a strength for the Trojans entering the section playoffs.
"We usually run the ball a lot, but we wanted to come out and show people we can pass," Bryan Strand said. "We can throw as well as we can run, and we proved it."
Barnesville's defense kept New York Mills off balance on offense. The Eagles (2-6) didn't reach the red zone until late in the fourth quarter.
Backup quarterback Dan Kraft scored New York Mills' lone touchdown on a 1-yard run.
Next up for the Trojans is the Class 2A, Section 8 playoffs. No. 2-seeded Barnesville hosts No. 7-seeded Bagley at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
"Our section is loaded," Bryan Strand said. "I don't think there is an easy game. Even the first-round matchup with Bagley, I think I have seen enough things on tape of them that says they are not a bad team."
Last season, Barnesville entered the section playoffs undefeated, but lost 21-20 to Warroad in the semifinals at home.
It was a loss Michael Strand hasn't forgotten.
"That was a heartbreaking loss," Michael Strand said. "That was the last game I played with my brother (Robbie). I have used that game as motivation this year."
Martz said he is anticipating a lot of tough matchups.
"We got to make sure we have a run-pass game plan coming in so we throw teams off guard," Martz said. "Hopefully that will push us forward through the playoffs and send us to state."
NYM 0 0 0 7-7
B 14 19 19 0-52
B-Strand 19 pass from K. Martz (kick failed)
B-Brandt 41 run (Strand run)
B-A. Martz 22 pass from K. Martz (kick failed)
B-Strand 54 pass from K. Martz (Strand kick)
B-Jerald 24 pass from K. Martz (kick failed)
B-Strand 42 run (kick failed)
B-A. Martz 20 run (kick failed)
B-K. Martz 18 blocked punt return (Strand kick)
NYM-Kraft 1 run (Kraft kick)
RUSHING: NYM, Patron 11-29, Peeters 6-(-9), Novak 9-26, Ericksrud 2-2, Wegscheid 6-50, Tumberg 1-1, Frost 5-18, Kraft 2-4. B, Brandt 6-66, Strand 10-83, K. Martz 3-30, A. Martz 7-60, Nosal 1-2, Mahar 2-10, Affield 2-4, Ishaug 1-0, Rogers 1-(-3).
PASSING: NYM, Peeters 2-9-2-8, Kraft 2-3-0-34. B, K. Martz 6-8-0-159.
RECEIVING: NYM, Ericksrud 1-4, Pesola 1-4, Hendrickx 1-5, Pettow 1-29. B, Strand 3-105, A. Martz 1-22, Jerald 1-24, Goedtke 1-8.