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Glencoe-Silver Lake dumps Delano

By Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune, 10/19/11, 10:30PM CDT


The Panthers won for the eighth straight time over Delano, which suffered its first loss.

Glencoe-Silver Lake had been in this situation before. So it was no surprise the host Panthers took Delano’s best, shrugged it off and rallied to hand the Tigers their first loss of the season, 35-28.
The loss Wednesday ended Delano’s hopes for an undefeated season and a share of the Wright County Conference title. It was Glencoe-Silver Lake’s eighth consecutive victory over Delano.
Eight minutes into the game, it looked as if Delano (7-1) would make it a runaway. The Tigers scored two touchdowns in a span of a little more than two minutes, taking a 14-0 lead.
But Glencoe-Silver Lake’s big-game experience came through on the Panthers’ ensuing drive. Taking over at its own 26-yard line, Glencoe drove 74 yards in 20 plays, finally scoring on a 2-yard run by Tony Mizuhata. It was vintage Glencoe as the Panthers controlled the line physically, converting on four fourth downs.
“We talked about the game being 48 minutes,” Glencoe-Silver Lake coach Scott Tschimperle said. “We had to weather the storm and play the full 48 minutes.”
Glencoe tied the score 14-14 on its opening drive of the second half, going 70 yards in six plays, scoring on a 34-yard run by Keaton Anderson and tying the game with a two-point conversion. Glencoe took the lead 21-14 after a fumble by Delano on the ensuing kickoff.
“That kickoff was the turning point of the game,” Delano coach Merrill Pavlovich said. “We did some good things on offense, but that made it hard to come back from.”
Delano took a page out of Glencoe’s book, putting together a 10-play drive and tying the score 21-21 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Bryan Sinkel.
Each team added a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Glencoe scored on a 40-yard interception by Keenan Mehlos, and Delano responded with Sinkel’s third short scoring run, setting up Glencoe’s final, game-winning drive.
The Panthers went 67 yards in 2:10 and got the game-winning score from Mizuhata on a 2-yard run with 40 seconds to go.
“Our line was playing so well and controlling things,” Tschimperle said. “I thought when we got to their 35-yard line with a minute and a half to go that we would score.” 

Mizuhata steps up, runs over Delano defense

It certainly didn’t seem like a time for confidence. In fact, trailing 14-0 with its fastest running back, Ryan Kuester, writhing in pain on the ground, things could scarcely have looked bleaker for Glencoe-Silver Lake.

At least, that was the outsider’s point of view.
The Panthers, while concerned, knew they had a weapon in running back Tony Mizuhata, a 5-foot-8 amalgam of energy and desire whose refusal to go down on contact made it seem as if he had allergy to turf.
Picking up carries that would normally have been set aside for Kuester, who left the game for good after suffering a leg injury on the Panthers’ third drive of the game, Mizuhata set a career-high with 31 carries en route to 139 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over Delano. Making Mizuhata’s performance seem more impressive was the fact that many of his yards came after initial contact with Delano defenders as he consistently turned short gains into much longer ones.
“I just love football and contact,” said Mizuhata. “I love to get my pads low and just try to run through people. I give all the credit to our offensive line. I just told them that if you give me a crack to get three yards, I’ll get you nine.”
Nowhere was Mizuhata’s importance more evident than on Glencoe-Silver Lake’s game-winning fourth-quarter drive.
Following a long drive by Delano that ended with the Tigers’ tying the game 28-28, Mizuhata wasn’t about to let the Panthers lose their edge. Starting from their own 33-yard-line with 2:59 left in the game, they drove 67 yards in 8 plays, all on the ground, with Mizuhata lugging the ball six times for 31 yards. He scored the final touchdown on a typical run for him, a two-yard dive in which he dipped his shoulders and sliced through two Delano defenders converging on him at the goal line.
“Tony,” said Glencoe-Silver Lake coach Scott Tschimperle, pausing to smile and chuckle. “He’s a third-year starter for us, so I expect big things from him. With Kuester out, it changed what we could do on offense. He stepped us for us where we needed him.”
Mizuhata was the last player to leave the Stevens Seminary Stadium field Friday after lingering to give interviews and simply enjoy the moment. Walking off while talking to a reporter, he stopped a looked around.
“I knew we could come back and win this game,” he said. “We just had to play our game and run the ball like we can. I just love playing smash-mouth football.”

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