Waterford’s Tanner Keller races for one of his touchdowns in a Sept. 6 Southern Lakes Conference contest at Union Grove (Rick Benavides/Southern Lakes Newspapers).

Grove shows no quit in conference opening defeat

By Jason Arndt

Waterford’s dynamic duo of rushers Tanner Keller and Dominic Miller are not a secret, according to Union Grove head coach Craig McClelland, who indicated the backfield tandem always presents a challenge.

The challenge persisted Friday at Union Grove, where the two teams met in their Southern Lakes Conference opener, with the tandem producing 257 combined rushing yards on just 20 carries to propel Waterford to 42-22 victory.

While Keller amassed 148 on 12 carries, including two touchdowns, Miller added two more scores and finished with eight rushes for 109 yards.

Waterford’s defense, which only allowed six points in its first two games, was another challenge for the Broncos on Friday as the Wolverines held the Broncos to 80 total offensive yards.

“Pick your poison, (Waterford coach Adam) Bakken always has his defense ready to go. Their line came out play,” said McClelland, whose team dropped to 1-2 and 0-1 in the SLC.

“Tanner and Dominic are a great combo, probably one of the best in the state. They run hard.”

Bakken, meanwhile, acknowledged the Broncos did what they could stop Keller and Miller by putting multiple players in the box.

The Wolverines offensive line, however, had other ideas starting with the first drive of the contest.

Waterford, which opened on their own 38-yard line, sustained a scoring drive consisting of 11 plays, which Keller capped off with a 1-yard touchdown run with 7:15 left in the first quarter.

“We figured they would have eight or nine guys in the box,” Bakken said.

After the Wolverines forced Union Grove to punt in the following possession, Waterford responded with an 82-yard scoring drive, which junior quarterback Logan Martinson finished with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jack McCormick at 2:46 in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, with the Wolverines up by two scores, Keller struck again, this time on a 34-yard touchdown run at 10:50 to extend the Wolverine lead to 21-0.

Keller, who has rushed for 542 yards and seven touchdowns through the first three games, pointed to his team’s offensive line as one of the reasons for his success.

“Our offensive line did really good and we are just a team that runs drives with Dominic and I,” he said.

Miller, meanwhile, then scored on touchdown runs of 37- and 25-yards to pull Waterford ahead, 35-0.

To the Broncos credit, they were able to close out the first half with a Garret Foldy 5-yard touchdown run, which cut the Wolverines lead to 35-6 entering halftime.

Martinson, who completed 7 of 10 passes for 120 yards, added his second touchdown of the contest on a 21-yard strike to Ty Johnson with 3:60 in the third quarter.

Broncos have no quit
Union Grove continued to persist even as the Broncos were down 42-6 entering the fourth quarter.

Junior Nash Wolf, in just his second game back from injury, trimmed the Wolverines edge to 42-22 after he scored two 3-yard rushing touchdowns.

Wolf completed 21 of 31 pass attempts for 161 yards, with most them going to senior Tommy Hempel, who had eight catches for 79 yards.

McClelland credited Wolf’s resiliency, especially since he only played one half a week earlier, and needed time under center.

“He did a great job for us, he makes good throws and he is poised in the pocket.”