The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamlin is one that dates back to the 1600s. The legend tells of a piper who was angered when the people refused to pay a tribute to him, so he played and led the children away from the town never to be seen again. The legend seems a bit far-fetched, but this group of Pipers had their own magical tune on Saturday, guiding their offense down the field, and keeping the Minnesota-Morris Cougars offense away from their end zone in a 37-6 victory. It was the kind of dominant performance that legends are made from.
The legend Saturday was in all aspects of the game. The defense held the Cougars to just 168 yards of total offense, 27 on the ground. The Pipers limited their opponent to just 4-13 on third down conversions and just 11 first downs. Throw in three sacks, and this defensive effort was just awesome, forcing three fumbles and recovering one.
On offense Hamline looked virtually unstoppable. The Pipers rolled up 469 total yards of offense, including 271 on the ground. They didn’t turn the ball over at all, and allowed no Cougars sacks.
The Pipers led after the first 15 minutes of the game, 7-0. The score came on their first possession of the game, when they moved 78 yards on 12 plays for the score. Eight of the plays were runs, while Hamline QB Tim Bona completed all four of his pass attempts for 24 yards. The drive was capped off by a 20-yard run by Austin Duncan. For Duncan it was the start of a huge day, as he rushed 19 times for 150 yards and a touchdown.
Hamline began their second possession near the end of the first quarter, and began a 12-play drive at their own 15-yard line. Bona started the drive rolling with four pass completions that moved the ball to the 37. Duncan took over from there. He took the ball on five of the next six plays gaining 38 yards and putting the ball at UMM’s 5-yard line. From there Bona threw a pass to Ryan Ferkinoff for the 14-0 lead.
On their third possession the Pipers began at mid-field and took just seven plays to get back in the end zone. Bona played a key role in the drive, adding two runs to go along with three passes. Bona threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Sherman for the Pipers third TD of the game.
Hamline added one more scoring drive just before the half. Starting from their own 4-yard line the Pipers took the ball 96 yards in 13 plays for the score, making it 28-0 at halftime. The drive began with Duncan rushing the ball three times for 28 yards. Bona then took control, completing just three of his seven pass attempts, but gaining 35 yards. His last pass went to Derick Fleming for a 6-yard touchdown pass.
The Pipers had a commanding lead, and were content to mercifully sit on that lead in the second half, adding just a field goal and a five yard touchdown run as time expired. The game ended 37-6, and put the Pipers into the victory column to start the season.
Next weekend Hamline plays host to the Macalester Scots who won their game late on a Michael Abramson last second field goal. Start time is 7:00 PM.
By Robert Pannier
Associate Senior Managing Editor
Senior Writer Covering the MIAC