Tigers lose heartbreaker at Hayward

By Mike Granlund Special to the Telegram HAYWARD -- A two-point conversion with 3:09 remaining provided the winning points in the Hayward Hurricanes' 40-38 win over the Northwestern Tigers Friday night at Rod Lundberg Field. Howie Leuschen scored...

By Mike Granlund

Special to the Telegram

HAYWARD - A two-point conversion with 3:09 remaining provided the winning points in the Hayward Hurricanes’ 40-38 win over the Northwestern Tigers Friday night at Rod Lundberg Field.

Howie Leuschen scored three touchdowns, including the game-tying 1-yard run in the fourth quarter as Hayward improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the Heart O’ North Conference.


Northwestern got three touchdowns from Nate Pearson as it fell to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the HON.

Leuschen finished with 341 yards rushing on 39 carries. He entered the game with 602 yards rushing in the first three games of the season.

Hayward quarterback David Freund was 9-of-14 passing for 170 yards and had 33 yards on seven carries. Michael McDonald was his favorite target with five catches for 127 yards. Phil Ziegle also caught three passes and Craig Burger one.

For Northwestern, Pearson finished with 268 yards on 27 carries. Carter Spangenberg had a breakout game with 129 yards on 14 carries and Jared Antilla was 5-of-10 passing for 19 yards with Noah Antilla and Pearson each catching a pass.

As a team Northwestern had 419 yards. Hayward had 560 yards, 400 via the ground and 170 through the air.

The Tigers took the opening kick and drove 72 yards on seven plays with Pearson running in from 1 yard out for the score. The extra-point kick was blocked, leaving the score 6-0 in favor of Northwestern.

Hayward answered on the next drive, scoring on a fourth-and-goal play with a 7-yard pass from Freund to Ziegle. The point-after run failed leaving the score tied 6-6.

On the next possession, Northwestern went 68 yards on eight plays. Again it was Pearson scoring, this time on a 15-yard pass from Jared Antilla. Noah Antilla caught the two-point pass on the conversion from his cousin and Northwestern led 14-6. 


Hayward returned the favor with a five-play drive, culminating in a 14-yard touchdown run from Leuschen. The PAT failed keeping Northwestern in the lead, 14-12.

On the next series, and early in the second quarter, Pearson scored his third touchdown of the game with an 18-yard run.

One minute later Hayward answered again, this time with a 60-yard pass from Freund to McDonald. Leuschen ran in for the two-point conversion and it was 20-20 with 9:21 left in the first half.

When Hayward got the ball back they drove to the Tigers’ 3 and looked ready to score again when Northwestern defensive tackle Alex Tecker jarred the ball loose from a Hayward runner and Conner Johnson pounced on it at the 1-yard line.

After trading possessions, Spangenberg hit pay dirt with a 17-yard run, making the score 26-20 in favor of the Tigers with 1:07 to go in the half.

Hayward wasn’t done yet as they drove deep into Tiger territory, nursed time off the clock, and came up with a touchdown from Freund to McDonald from 3 yards out on a fourth-down play making the score 26-26 with 14 second left.

Hayward drove into Tiger territory on the opening drive of the second half, but a series of Hurricane penalties put them in a passing situation.

The Tigers took advantage as Matt Lindsay picked off a Freund pass and returned it  61 yards for a touchdown, giving Northwestern a 32-26 lead.


Northwestern got great field position at the 37 when it stopped Hayward on fourth down.

Three plays later Spangenberg ran in from 14 yards out. After the PAT pass failed Northwestern led 38-26.

On the next play from scrimmage, Hayward’s Leuschen went up the middle and broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run cutting the Tigers’ lead to 38-32 with 4:34 left in the third quarter. 

Penalties marred the next series of each team and then midway into the fourth quarter, Hayward mounted a drive after a Tiger fumble. 

Starting at the Northwestern 39, Hayward drove deep into Tiger territory, converting a fourth-down play during process. The Hurricanes then tied the game on Leuschen’s third touchdown of the night, this time from 2 yards out with 3:09 remaining.

On the deciding two-point conversion attempt, the Hurricanes sent Leuschen up the middle. He was hit short of the end zone, but squirmed around, and just got the nose of the football over the plane of the goal line giving the Hurricanes their first lead of the game, 40-38.

Northwestern had one last chance and drove into Hayward’s side of the field, but penalties moved them back and a fourth-down play was unsuccessful, allowing Hayward to run out the clock.

Tiger coach David Crail was disappointed in the results of the game but not disappointed in his team’s effort.

“We played well but have a lot of things to iron out,” Crail said. “We have a lot of football left this year, and now will get ready for the Spooner game next week.”

The Tigers play at 7 p.m. Friday at Spooner.

TIGER TALES:  Jameson Pflug led Northwestern with 10 tackles.  Andrew Hanson was next with seven tackles and a fumble recovery. Pearson and Conner Johnson had six tackls each. … Hayward also defeated Northwestern 28-7 last season in Maple, snapping a five-game losing streak to the Tigers. … All Tiger games may be heard on WNXR 107.3 radio and viewed on the internet on


Northwestern........................ 14        12         12          0    -                    38

Hayward.................................. 12        14          6           8    -                    40

First Quarter

NW - Nate Pearson 1 run (kick failed)

H - Phil Zeigle 6 pass from David Freund (run fail)

NW - Pearson 15 pass from Jared Antilla (Noah Antilla pass from Jared Antilla)

H- Howard Leuschen 15 run (run fail)

Second Quarter

NW - Pearson 19 run (pass fail)

H - Michael McDonald 60 pass from David Freund (Leuschen run)

NW - Carter Spangenberg 19 run (pass fail)

H - McDonald 2 pass from Freund (run fail)

Third Quarter

NW - Matthew Lindsay 57 interception (run fail)

NW - Spangenberg 15 run (pass fail)

H - Leuschen 76 run (run fail)

Fourth Quarter

H - Leuschen 1 run (Leuschen run)


Individual Stats

RUSHING - NW, Nate Pearson 27-268; Carter Spangenberg 14-129; Jared Antilla 6-28. Hayward, Howie Leuschen 39-341; David Freund 7-33; Michael McDonald 2-14; Phil Zeigle 2-8.

PASSING - NW, Jared Antilla 5-10-0-19. Hayward, Freund 9-14-1-170.

RECEIVING - NW, Pearson 3-15; Noah Antilla 1-5; Tyler Little 1-5. Hayward, McDonald 5-127; Zeigle 3-32; Craig Burger 1-11.

TACKLES - NW, Jameson Pflug, 10; Andrew Hanson, 7; Pearson, Connor Johnson, 6; Nicholas Johnson, Alex Tecker, 5; Spangenberg, Justin Little, Tyler Little, 2; Matthew Lindsay, Noah Antilla, Michael Lindsay, Ryan Huray, Tim Schultz, 1. Hayward, not available.

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