FIELD TWP – Last year, the Grizzlies began their season with a loss to Cromwell-Wright, and went on to win the Section 7 Nineman title. They offered up a repeat performance this past Friday as they …
FIELD TWP – Last year, the Grizzlies began their season with a loss to Cromwell-Wright, and went on to win the Section 7 Nineman title. They offered up a repeat performance this past Friday as they fell to the Cardinals 44-22. Whether history repeats itself through the rest of the season remains to be seen.
Overall, North Woods Head Coach John Jirik said he liked what he saw from his team, which is missing most of last year’s starting line-up due to graduation. Despite that, the team put up impressive offensive numbers, racking up 305 total yards against a tough Cardinal defense.
“It was a good start for us this year against a very good team,” said Jirik. “We saw many positives from our inexperienced team and noticed a few areas where we need to improve.”
The Cardinals jumped out to a big lead early, racking up 23 points in the first quarter on the strength of a strong rushing attack.
North Woods was able to answer in the second quarter, putting two touchdowns on the board, but Cromwell kept the pressure on, adding six points of their own to take a 29-14 lead into the break.
The Cardinals would add eight more points in the third quarter, while holding North Woods scoreless. The Grizzlies put eight more points of their own on the board late in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late. Cromwell added seven more in the frame to further pad their margin.
Rushing proved a bright spot for North Woods, as five players hit double digits on the ground. Senior Jake Hyppa led the way with 51 yards on 12 carries, followed by junior Nathan Crain with 32 yards on four carries. TJ Chiabotti added 17 yards on six carries.
Senior quarterback Chase Kleppe had a good day in the air, connecting on nine of 21 attempts for 170 yards. Senior receiver Ian Sherman was his go-to, picking up 107 yards on three completions. Senior Tanner Barto grabbed five catches good for 50 yards.
The Grizzlies travel to Mt. Iron–Buhl on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.