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Key plays lift Grizzlies over MI-B

North Woods racks up 647 yards on offense in home opener

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 9/13/17

FIELD TWP— Key plays when it mattered made the difference for the Grizzlies last Friday as they downed Mt. Iron-Buhl 49-22 in a much tighter home opener than the final score reflected.

Indeed, …

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Key plays lift Grizzlies over MI-B

North Woods racks up 647 yards on offense in home opener

Posted

FIELD TWP— Key plays when it mattered made the difference for the Grizzlies last Friday as they downed Mt. Iron-Buhl 49-22 in a much tighter home opener than the final score reflected.

Indeed, the Rangers dominated the early-going, jumping to a 14-0 lead by the second quarter, when a Brandon Parson interception in Rangers territory midway through the quarter helped turn the momentum. Parson’s pick, his second of the short season to that point, led to the first of three Tate Olson touchdown passes on the Grizzlies’ first play from scrimmage, and a failed extra point left the game at 14-6.

The Rangers came right back with a drive to the North Woods five-yard line in the waning minutes, but that’s where the Grizzlies held the line, and took the ball back on downs with just 30 seconds to go. North Woods played the clock brilliantly, and moved the ball out near midfield with just one second remaining— and that’s when Olson connected again, this time with Matthew Schultz, on a touchdown strike that left the Rangers stunned. The Grizzlies ran in the conversion to leave the score tied at the break.

Both teams traded touchdowns early in the half before the Grizzlies finally began to pull away thanks to key plays and an offense that racked up an astonishing 647 yards, most of that in the final two-and-a-half quarters of play.

“It took us six quarters this season to finally start playing football,” said Head Coach John Jirik, who was disappointed in the team’s season opener at Cromwell. The turn-around, when it finally happened, was dramatic.

Olson, who had managed just three completed passes for 20 yards last week at Cromwell, went 16 of 32 for 242 yards against the Rangers and added 89 yards and two touchdowns to that total on the ground. Tanner Barto proved Olson’s favorite target of the game, as the junior wide receiver grabbed ten Olson tosses for 137 yards.

Several North Woods rushers also had strong performances. Garrett Abramson added 94 yards rushing on 17 carries, while Parson added 87 yards on 20 carries. Jake Hyppa tallied over 70 yards, while Isaiah Squires ground out 34 yards on seven carries. Blake Scofield, Clayton Janssen, Dylan Day, and Nathan Crain all contributed on the ground as well, with a combined 71 yards between them.

The offensive spark carried through on defense as well, as the Grizzlies held on at least two goal-line stands in addition to Parson’s game-changing interception, his first of two on the day. Abramson led the way in tackles with 13, followed by Trevor Morrison and Squires, with ten apiece. Chase Kleppe added six and Olson tallied five.

Despite the powerful performance, Jirik said the game was highly competitive until the fourth quarter. “MI-B is a very good team,” Jirik added. “We just had a few good plays that made the difference.”

Friday’s victory improves the Grizzlies’ record to 1-1. They’ll travel to Silver Bay this Friday to take on the Mariners. Game time is 7 p.m.

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