FIELD TWP- The North Woods football team could have used a few more trick plays and a few less miscues against Littlefork-Big Falls last Friday, as the Grizzlies got thumped at home 68-6 by the …
FIELD TWP- The North Woods football team could have used a few more trick plays and a few less miscues against Littlefork-Big Falls last Friday, as the Grizzlies got thumped at home 68-6 by the Vikings.
North Woods got a preview of how potent the Vikings’ offense could be during a pre-season scrimmage at Mt. Iron-Buhl, and L-BF gave the Grizzlies a reminder of that on their first series. Taking the ball at their own 45 and keeping it on the ground the Vikings needed just five plays to score their first touchdown of the night, a nine-yard touchdown by Anthony Boorman that with the conversion put them up 8-0 at the 9:23 mark.
After the ensuing kickoff, North Woods opened up with a little razzle-dazzle, with quarterback Trajen Barto circling out of the backfield to receive a sideline pass from Talen Jarshaw, good for 13 yards and a first down near midfield. The Grizzlies recovered from an errant snap that pushed them back to their own 30 on a pair of big runs by Kaden Gornick that gave them a first down at the Vikings 41. Two plays later a pass from Barto to Jarshaw took the ball to the L-BF 14, which is where the Grizzlies imploded. A facemask penalty pushed the ball back to the 36, and then Barto was intercepted at the 25, with L-BF defender A.J. Knaeble taking the ball 75 yards for a pick-six. The two-point conversion gave the Vikings a 16-0 lead.
Energized by the turnover and score, the Vikings shut down the next North Woods possession on four downs and took over at the Grizzlies 49. An illegal chop block penalty left the Vikings staring at a third-and-21 from their own 40, but L-BF caught the Grizzlies defense off guard with some misdirection as Knaeble raced 60 yards for the Vikings’ third TD of the quarter. After the successful conversion North Woods was looking at a 24-0 deficit with 1:10 left in the opening stanza.
The Vikings kept right on rolling in the second period while the Grizzlies couldn’t get anything going on offense. L-BF snuffed out a North Woods drive with another interception and the Vikings punched the ball into the endzone three more times for a 48-0 halftime lead.
North Woods received the kick to start the second half and promptly fumbled the ball away with L-BF recovering at the Grizzlies 46. Five plays later they were in the end zone again for a 54-0 lead.
The Grizzlies offense finally showed some life when they got the ball back, moving from their own 42 to the L-BF 16 on big pass plays to Rogelio Noyes and John Warren. A roughing the passer penalty gave North Woods a first-and-goal at the L-BF eight, but Barto was picked off again on fourth down to end the scoring threat. L-BF responded with a 75-yard drive for a touchdown and a 62-0 lead at the end of the quarter.
With the clock running in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies finally engineered their first touchdown since the first half of their opening game against Lake of the Woods on Aug. 31. Starting at their own 45 after the kick, L-BF gave the Grizzlies an immediate gift with a pass interference penalty that moved the ball to the Vikings 40. On fourth-and-eight from the 38, the Grizzlies ran the same play they opened the game with again, and the Jarshaw-to-Barto completion gave them a first down at the L-BF 25. A pass down the middle to Noyes set the Grizzlies up at the L-BF 11, and then Barto connected with Mason Rutchasky in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 62-6.
The Vikings had one more big play in their arsenal, a 60-yard touchdown run by Levi Thydean with 2:20 remaining to account for the 68-6 final.
Gornick led the Grizzlies rushing attack with 72 yards on 14 carries. Jarshaw picked up 30 yards on five totes. Barto was seven-of-15 through the air for 84 yards and a touchdown and three interceptions. Jarshaw was two-for-two for 27 yards. The Grizzlies spread the ball around this game, with six different players catching passes, Noyes leading the way with two receptions for 31 yards.
Defensively, Gornick garnered seven solo tackles and an assist, while Jarshaw and Carson Johnson each had four solo tackles.
The Grizzlies were scheduled to be on the road at Cass Lake-Bena for this Friday’s contest with an opportunity to get back into the win column. The Panthers, like North Woods, are 1-3 on the season, both with wins over Lake of the Woods. The Panthers have given up 214 points in their three losses.