Posted 9/23/14 (Tue)
By Neal A. Shipman
Watford City dominated the ground game, while Griggs County controlled the passing game as the two teams squared off in Class AA West Region football action on Saturday afternoon at Fridley Field.
And for the fourth straight time this season, Watford City’s rushing game proved to be the difference as the Wolves rolled over the Titans, 54-20. Watford City ran the ball 36 times for 382 yards, while holding the Titans to just 78 yards on 23 carries. But it was a different story in the passing department as Griggs County picked up 241 yards in the air, while the Wolves had just 37 yards.
“We played well on Saturday,” stated Justin Johnsrud, Wolves’ head coach. “The wind played a factor, especially in the first half, and turnovers by Griggs County really gave us great field position on a couple of possessions.”
Watford City took advantage of those early miscues as the Wolves jumped out to a 19-0 first quarter lead on three touchdowns. The Wolves’ first score came on a 65-yard run by Brandon Sandvik, and then just five minutes later, Dalton Wright scored again for Watford City on an eight-yard run. Wright scored his second touchdown of the game with 38 seconds left in the game on a 13-yard run.
With Griggs County having the wind at its back in the second quarter, the Titans would put two touchdowns on the scoreboard to draw to a 19-14 deficit.
But the Wolves answered the Titans’ challenge by scoring three times in the final 4½ minutes of the first half.
Keegan Thompson silenced the Titans as he broke loose for a 75-yard touchdown run with 4:31 left in the second quarter, and then scampered into the end zone on a 13-yard run with 1:42 left in the first half.
Watford City’s final score of the first half came on a 37-yard pass from Thompson to Brenden Leaming as the clock ran out to put the Wolves on top, 40-14.
“Our offensive line had a good week of practice and it showed during Saturday’s game,” stated Johnsrud. “We ran a couple of new formations to help distribute the ball to our playmakers, and the kids had good energy, and really played hard for four quarters. It was nice to see as we come into the middle of the season with Minot Bishop Ryan and St. Mary’s coming up the next two weeks.”
Watford City would score two more touchdowns in the third quarter on a seven-yard run by Daniel Marmon and a 20-yard run by Sandvik, while the Titans would close out the scoring with a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“Defensively, we played well,” stated Johnsrud. “We’ve proven in our first four games that it is not easy to run the ball against us. Consequently, we will see more and more passing. Griggs County had a good quarterback who found the open receivers. We will continue to work on our pass defense and improve.”
Derrike Hayden led Watford City’s defense with 7½ tackles, seven of which were solo, while Dalton Wright had six tackles.
This week, the Wolves will be traveling to Minot Bishop Ryan for a 7 p.m. game on Friday, Sept. 26.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Griggs County 0 14 0 6 20
Watford City 19 21 14 0 54