Wolves come up short
By Neal A. Shipman
Saturday’s match-up between the Velva Aggies and the Watford City Wolves for the right to advance to the State Class A Football championship was everything that everyone expected it to be. In fact, there are those who will say that the match-up which featured two undefeated teams in Velva, the No. 1 rated team in Class A football, and Watford City, the No. 2 rated team, wasn’t just a semifinal game. It was the state title game.
And with the intensity by which both teams took to the game, it was unfortunate that one team was going to be staying home while the other would advance to the Dakota Bowl.
While Watford City would win the game statistically, it was Velva who would win the game on the scoreboard as the Aggies came away with a 30-21 win. Watford City had 348 offensive yards in the game compared to 220 for the Aggies.
Velva got on the scoreboard first as they capitalized on a Watford City interception in the first quarter to take a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Aggies then built their lead to 13-0 in the second quarter on a halfback pass into the end zone. But Watford City would answer right back. The Wolves put together their first sustained drive of the game marching 80 yards down the field culminating their scoring drive on a three-yard touchdown run by Brady Lund to make the score 13-7.
Velva then took the ball the length of the field and scored on an 11-yard run with 23 seconds in the second quarter to take a 20-7 halftime lead.
While Velva had been able to contain Watford City’s running attack in the first half, the Wolves made some big adjustments at halftime that turned the game around for the Wolves.
Trey Jacobson, who finished the game with 96 yards rushing and 123 passing yards, spurred Watford City’s comeback in the third quarter, scoring on a pair of one-yard runs on nice drives to give the Wolves a 21-20 lead.
Velva would go back on top 27-21 in the fourth quarter and then a snap that went over Watford City’s punter’s head for a safety sealed the win for Velva.
“We gave them too many points in the first half,” stated Fred Fridley, Wolves’ head coach. “The turnover and a couple penalties against us helped Velva get a couple of their scores.”
While Fridley shares the disappointment of the loss with his team, he nonetheless is proud of the Wolves’ accomplishments this season.
“It was a great year for the Wolves finishing 11-1 and winning Region IV and then having big wins over Lewis and Clark and Killdeer in the playoffs,” stated Fridley. “This was a special team. They worked hard every day in practice and had great attitudes. It is always hard to lose, but the team put everything they had into the game and can be proud of who they are as athletes.”
Fridley also gave praise to Justin Johnsrud, his defensive coordinator.
“I feel I have the best defensive coordinator in Justin Johnsrud,” stated Fridley. “Justin puts in a lot of time in preparation each week.”
Watford City 0 7 14 0
Velva 6 14 0 10
V - Collin Kittelson 1 run (kick failed)
V - Josh Sandy 28 pass from Ty Bruner (kick failed)
WC - Brady Lund 3 run (Kalin Mogen kick)
V - Jon Mack 11 run (Bruner kick)
WC - Trey Jacobson 1 run (Mogen kick)
WC - Jacobson 1 run (Mogen kick)
V - Kittelson 13 run (Kittelson run)
V - Safety, punt snap goes through end zone
Rushing: Trey Jacobson, 18-96 yards; Nolan Kalberer, 16-75 yards; Brady Lund, 12-41 yards; Karson Knudtson, 4-8 yards.
Passing: Jacobson 5 of 10 for 123 yards.
Receiving: Tyler Flatland, 2-47 yards; Brady Lund, 2-37 yards; Nick Liebel, 1-39 yards.
Total yards: Watford City 348, Velva 220.
Defensive Points: Karson Knudtson, 42; Douglas Nordby, 19; Tyler Flatland, 17; Nick Liebel, 17; Kalin Mogen, 16; Nolan Kalberer, 15; Trey Jacobson, 11; Douglas Rolfson, 11; Shawn Fulwider, 9; Brady Lund, 6; Jake Thomas, 6; Cole Rolfsrud, 5; Sterling Ross, 2; Tyler Bates, 2; Bradlyn Fettig, 2.