Pelican Rapids Football - Vikings complete comeback
On a blustery night in Northwest Minnesota, the two most dangerous high school football plays seem to be the punt and the deep pass.
Both situations haunted East Grand Forks Senior High in the fourth quarter in chilly conditions at Senior High field.
Pelican Rapids took advantage of an interception and a punt that traveled a few yards in the wrong direction to beat the Green Wave 20-10 on Friday night.
The Vikings, who trailed 10-0 at halftime, completed the comeback with a 14-point fourth quarter. Pelican Rapids, which improved to 4-2, scored 20 unanswered points in the second half.
"The difference was just attitude," Pelican Rapids coach Dave Haugen said. "It seems so simple sometimes. It wasn't X's and O's. It was heart and desire."
The tide began to turn midway through the fourth quarter, with the Vikings trailing 10-6. The Green Wave were forced to punt into a stiff wind. The snap came at the Senior High 30. The booted ball came to a stop at the Senior High 27.
"Special teams hurt us all game," said Senior High coach Scott Oliver, whose team also had two other punts blocked. "We'll be addressing that this week."
Five plays later, Vikings running back Carlos Gutierrez took a sweep to the right side and dove into the end zone to pull ahead 13-10 with 7:25 remaining.
Senior High, which dropped to 3-3, would have one final rebuttal. The Wave drove into Pelican Rapids territory with about two and a half minutes to go.
But on second-and-10 from the 45, Senior High quarterback Nick Erickson lofted a high pass deep into coverage and Ryan Bruggeman intercepted the ball.
Three plays later, Bruggeman sealed the victory with a 70-yard run for the 20-10 final advantage.
Bruggeman, a 5-foot-11, 155-pound junior, finished with 150 rushing yards on 12 carries.
"He's a gritty guy and has a sense for the moment," Haugen said. "We like to get him involved in a lot of ways. We like to see him around the ball."
The Vikings finished with 278 rushing yards, with 205 coming in the second half.
It was a complete contrast for the Green Wave, who rushed for 137 yards in the first half and 26 yards in the second half.
"They came out into the wind and ran the ball at us," Oliver said. "We didn't have an answer. Obviously, at halftime they made some good adjustments, and we didn't readjust."
Ryan Boushee paced the Senior High offense with 124 rushing yards, including a 59-yard scoring scamper in the second quarter.
The Wave tacked on a 33-yard field goal by Erickson to push the lead to 10-0 at halftime.
However, the second half was a different tale.
"They were gritty," Oliver said. "They have a gritty football team that won a real battle on an awful night. Give them credit."
Pelican Rapids at East Grand Forks, Friday, Oct. 5.
Viking 0 0 6 14 -- 20
Green Wave 0 10 0 0 -- 10
EGF - Ryan Boushee 60 yd run; Nick Erickson kick
EGF - Nick Erickson 33 yd field goal
PR - Tanner Grahn 2 yd run; kick blocked
PR - Carlos Gutierrez 3 yd run; Hobet Diaz kick
PR - Ryan Bruggeman 70 yd run; Hobet Diaz kick
Pelican Rapids - 294 yds
EGF - 174 yds
Pelican Rapids - 3-8-12 yds
EGF - 3-12-35 yds
Viking individual stats:
Rushing: Ryan Bruggeman 10-137 yds, 1 TD; Tanner Grahn 12-48 yds, 1 TD; Patrick Coleman 7-47 yds.
Receiving: Ryan BRuggeman 2-10 yds; Patrick Coleman 1-2 yds.