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East Grand Forks holds off Thief River Falls in Section 8AAA playoffs

East Grand Forks' quarterback Sam Votava looks for yardage as Thief River Falls' Teagan Kruckeberg reaches for the tackle Tuesday at Senior High in East Grand by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
East Grand Forks' Justin Kallock returns a Thief River Falls kick for a touchdown in the second quarter of their Minnesota Region 8A playoff game at Senior High Tuesday in East Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

East Grand Forks Senior High's Justin Kallock has heard the special teams history from Green Wave football coach Ryan Kasowski for a while now.

"We have not returned a kick for a touchdown in East Grand Forks in 14 years," Kasowski said. "We've talked about that since I got here. Today was the perfect time to get that done."

Kallock, in the final home game of his career, put an end to that streak. In turn, he extended his high school football career.

Kallock's 85-yard kickoff return sparked a 19-point second quarter en route to Senior High's 22-19 win over Thief River Falls in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota Section 8AAA playoffs on Tuesday night at Senior High Field.

"I don't want to hang the pads up just yet," Kallock said.

No. 4 seed East Grand Forks, which improved to 3-6, will play at No. 1 Perham in the semifinals on Saturday. No. 5 Thief River Falls, which lost 13-6 to EGF in the regular season, finished at 1-8.

The Green Wave, who threw for a season-high 183 yards against the Prowlers in the regular season, were much more ground-based offensively in the postseason matchup.

Maguire Stanislowski (10 carries for 54 yards) and Ethan Trebil (13 for 57) led the Wave rushing attack.

Senior High completed just two passes, including just one for starting quarterback Carter Beck.

The one throw, however, was a 25-yard touchdown to Trebil on fourth-and-7 in the big second quarter.

The Trebil score, his second of the game, gave Senior High a 19-6 halftime lead.

The Wave, however, had to hold off a late Thief River Falls rally.

On TRF's second offensive possession of the second half, Josh Bernier's 11-yard touchdown run cut the lead to 19-13.

The Wave picked up some key breathing room to start the fourth quarter when Rudy Juarez made a 30-yard field goal on an attempt that was a wobbly line drive.

"It was ugly, but it went in," Kasowski said.

The Prowlers answered with a 13-play drive, capped by a Cade Lundeen 1-yard quarterback sneak on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Lundeen's touchdown run cut the Wave lead to 22-19.

Thief River Falls' first chance to tie or take the lead after the Lundeen score ended on fourth-and-1 with 2:06 remaining when Chase Olderback smothered a Bernier run up the middle.

But the Wave couldn't milk the clock and was stopped on fourth-and-2 from the 22.

TRF's final rebuttal started with a holding penalty with 22 seconds left, but the Prowlers didn't go away quietly.

Lundeen hit Bernier for a 30-yard pass to near midfield. After some clock confusion based on a possible fumble, TRF was awarded two seconds on the clock for a final play, but Lundeen's final attempt fell incomplete.

"What a slugfest," TRF coach Bryce Lingen said. "Mistakes early came back to bite us, but I'm proud of our guys."

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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