Wave roll to opening win over Crookston
Julian Benson was a bit surprised to get his first start Friday. The junior's numbers showed he earned his spot.
Benson rushed for 119 yards and four touchdowns, leading East Grand Forks Senior High to a 49-28 win against visiting Crookston in the high school season opener for the two teams.
"I didn't know if I'd even start,'' said Benson, who totaled 169 rushing yards and one TD as a reserve last season.
"All the work our line has put in, that was the big thing. We don't get yards without their blocking. There were some runs where I never got touched.''
Benson scored the Wave's first three touchdowns on 1-, 4- and 8-yard runs. Then he burst through the line and went 90 yards for a score in the third quarter to give the Wave a 49-8 lead.
"I'm more of a grind-it-out back,'' Benson said. "They blitzed everybody (on the 90-yard run). Riddle and Olderback made perfect blocks. I never got touched.''
Aaron Riddle at a tackle and Chase Olderback at a guard started on the offensive line, with Ross Corbid at guard, Zack Johnson at a tackle and Jhett Pesch and Jake Osowski sharing time at center. They led a Wave offense that totaled 362 yards—all on the ground, as Senior High didn't attempt a pass.
"We want to just run the ball when we can,'' EGF coach Ryan Kasowski said. "Our line really took over. They were awesome. We were able to keep running it and running it.
"Julian had a heckuva game. We look to have good balance. Tonight it was his night. He ran hard.''
The Wave did have balance, as Jackson Galstad rushing for 78 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown, Carter Beck for 62 yards and Ethan Trebil for 59.
The Wave also had two special-teams touchdowns. Olderback blocked a Crookston punt, scooped up the bouncing football at the 25 and took it in for a score. And Blake Moen returned the opening kickoff of the second half 85 yards for a touchdown.
"They had three big plays,'' Pirates coach Scott Butt said. "Those were daggers. If you stop two of those, you have a shot. But you won't survive giving up three big plays for scores like that.
"Their offensive line was bigger and stronger. Physically, they took it to us. They ran it at us. Big, strong kids will do that to you.''
Crookston's main offensive threat was quarterback Leyton Salentine. The junior rushed for 62 yards and a TD and was 11-of-18 passing for 120 yards, including a 7-yard score to Ty Hamre.
"When we gave Leyton time, he did a nice job of executing our passing game,'' Butt said.