After weather delay, East Grand Forks uses big play to defeat Park Rapids

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Green Wave wide receiver Richard Thompson cruises into the end zone for a 90 yard punt return touchdown against Park Rapids Monday afternoon in East Grand Forks. Because of severe weather last Friday, the remainder of East Grand Forks Senior High's home football game against the Park Rapids Panthers was postponed to early Monday night. The Green Wave beat the Panthers 28-14. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

As Ricky Thompson was trying to recover the kickoff he’d just muffed, his concern wasn’t about a big runback. It was about the wrath of his coaches.

“I was thinking my coaches were going to kill me,’’ the East Grand Forks Senior High junior football player said.

But Thompson not only recovered the muff. He took it 90 yards for a touchdown, sparking the Green Wave to a 28-14 win against visiting Park Rapids on Monday in the conclusion of a game that was suspended Friday due to inclement weather.

Park Rapids had pulled within 20-14 with 8:22 remaining when Jens Anderson connected with James Hartig for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The lead lasted only a few seconds, as Thompson found running room down the sideline on the ensuing kickoff.

“Whenever I get the ball I feel I can turn it into a big play,’’ Thompson said. “I saw how open the right side was and how many blockers I had in front of me. I felt maybe I could go all the way.’’


Said Green Wave coach Ryan Kasowski: “That play was huge. When he picked it up and made one guy miss him initially, I thought he could break it.

“The momentum swung right back in our favor on that play. Ricky’s not usually the one getting the ball back there. But he’s the fastest guy on our team. Ricky came to play.’’

That included an interception on Park Rapids’ ensuing drive.

Senior High took a 14-0 lead into halftime on a pair of touchdown passes. Sam Votava connected first with Nate Willett for a 22-yard score, then hit Brandon Anderson for a 4-yard touchdown.

Park Rapids’ first score came in the third quarter. Park Rapids put together a seven-minute, 80-yard drive capped by a 15-yard scoring pass from Anderson to Nicholas Michaelson on the final play before the game was suspended.

After Carter Vasek broke a 60-yard touchdown run for a 20-8 EGF lead, Anderson passed to Hartig for a touchdown, only to see Thompson answer.

“We had some momentum,’’ PR coach Jeremy Nordick said. “We made a big play. But that’s been kind of the story of our season -- make a big play, then turn around and give one up.’’

Senior High’s defense had two interceptions and also kept Park Rapids from scoring after it had first-and-goal from the 2-yard line on the final drive of the first half. Julian Benson had tackles for losses on consecutive plays to spark the goal-line stand.


“We really got on our defense after the Pequot Lakes game (a 47-34 loss),’’ Kasowski said. “They really stepped up.’’

Senior High improved to 2-2 while Park Rapids dropped to 0-4.

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East Grand Forks Senior High quarterback Sam Votava finds a break in the Panther defense in the fourth quarter of Monday's postponed home football game against Park Rapids. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

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