Just a couple of weeks ago, East Grand Forks was in contention for the second seed in the Minnesota Section 8AAA playoffs. Now, after losing Fergus Falls in the last week of the regular season, the Wave will battle as the fourth seed against No. 5 Thief River Falls on Tuesday night.
The Green Wave will still have home field and stay on the top half of the bracket, but now they come into the quarterfinals with an extra edge.
“Our team has a chip on its shoulder which is good,” EGF coach Ryan Kasowski said. “It ignites the fire (getting the fourth seed). Our boys are ready to play. It was a tough way to lose last week with them scoring with seven seconds left, but we had a good week of practice and we’ll be ready to go.”
Not only did Fergus Falls score with seven seconds left, but the Otters started the drive with just under two minutes remaining and at their own five-yard line.
Still, it was a 30-23 game and the Green Wave have plenty to build off on offense. As a team, the Wave rushed for 266 yards. Caleb Schmiedeberg, Tanner Campos and Justin Overgaard all collected over 20 yards on the ground, showcasing a poised backfield that can get through when called.
“This time of year it's about who is healthy. We’re fortunate that our main guys are fresh and ready to go. When it comes to practice we know when to rest guys and now we’re seeing that spirits are up and when game time rolls around guys are banged up,” said Kasowski.
As for Thief River Falls, the Prowlers come into postseason action riding a three-game winning streak with victories over Frazee, Pequot Lakes and Park Rapids. Their last loss was against East Grand Forks, 28-14. A surprisingly high-scoring matchup, for two teams that rely on a ground-and-pound offense that thrives off possession time.
“They are a really well-coached football team. They are really physical, it's what they pride themselves on. We’re actually pretty similar teams that run old-school offenses that want to run the ball and run the clock,” Kasowski said.
With both teams looking to hold on to the ball as much as possible and the setting do-or-die in the section quarterfinal, the Green Wave are aware that when they get the ball they are going to need to put points on the board.
“That’s the whole thing with winning the time of possession battle you need to come away with points. We did that last time we played these guys. We possessed the ball for a lot of that game and scored. Probably the most complete game we played all year,” said Kasowski.
The playoffs beginning for the Green Wave at home could be crucial as well. This year they are undefeated at East Grand Forks Senior High and have outscored opponents 84-12 with three consecutive shutouts on the home turf.
Kickoff Tuesday is scheduled for 6 p.m.