N.D. SHRINE BOWL: East wins 73-point shootout in 9-man game
After 73 points and more than 800 yards in total offense, it all came down to one defense play. Nick Becker (Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter) made the strip. Trent Karel (Cavalier) recovered the loose football. And the East hung on to beat the West 38-3...
After 73 points and more than 800 yards in total offense, it all came down to one defense play.
Nick Becker (Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter) made the strip. Trent Karel (Cavalier) recovered the loose football. And the East hung on to beat the West 38-35 in the 9-man game of the annual North Dakota Shrine Bowl on Saturday at the Alerus Center.
“It was different. We’re not used to (offensive) games like that at Cavalier,’’ Karel said.
The East had taken a 38-35 lead with 2:28 remaining when Anthony Olson (LaMoure-Litchville-Marion) went up the middle for a 2-yard score.
But the West got a 40-yard return on the ensuing kickoff by Andrew Hanretty (St. John) to start at the East 39. Two plays later, Cam Dubore (Warren-Alvarado-Oslo) ran for a first down inside the East 20. But Becker stripped him to force the fumble, Karel pounced on the ball and the East never gave the football back in the final 1:21.
“I saw the ball come out behind Becker, I grabbed it and that was it,’’ Karel said. “A couple of guys tried to grab it, but I had that one tight.’’
That ended a game of offensive fireworks and seven lead changes in the see-saw matchup.
For the East, Olson rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns and also had a 94-yard kickoff return for a score. Quarterback Carter Mauch (Hankinson) rushed for 198 yards and two TDs.
“That was one of the best ways to go out playing my last game at running back,’’ said Olson, who has signed to play at Northern State of Aberdeen, S.D., and will play safety. “And Carter was making big plays. He’s one of the smartest quarterbacks around and he’s very athletic. I just trusted my linemen and tried to make plays.’’
The West was led by the Towner-Granville-Upham passing combination of Eli Luna to Colter Thorp.
Luna was 11-of-17 passing for 242 yards. He threw five touchdown passes, one of 48 yards to Hanretty and four to Thorp, covering 63, 9, 3 and 9 yards. The last strike to Thorp gave the West a 35-30 lead with 2:05 left in the third quarter.
“The fact that they’ve played together made them comfortable with each other,’’ West coach Funnon Barker of Bismarck Shiloh Christian said. “Thorp found open spots and Eli put it out there on the money for him. They’ve probably been doing that since they were in elementary school.
“In 9-man football, with the best athletes in the state out there, it was no surprise to see a lot of points on the board.’’
East coach Sandy Laxdal of Cavalier agreed.
“They had so many ways to score, good running backs and Thorp is as good a tight end as you’ll see,’’ Laxdal said. “And we worked to scheme ways to get Carter and Anthony the ball. I thought our guys up front wore them down.’’
For the East, however, the only turnover of the game, with 1:21 remaining, put a defensive stamp on the finish.
“We wanted to be aggressive and look for turnovers,’’ Laxdal said. “Becker made a nice strip on the ball. And Trent is a kid who always has been around the football. We finally got one at the end.’’