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Polk County West grounds out a win over Badger-G-MR

Grant Sullivan has blocked for countless touchdowns in his three seasons as a starting offensive lineman. On Tuesday, the senior got to be on the other end of a scoring play. Sullivan's 1-yard touchdown run capped the scoring for Polk County West...

PCW's Evan Sczepanski is tackled by a B-G-M-R defender after a big gain in the first half Tuesday in East Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
PCW's Evan Sczepanski is tackled by a B-G-M-R defender after a big gain in the first half Tuesday in East Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Grant Sullivan has blocked for countless touchdowns in his three seasons as a starting offensive lineman.

On Tuesday, the senior got to be on the other end of a scoring play. Sullivan's 1-yard touchdown run capped the scoring for Polk County West as the Thunder beat visiting Badger-Greenbush-Middle River 46-14 in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota Section 8A high school football playoffs.

With the ball on the Gators' 6-yard line, Sullivan got the call on three straight running plays, finishing the drive with a 1-yard score with 4:07 remaining. "It's nice to get one in for the line,'' Sullivan said. "The line gets overlooked sometimes. A touchdown is a touchdown, even if it took three tries. I was ecstatic.''

Said PCW coach Darrin Byklum: "We promised him if we got way up, we'd try to let him score. You have to reward those guys who do the dirty work up front.''

The Thunder got the job done Tuesday. Polk County West had 326 yards in total offense. There was only one pass completion, a 2-yard touchdown to Evan Sczepanski. Otherwise it was a balanced ground game.

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Sczepanski led the way with 93 yards on just six carries, scoring 17- and 34-yard touchdown runs. Jon Fontaine added 79 yards and a touchdown, Will White rushed four times for 64 yards and two TDs, one of those a 61-yard run. Zach Fenno came off the bench to rush for 42 yards.

"We thought we'd throw a little more. We had some trouble running against them last time,'' said Byklum, whose team beat the Gators 20-0 in the regular season. "But everything clicked in the running game. If something isn't broke, don't fix it. It was a credit to the guys up front.''

The Gators scored twice in the second half on touchdown passes from Kobey Dallager to Avery Augustson covering 14 and 47 yards.

"We played those guys tough earlier in the year,'' B-G-MR coach John Lee said. "But we didn't get off the bus today. Their running, the wedge and off tackle, was working.''

Indicative of the way the night went for the Gators was in the second quarter. With PCW at midfield, Augustson intercepted a pass. But Josh Wagner immediately stripped the ball and recovered the fumble on the Gators' 27.

Two plays later, Fontaine scored on a 9-yard run.

"My assistant coach said, 'You can't make this up-we get an interception and they get a first down,' '' Lee said. "We've had no luck from the football gods this year.''

The Gators closed the season at 1-8. Polk County West, 7-2, plays at Red Lake County on Saturday in a section semifinal game.

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