Polk County West rallies past Warroad
Evan Sczepanski made a game-winning touchdown out of nothing. The Polk County West junior's 50-yard touchdown run and a successful 2-point conversion rallied the Thunder past visiting Warroad 21-14 in high school football Friday at East Grand For...
Evan Sczepanski made a game-winning touchdown out of nothing.
The Polk County West junior's 50-yard touchdown run and a successful 2-point conversion rallied the Thunder past visiting Warroad 21-14 in high school football Friday at East Grand Forks Senior High Field.
Sczepanski cut inside on his run and pulled out from a crowd, going down the middle of the field for the score. "I thought I was going to be stopped for a loss on the play,'' said Sczepanski, who finished with a game-high 128 yards rushing. "It didn't look good. But I broke a tackle near the line and my blockers plowed through. Everything was clear after that. I didn't get touched.''
The inside move wasn't typical for Sczepanski.
"He's more of a perimeter guy,'' PCW coach Darrin Byklum said. "That's where most of the plays for him are designed to go. But he showed some guts, taking it inside. He made a good read. We talked about how, with all the blitzing they were doing, we had to cut inside.''
Polk County West had taken a 7-0 lead into halftime on a Josh Wagner 11-yard touchdown run. After Tristan Johnson pulled the Warriors even on a 7-yard scoring run, Wagner scored from 3 yards out. The point-after kick failed, leaving the Thunder with a 13-7 advantage with 45 seconds left in the third.
Warroad went up 14-13 with 5:29 left when Max Gausen, put into the backfield in a power package, scored on a 1-yard run.
"That's not Max's first touchdown,'' Warroad coach Gabe Richards said. "We don't mind putting the big dogs in for those situations. He's a hard-nosed kid.
"I was feeling good (after going ahead) the way our defense was playing.''
Polk County West nearly turned the ball over on the winning drive. Two plays before Sczepanski's touchdown run, he fumbled, but teammate Myles Smith recovered.
"I was just glad to get another chance, to redeem myself,'' Sczepanski said.
Byklum said he wasn't concerned about time after Warroad went ahead. "We just had to stay with what we were doing,'' he said. "We had three timeouts left. We felt no sense of urgency. We might have scored too quickly.''
Warroad did answer. Sparked by Johnson completions covering 18 yards to Kip Knutson and 24 yards to Isaac Falk-Stoskopf, the Warriors drove to the PCW 19-yard line, but a Wagner interception with 36 seconds left iced the win.
Polk County West improved to 2-3 while handing Warroad its first loss after five straight wins.