Thief River Falls defeats East Grand Forks 30-16 in Minnesota Section 8AAA quarterfinals
The Green Wave had seven total turnovers in the loss, including six fumbles
Entering the Minnesota Section 8AAA quarterfinals, East Grand Forks had not lost on its home turf this season. Thief River Falls flipped the script with a 30-16 win over East Grand Forks on Tuesday, capitalizing on seven turnovers from the Green Wave.
In the win, Kadin Grindeland, Jake Fredrich, Braedon Potucek and Caleb Rosendahl combined for 133 yards rushing and two touchdowns. for the Prowlers
The Green Wave got a little taste of their own medicine on Thief River Falls’ opening drive. A three-minute drive went 65 yards and saw the Prowlers distribute handoffs to three different players and it ended with a Fredrich 5-yard rush for a touchdown.
Immediately, EGF answered via a 48-yard Caleb Schmiedeberg run that set up a 5-yard Justin Overgaard touchdown. It was a 67-yard drive of their own but took just over a minute off the clock.
With both teams running a patient offense, a shootout with both teams going back-and-forth was not expected but there was an emphasis on making sure to come away with points when they got the ball.
This became evident on the second EGF drive. Facing a fourth-and-10, East Grand Forks Senior High elected to go for a 48-yard field goal with the wind at its back. With the help from the breeze, Overgaard booted a high, floating ball that just skimmed the back of the lower bar and gave them the 10-7 lead.
“We had the wind and I thought we could make it. Even if we missed it they would have had it at the 20, so punting doesn’t do you much good there. Great kick though, 48 yards is unbelievable,” said EGF coach Ryan Kasowski.
Then the Green Wave defense pitched in, stepping up with an interception from Schmiedeberg. With field position starting at the 25-yard line, Overgaard and Campos led them to the goal line and the quarterback finished the job with a 1-yard keeper.
Next, it was the run defense for East Grand Fork that came in clutch. A very short punt allowed Thief River Falls to start at the 35-yard line, but Joey Votava, Sam Schumacher and the line pushed them back and forced a punt.
However, on the next drive, a costly fumble on a late pitch out and unnecessary roughness penalty of defense put the Prowlers in prime position to answer. From the 10-yard line and a minute to go in the half, Rosendahl found Potucek at the far pylon for a touchdown.
“For where we were put as far as field position goes I was really proud of the fact we kept it a one-score game for the majority of the game, but the turnovers were just too much to overcome against a good football team,” Kasowski said.
Looking to respond after the turnover and touchdown, East Grand Forks needed to start hot on the ground. The first attempts out of the locker room went for negative yards and then an awkward exchange between Campos and Overgaard at their own 10 resulted in a loose ball that Fredrich was in the perfect position to scoop up and score.
“I wanted to calm our guys down. We understood that we just needed to take care of the football. We were moving the ball but just kept putting it on the ground,” Kasowski said.
The turnover troubles continued into the second half for the Green Wave. Campos would lose one in Prowler territory and after the defense held Thief River Falls, the ensuing punt was muffed.
Backed up again to start the fourth quarter, East Grand Forks set up to punt at its own 10-yard line but the snap went high and out of the back of the end zone for a TRF safety.
Despite the four total turnovers heading into the fourth quarter, East Grand Forks still found itself in a one-score game with not much they could do to adjust their game on offense.
“The problem was we had the wind in our face for the fourth so that was difficult to spread the ball out at that time. It’s just not how we are built, too, so it's hard to do that,” said Kasowski.
But, the turnover onslaught would not stop. At their own 25-yard line the Green Wave would fumble again and the Prowlers would move the ball to the goal line.
As the fumbles came on offense, the defense continued to get the bounces that would keep them in the game. They stopped three Thief River Falls attempts for a one-yard touchdown and forced them to try a field goal to put the game away.
With just under eight minutes left the field goal try was blocked.
Now with a potentially game-winning drive at hand, EGF had another opportunity to erase everything that previously happened in the second half.
The Wave picked up a first down on the first carry. Then Carter Vasek would lose the ball on the next carry, marking the sixth fumble for the Green Wave and their chances to move on in the section playoffs.
“To beat a good team you just can’t turn the ball over that many times. I think our kids are frustrated. This has been a special group so it's tough for it to be over and tough for it to be done. I love this group,” Kasowski said.
East Grand Forks finishes the year with a 5-4 record while outscoring their opponents 163-135
Thief River Falls will now travel to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Saturday to take on the No. 1 seed in Section 8AAA football.
Thief River Falls 30, East Grand Forks 16
TRF - Jake Fredrich 5 run (Brayden Speers kick)
EGF - Justin Overgaard 5 run (Overgaard kick)
EGF - Overgaard 48 field goal
EGF - Tanner Campos 1 run
TRF - Caleb Rosendahl 7 pass to Braedon Potucek (Speers kick)
TRF - Jake Fredrich 10 fumble return (Speers kick)
TRF - Safety
TRF - Kadin Grindeland 2 run (Speers kick)
RUSHING -- EGF: Caleb Schmeideberg 9-66, Justin Overgaard 8-55-1, Tanner Campos 8-28-1, Carter Vasek 3-17 TRF: Caleb Rosendahl 5-15, Jake Fredrich 11-31-1, Kadin Grindeland 16-70-1, Griffin Lundeen 5-4, Braedon Potucek 5-17
PASSING -- EGF: Tanner Campos 2-6-0-1 12 yards TRF: Caleb Rosendahl 3-6-1-1 29 yards
RECEIVING -- EGF: Justin Overgaard 1-5, Sam Schumacher 1-7 TRF: Jake Fredrich 1-22, Morgan Rude 1-0, Braedon Potucek 1-7-1