LINTON, N.D. – The Maple Valley/Enderlin football team lost twice last year to Linton HMB. The first time was the Falcons' homecoming game, the second, a regional semifinal.
So Friday night, when the Falcons tore open the fourth quarter with two unanswered touchdowns and three big defensive stops to win 24-12, it was what several spectators called "priceless."
"It is priceless, it is," coach Brett Kapaun said after receiving hugs from parents who traveled hours to the game. "What does 'beyond feel pretty good' sound like?"
It was an enthusiasm that was unavoidable, even after MVE lost runningback Dacotah McGough to a game-ending injury midway through the second quarter.
The Lions scored first on their game-opening drive with a 33-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brooks Flyberg to wide receiver Travis Baumiller from a fourth-and-23 situation. No point after attempt was successful by either team, so the score was 6-0 with 7:35 left in the first quarter.
The second quarter began with the Falcons at second-and-7 on the Lions 10-yard line. MVE quarterback Jordan Haseleu hit receiver Daniel Lindgren for a 10-yard touchdown pass 50 seconds into the quarter.
Linton punted on their next posession, and the Falcons would drive to first-and-goal on the Lions 10-yard line until losing possession in a fumble. On that same play, McGough suffered an injury to his upper back/neck area and was taken off the field on a stretcher, and out of the stadium in an ambulance. He later returned to the sidelines after being checked on by medical personel.
"McGough got banged up. He should be back this week, hopefully," Kapaun said. "They said 'a week without contact.' He should be alright."
Kapaun credited several players for taking on McGough's offensive and defensive workload.
"We made plays when we had to," he said. "Overall we played pretty well and we were pretty much penalty free. Some kids really stepped up."
In the third quarter a 45-yard touchdown run by MVE running back Thomas Lindgren gave the Falcons a 12-6 lead, but Linton running back Mike Oien responded with a touchdown run of his own to tie the score at 12 going into the fourth quarter.
Haseleu snuck in a 3-yard touchdown run and Lindgren got in a 5-yard TD run to set the final score at 24-12, and an interception by Haseleu at defensive back sealed the deal with 32 seconds left in the game.
Linton head coach Dan Imdieke said his team held together pretty well, but the Falcons were able to consistanly execute big plays.
"You've got to give them credit, the ball was there and they made some nice plays," he said. "We're banged up a bit, it was a hard-hitting ball game."
The win leaves the Falcons 4-0 in Class A Region 1 and 5-0 overall. They are tied for first place with the Northern Cass Jaguars (4-0 region, 4-1 overall), a team they will face this Friday in Enderlin in the MVE homecoming game.
Kapaun said the Lions and the Jaguars both have strong running games, and his defense will have some work to do this week in practice.
"They run the ball so we got to work on some tackling and make sure that we're in position to make a play," Kapaun said. "When we played the 4-2 (defense), we did a pretty good job of stoping their run. They did gash us for some yards, but we had poor tackling at times, too."
Valley City 40, Kindred 0
Valley City High School dominated on both sides of the ball in a 40-0 win in Kindred Friday.
The Hi-Liners scored 16 points in the first quarter and had a 32-0 lead by halftime. The defense limited Kindred to 188 total yards and three turnovers as the Hi-Liner running game put up 268 yards.
Shane Undem led Valley City with 127 yards rushing on 17 attempts and scored three touchdowns. Brandon Breckheimer had 79 yards and Anthony Olstad finished with 50 yards and two touchdowns. Olstad and Undem also combined to go 5-5 in two-point conversion runs.
Defensively, Dereck Durheim had an interception and Jesse Hass and Tyler Jacobson both had fumble recoveries.
The Hi-Liners (2-1 Class AA Region 1, 3-1 overall) return home this weekend for their homecoming game with Lisbon at Hanna Field.
Lisbon 30, GBC 6
An 18-point second quarter helped Lisbon beat Griggs/Barnes County in a AA Region 1 game Friday in Lisbon.
The Broncos had a one-yard run in the first quarter, then opened the second quarter with another run. GBC then had a pass picked off and returned 55 yards for a touchdown by Wyatt Aberle.
Lisbon scored 24 unanswered points before the Bison scored on a 15-yard run by Jacoby Kramlich.
The Bison (0-3 AA Region 1, 0-5 overall) play at Grafton/St. Thomas next weekend.
LLM 20, Hankinson 0
The LaMoure/Litchville-Marion football team beat #5 Hankinson 20-0 Friday in Hankinson. The Loboes play against Wyndmere/Lidgerwood Friday in LaMoure.