ENDERLIN – The undefeated Maple Valley/Enderlin football team held its perch on the the top of the Class A Region I standings 26-22 win over Northern Cass in its homecoming game Friday night.
The Falcons offense attacked from the air with passing team of quarterback Jordan Haseleu and wide receiver Austin Dixson and key defensive plays gave MVE the victory. The game went back forth throughout the fourth quarter and Falcon head coach Brett Kapaun said he was proud of his team's tenacity.
"We could have hung our heads and not played as good there," he said. "We gave a little bit but our defense played well enough to win and Jordan and Austin had a great night. We didn't run the ball very well but we sure threw the ball well."
Kapaun said the size of the Jaguars front line limited the his team's rushing capabilities, and Friday was the most success the team has had this season with their pass game.
Jaguars head coach Dale Nordick said his defense could not keep up with Falcons when the ball was in the air.
"We didn't have an answer to their long ball," Nordick said. "We lost two kids with concussions in the first quarter, the other kids stepped up, but it's two starters, two two-way starters."
MVE running back/linebacker Dakota McGough bounced back from a game-ending injury the week before to snag an interception that stopped the Jaguars' opening drive. The teams traded punts throughout the first quarter until Haseleu hit Dixson for a 86-yard touchdown pass.
Haseleu stripped the ball on the following kickoff, and the Falcons' momentum carried into the second quarter when running back Thomas Lindgren snuck in on a three-yard touchdown run.
The Jaguars' run-heavy offense would finally get the team on the scoreboard on the back quarterback sneak by Taylor Kyllo, after running backs Casey Springer and Maverick Symington punched the ball 66 yards to the goal line in six plays. Symington ran in an extra two points making the score 12-8 at halftime.
A 56-yard pass from Haseleu to Dixson early in the second half put the Falcons at first-and-goal at the Northern Cass five-yard line but rushing attempts by Lindgren, Haseleu and McGough fell short of crossing the goal line.
An interception by Kyllo at defensive back and a successful fake punt by the Jaguars set up a Northern Cass touchdown that gave them the lead. Kyllo hit the end zone on a 25-yard run and Springer ran two to give the Jaguars a 16-12 lead 31 seconds into the final quarter.
The Falcons responded with a 48-yard pass from Haseleu to Lindgren and 17-yard touchdown pass to Dixson less than a minute of game time later. A follow-up pass to Dixson for two points gave the lead back to MVE at 20-16.
The lead changed hands again when Kyllo crossed the goal line on a 1-yard touchdown run halfway through the fourth quarter.
Trailing 22-20, Haseleu found Dixson open again for 39-yard pass that set up a 12 yard touchdown run by Lindgren for the 26-22 final score.
Pushed back to fourth-and-16 pass with 46 seconds left in the game, a successful pass from Kyllo to wide receiver TJ Hochstetler came up short for a Jaguars first down, and Haseleu would take a knee to run out the clock.
Kapaun said it felt good to be leading the conference but the two last games of the season with Milnor/North Seargent and Oakes will be against formidable opponents. The return of 240-pound lineman Jason Rowell, who has been out with a concussion, will restore some much needed size to the Falcons frontline.
"It's going to be another dogfight," he said. "We've got to make sure we get back to our basics and run the ball.
LLM 26, LW 14
LaMoure/Litchville-Marion upset the top-ranked 9-Man team in the state with a 26-14 win over Wyndmere/Lidgerwood Friday in LaMoure.
The Loboes allowed only six points in the first three quarters and held a 26-6 lead until late in the game. Brady Thielges led the Loboes with two touchdowns. The Lobo defense also had a safety.
The Loboes play at Sargent Central Friday.
Grafton 32, GBC 6
Griggs/Barnes County lost 32-6 to No. 3 Grafton Friday. The Titans host Kindred Friday in Cooperstown.