Hi-Liner football (1-1), whose offense had soared in a 57-27 win at Trinity the week before, looked to make it two wins in a row as East rival Grafton (1-1), who had blew the doors off of Stanley/Powers Lake, 44-12, came to town on Friday night.
Valley City's offense looked to take off as it had seven days prior, but Grafton junior Zak Hernandez and senior Austin Contreras brought the Hi-Liners back down to Earth, 30-14.
Valley City blocked Grafton's punt and recovered it and the Spoiler 35-yard line. Senior running back Dustin Lindgren, who ran for 53 yards on 12 carries, put the Hi-Liners on the board first with a 2-yard touchdown dive up the middle. Junior quarterback Jared Lentz's 2-point scramble pass to the right fell incomplete and Valley City led 6-0 to end the first quarter.
Grafton answered with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Hernandez in the right of the end zone and converted a 2-point sweep to the right for an 8-6 lead with 10:28 to halftime.
Hi-Liner sophomore running back John Halgrimson ran for a 2-yard touchdown and Lindgren's 2-point run up the middle succeeded for a 14-8 Valley City lead with 3:22 until halftime.
Hernandez scored on a 60-yard touchdown catch-and-run 18 seconds later, and Grafton regained the lead at 16-14 after a 2-pointer converted with 3:04 to play.
Valley City fumbled at their own 41 on their next drive with 1:31 to go, and Grafton recovered. The Hi-Liners gave up only three yards and forced a punt, but fumbled the return and the Spoilers jumped on it at the Valley City 36. Grafton senior wide receiver Austin Contreras took a catch the rest of the way on the next play, but a Spoiler penalty brought it back. Grafton called a timeout with 35 seconds to halftime, but Hi-Liner freshman defensive back Tyler Klinske's interception in the red zone ended the Spoilers' drive — and the half — with Grafton leading, 16-14.
Contreras took a read keeper to the left for a short score and the Spoilers led 24-14 after a 2-point conversion with 8:22 left in the third. He scored again on a 15-yard touchdown catch with 8:31 left in the fourth quarter, but Grafton's 2-point attempt failed.
Hernandez intercepted Lentz's play-action pass to the left at the Hi-Liner 36 with 7:20 remaining and the Spoilers celebrated a 30-14 win.
Valley City (0-1 East, 1-2 overall) has a prime chance to rebound with a win at first-place Wahpeton (1-0, 3-0), Friday at 7 p.m.
Read this story in Tuesday's Times-Record.