Posted 9/30/09 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
With a 20-12 win over the Hazen Bison, the No. 2-ranked team in Class A football, the Watford City Wolves, the No. 1-ranked team in Class A football, took over sole possession of the top spot in Region 4.
In an extremely hard fought game last Friday evening between the two top teams in Class A, Watford City emerged with the win as the Wolves extended their season record to 5-0 and their winning streak to 15 games.
“With the win over Hazen, we are now in the driver’s seat to have home field advantage in the upcoming playoffs,” stated Fred Fridley, Wolves’ head coach.
Behind an offense line that did a great job of punching holes in the Hazen defense, Watford City, on its opening possession, marched 65 yards on 15 rushing plays into the Hazen end zone.
Brady Lund capped off the scoring drive on a 19-yard sweep around the right end for the Wolves’ first touchdown with Kalin Mogen picking the PAT to put Watford City on top 7-0.
Lund, who was the workhorse in Watford City’s backfield in the first half, rolled up 103 yards on 21 carries before he suffered a mild concussion late in the first half.
In the second quarter, following a 35-yard pass completion from Trey Jacobson to Nick Liebel, Jacobson put the Wolves up by two touchdowns as he scrambled 24 yards to the Hazen one-yard line and then finished the drive on a quarterback keeper. Mogen kicked the extra point to give Watford City a 14-0 halftime lead.
While Hazen threatened to score a couple of times late in the second quarter, Watford City’s defense came up with big plays to keep the Bison out of the end zone.
Hazen would finally get on the scoreboard early in the third quarter, but Watford City responded as the Wolves took the ball 78 yards for another Wolves’ touchdown. Shawn Fulwider ended the Wolves’ drive as he went up between a pair of Hazen defenders to pull down a 23-yard pass from Jacobson to put Watford City on top 20-6 after three quarters of play.
Hazen would draw to within eight points, 20-12, in the fourth quarter, but Watford City’s defense came through two more times stopping the Bison deep in Wolves’ territory.
“Coach Johnsrud did a great job of getting our defense ready,” stated Fridley. “We stopped the Bison four times inside the 15 yard line. They have two of the top running backs in the state, and while we bent a little, we were able to keep them in check for the most part. We knew we couldn’t shut them down.”
Fridley also credits Watford City’s offensive line for the win.
“Our offensive line’s blocking on our running plays was what we needed from them,” stated Fridley. “They deserve a lot of credit.”
And while Brady Lund carried the Wolves in the first half, it was Karson Knudtson who saw the bulk of the running action in the second half.
“Knudtson gave us a big lift in the second half after Lund suffered a concussion,” stated Fridley. “He did a nice job of running the football.”
While the win over Hazen was huge for Watford City, Fridley knows that he still has to finish the season strong.
“We played a tough team and coming away with the win was big for our team,” stated Fridley. “Now we must focus on Grant County. We can still get much better. Against Hazen, we gave up field position the entire game, missed tackles and had penalties, all of which hurt us.”
This Friday, the Wolves will host Grant County at 7 p.m. in Watford City’s Homecoming Game at Fridley Field.
“Grant County comes in with a winning record and will give us a good test,” stated Fridley. “We cannot have a letdown,” commented Fridley.