Posted 11/11/09 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
All season long, one of the keys to the success of Watford City’s football team has been their ability to force opponents to fumble the ball, and then convert those miscues into touchdowns. But on Saturday, in the Class A semifinals against Velva, the Wolves found themselves committing the costly turnovers.
Velva, the No. 2-ranked team in Class A, forced five Watford City turnovers as the Aggies upended the No. 1-ranked Wolves 24-14 to advance to the State title game.
“We just made too many miscues Saturday, but played hard,” stated Fred Fridley, Wolves’ head coach. “I am really proud of the kids. They gave it their best shot.”
Watford City’s first turnover came on the Wolves’ second offensive play of the game, and Velva quickly turned that miscue into a touchdown to put the Aggies on top 7-0. A second first quarter touchdown by Velva gave the Aggies a 14-0 first quarter lead.
In the second quarter, the Wolves drove 59 yards in nine plays and scored on Trey Jacobson’s 1-yard quarterback sneak with 51 seconds left. Kalin Mogen’s extra point cut the deficit to 14-7 at the half.
With the clock winding down in the first half, Watford City’s Trey Jacobson came up with a big interception that seemed to swing the game’s momentum the Wolves’ way to end the first half.
But another Watford City turnover on the kickoff return set the stage for another Velva score. While the Wolves’ defense kept the Aggies from scoring a touchdown, Velva was good on their field goal attempt to up their lead to 17-7.
On their ensuing possession, Watford City cut the Velva lead to just 17-14 as the Wolves marched 68 yards with Jacobson connecting with Tyler Flatland on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 3:37 left in the third quarter to cut Velva’s lead to 17-14.
Velva then responded to Watford City’s challenge in the fourth quarter as the Aggies scored again on an 11-play offensive drive that covered 37 yards and ate up more than five minutes.
Later in the fourth quarter, after a Brady Lund fumble recovery, Watford City got as close as the Velva two-yard line, but a holding penalty hindered the Wolves’ chance of scoring.
The Wolves finished the day with 190 total yards rushing for 82 yards on 37 attempts, and went 8 for 24 passing for 108 yards.
“We had a great year,” stated Fridley. “Winning 10 games, winning our Region for the second straight year and reaching the state semifinals were big accomplishments. We had only three returning starters on offense, and for a young football team it was not what we wanted, but the senior leadership got us this far.”
Rushing: Brady Lund, 21-54 yards; Trey Jacobson, 12-33 yards; Nick Liebel, 1-4 yards.
Passing: Jacobson, 8-20-2-103 yards.
Receiving: Liebel, 3-48 yards; Tyler Flatland, 3-36 yards; Adam Brenna, 1-10 yards; Lund, 1-7 yards.
Interceptions: Jacobson, Liebel.