10/13/2017 1:44:00 PM North Branch football team scores 44 straight points to smother Denfeld
Aaron Robillard cruises to the end zone.
BY CHUCK FITZER
The Vikings got down 12-0 early at home against the Duluth Denfeld Hunters. But, like true Vikings, they rose to the occasion and battled back. They scored 44 straight points on their way to a 52-20 win over Denfeld Friday, October 6 at North Branch High School. The Viking machine piled up 512 yards of total offense. Quarterback Aaron Robillard once again led the way. He rushed 17 times for 244 yards and four touchdowns. He was also 10 for 20 passing for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Down 12-0 late in the first quarter, the Vikings had the ball second and nine on their own 18 yard line. Robillard took the snap and thrilled the fans with a spectacular 82 yard run for a touchdown. Robillard also ran for the two-point conversion and the Vikings trailed 12-8.
Midway through the second quarter, the Vikings forced a punt and got the ball on the Denfeld 46. Robillard led off with a 25 yard run. Tyler Adams ran for 9 yards and then scored on a 12 yard run on the next play. After Robillard again ran for the two-point conversion, the Vikings led 16-12 with 6:38 left in the quarter. Robillard scored on a 44 yard run with 2:37 left in the second quarter and, yes, again ran for the two point conversion. The teams exchanged interceptions at the end of the half, with Zach Pilz picking one off for the Vikings to end the half. The Vikings led 24-12.
After the Viking defense held Denfeld to one first down on the opening drive of the second half, the Vikings took over on their own 28 after a punt. They went on a 10 play drive, capped off by a two yard Robillard touchdown. The conversion pass was no good and the Vikings led 30-12.
Things got chippy on the next Viking drive. The Vikings moved the ball from their own 29 to the Denfeld 19 in just four plays. But the Vikings were assessed two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, moving the ball all the way back to the Denfeld 49 and making it second and 32. That was no problem for the prolific Viking offense. Running back Thomas Wurdemann nearly ran for a touchdown. But after 47 yards, he was hauled down by a horsecollar tackle at the two. The penalty moved the ball to the one. Robillard took the ball into the end zone on the next play for his fourth touchdown of the game and, after the two-pointer failed, the Vikings led 36-12 with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.
Denfeld was moving the ball on their next drive, but Zack Pilz intercepted his second pass of the game and the Vikings took over at the Denfeld 23. The Vikings moved quickly down the field, helped along by a 17 yard run by Adams, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Hunters and a 19 yard completion to Nick Hunziker.
The Vikings capped off the drive with a 32 yard touchdown pass from Robillard to Darien Fair. After Adams ran for two, the Vikings led 44-12 with 7:42 left in the fourth quarter. Denfeld scored with less than two minutes left in the game. Drew Wilmet fielded the ensuing kickoff at the Viking 15 yard line and ran 70 yards before being stopped at the Denfeld 15. Three plays later, Eric Nadeau scored on a 14 yard run. For good measure, he also ran for two to make the final score 52-20.
As has been the case all season, there was plenty of credit to go around after this win.
Vikings’ head coach Sam Ferarro said “Aaron puts a lot of trust in his linemen. Our whole offense is a read offense and Aaron is making really good reads right now. It helps a lot that he knows the line will be where it’s supposed to be. Aaron will be the first to tell you that the line is a big reason for his success this year.” Viking running back Thomas Wurdemann ran six times for 96 yards and Tyler Adams carried the ball eight times for 56 yards. Ferraro said “like a lot of guys, Tyler and Thomas have really stepped it up this year. They are running the ball well – Tyler has had a couple of 100 yard games – and they are playing both ways.” Evan Amunrud, coming back from an injured ankle, has only been playing defense. But Ferraro expects him to re-join the backfield soon, adding some depth.
Ferraro continued, “All of our receivers are an active part of our game. They are doing a great job blocking, led by seniors Jake Pilz and Darien Fair. And we can throw to any of our receivers from the spread. Defensively, senior Lucas Jensen-Schneider is a true leader. Senior Colton Bauer played well at defensive end. Our two guys in the middle of the defensive line, Brandon Swanson and Johnny Snaza, are doing a great job. Our defense is young, but they are gaining experience and getting better every week. I am glad no one asks me to pick a player of the week, because I wouldn’t know who to pick. It has been a lot of fun this year. We are doing this with the same plays and mostly the same guys as last year. It just took a year of maturity and now they are doing all the right things.”
Football Notes The Vikings (5-1) will head up to Grand Rapids (2-4) tomorrow night to take on the Thunderhawks at 7 p.m. “We have been in tight games with them the past two years. Two years ago, we won when we probably shouldn’t have and last year we probably should have won, but lost 14-0. Grand Rapids is a good team, but I expect our offense to continue to score points and I expect our defense to continue to improve.”