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October 19, 2019

9/12/2019 2:57:00 PM
Vikings break the Rails, beating Proctor 29-9 for first win
Above left, Josh Hindt had a great game as the feature back for North Branch.
Above left, Josh Hindt had a great game as the feature back for North Branch.

After a disappointing loss to Mora to open the season, the North Branch football team bounced back for a commanding 29-9 win over Proctor in their home opener to even their record at 1-1.

The game was played on a perfect fall night, on the heels of the grand opening of North Branch’s athletic performance center on Friday, Setpember 6, and the Vikings were up to the task.

The Rails actually played well in the first quarter. They kept the ball in North Branch’s territory for much of the quarter, and even threatened to open the scoring, getting the ball down to NB’s 13 yard line before stalling out on downs.

The quarter ended up scoreless, and NB started to take over in the second stanza. They put together a nice drive, highlighted by a great throw and catch for 21 yards. Koby Chouinard delivered the floater that junior Gavyn Jensen-Schneider came back for and wrestled away from a Proctor defender.

The drive was capped off by a rushing touchdown by Josh Hindt, who scored his first of the year.

Proctor answered back with a short field goal, but it seemed ineveitable that the Vikings would score more points and field goals weren’t going to cut it for the Rails.

The Vikings put another drive together to move into Proctor territory, but the Rails stood tall and kept them out of the end zone one more time at the end of the first half, leaving the game at 6-3 for halftime, with a sense that NB was due for a big half.

That big half started early when the defense stopped Proctor in its tracks on the opening drive. The offense responded by putting together a nice drive of their own. They used Hindt, Chouinard, Austin Sonnek and Derek Witte to move down the field with their potent rushing attack before going to the air for an unconventional score.

From the seven yard line, Chouinard dropped back to pass and looked right for Hindt, who had cut his route off right at the goalline. Chouinard fired the ball to Hindt, but it was a bit high and deflected of his hands. In a great stroke of fortune, Jensen-Schneider was running the same route, just deeper in the end zone, and he saw the tip and laid out, making a diving grab in the end zone for a touchdown.

Sonnek punched in the two  point conversion for a 14-3 North Branch lead.

After that, the defense started to come up huge. They grabbed two second half interceptions as Proctor was trying to throw their way back into the game, as well as a fumble recovery.

That led to more scores for the Vikings, as they added another Chouinard passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown on the ensuing possesion to extend their lead to 29-3. The scoring was punctuated by girls soccer player Emma Mohs kicking her first career extra point for North Branch.

With just over a minute to go, Proctor got a garbage time touchdown, but the outcome was long decided at that point.

Chouinard ended up with a perfect completion percentage while passing for two touchdowns on the night, and Hindt had 22 carries for 109 yards and a score.

The Vikings will now travel to Hermantown to take on the defending section champion Hawks, who are 1-1 on the year.

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