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October 18, 2019

9/19/2019 3:11:00 PM
Vikings come up short in trip up to Hermantown

North Branch had ideas of starting a winning streak in their heads when they traveled up to Hermantown on Friday, September 13.

But the Hawks spoiled those thoughts, scoring 21 unanswered points after North Branch had taken an early lead and sending the Vikings home with a 1-2 record.

The North Branch defense came to play early against Hermantown, forcing a punt on the first drive, giving the Vikings the ball near midfield. The offense couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity, but a nice punt kept the Hawks pinned in their own zone.

The first quarter mostly played out in Hermantown’s half of the field, but the Vikings were having trouble running against the talented Hermantown defense.

Eventually, the Vikings tried their luck through the air, and the decision paid off. Quarterback Koby Chouinard connected with Gavyn Jensen-Schneider on a long gain early in the second quarter, setting the Vikings up in the red zone with a prime opportunity.

A few plays later, it was the same connection -- Chouinard to Jensen-Schneider -- that hooked up again, this time for an 18-yard touchdown to give North Branch the 6-0 lead. Their two point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score at that tally.

It didn’t take too long for the Hawks to answer. On their next drive, they moved swiftly down the field before punching in a six yard rushing score from Luke Lind, tying the game at 6-6. Hermantown knocked through their extra point, giving them a 7-6 lead.

On the ensuing North Branch drive, the Vikings tried to go back to the air where they had found so much success, but Hermantown was prepared and picked Chouinard off. That led the Hawks on a long drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock and ended with a Peter Soumis rushing touchdown and took the game into halftime. Hermantown’s PAT attempt was good and the Hawks led 14-6.

Unfortunately, it was a double dip situation too, as Hermantown received the second half kickoff already with the lead, and they made  good on their first possession. They went the length of the field, scoring on another Soumis touchdown run, putting H’Town up 21-6 after the PAT was good.
Reeling, the Vikings’ offense answered back with a long drive of their own. They went back to their punishing running style, and the move paid off. They took nearly a half of a quarter to move down the field, but were rewarded when Chouinard plunged in from a yard out to trim the lead to 21-12 with 11 minutes left in the game. The Vikings went for two again in what was a huge play, but they fell short for the second time. That meant the game remained a two-score contest with a nine point difference.

For the rest of the fourth quarter, the teams mostly traded empty possessions, with Hermantown making good on one late drive with a rushing touchdown from Robbie Thorsten to extend the lead to 28-12.

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