October 9, 2003 at 11:40 a.m.
“This was a game we had to be ready for from the start,” Head coach Joel Swanson commented. “In the previous two outing's we got off to sluggish starts in the first quarter. In this game we came out and took the ball right down and scored.”
Indeed they did! On the second play of the game quarterback Matt Fletcher hit Jake Anderson on a 61 yard touchdown. Britt Baumann’s PAT gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead, 45 seconds into the game.
Foley tried to answer but their opening drive stalled on the Viking 45 yard line when the Foley quarterback was sacked by Ben Stenberg. Foley was able to pin the Vikings at their 10 yard line. North Branch was able to get a couple of first downs and after a punt Foley took over on their own 40 yard line.
A three and out forced Foley to punt again pinning the Vikings in the shadow of their goal line at the 12. North Branch was able to run 11 plays and get out to their 42 yard line only to have Foley get a good punt return back to the Vikings’ 42 yard line.
The Falcons then had a seven play drive finishing with a nine yard run by their outstanding running back Todd Novak. The PAT was wide and North Branch was clinging to a 7-6 lead.
The Vikings went three and out on their next possession and a punt gave Foley the ball on their own 20 yard line. On fourth and 12 Foley pulled the unexpected as they were successful on a fake punt to give them a first down. The fake gave the Falcons momentum and they marched to the North Branch 11 yard line when the Viking defense came up with a big stop.
“We were lucky to get out of the half with the lead,” Swanson continued. “We were caught out of position on the fake punt but give our kids credit we held them when it counted.”
The second half started out strangely as both teams fumbled on their first possessions. Foley fumbled on their second play at the 23 yard line and then the Vikings returned the favor with a fumble on the 15.
Foley then took the ball and marched out to the 50 yard line where they turned the ball over on downs. The Vikings were unable to do anything with it and punted back to the Falcons.
Foley again marched out but a fumble caused by Cory Haley and recovered by Gavin Hall gave the Vikings the ball at the Foley 45 yard line as the third quarter came to an end. North Branch marched the ball down to the Falcon six when they turned the ball over on downs.
Foley had one last gasp and took the ball out to the Viking 45 yard line when it boiled down to a fourth and one for Foley. Novak had been successful in two previous fourth down attempts by jumping over the pile but this time the Vikings grabbed Novak in mid-air and when he landed he was half a yard short.
“That was a great play by our defense,” Swanson said. “Our line of Herb Theilbar, Gavin Hall and Matt Davidson did a super job getting penetration and then Marc Vanden Heuvel jumped the pile and took Novak right out of the air with our linebackers finishing him off.”
The Vikings then would need a first down or two to run out the clock. The offensive line of Zach Backus, Bill Oehlers, Joe Ranger, Elijah Quist and Bryan Peters as well as fullback Ben Stenberg drove the Foley defense back and let Vanden Heuvel carry the ball for the next six plays producing two first downs and more importantly run out the clock.
“We had a great week of practice,” Swanson continued. “Our JV and scout squad did an excellent job of helping to prepare for a good Foley team.”
“Offensively we weren’t consistent after the first drive. Defensively it was a good team effort. We were able to control Foley from making any big plays and we came up with the big stop at the end of the first half. We also had big plays out of Stenberg with two sacks and Joe Lofboom sniffing out a reverse for a key loss.”
Stenberg led the Viking defense with 15 tackles, Vanden Heuvel had 12, while Lofboom and Jake Kosky had 10 tackles apiece. Vanden Heuvel had a busy night offensively with 97 yards in 24 carries. Anderson had 69 yards receiving and Ed Meier one catch for 23 yards. Fletcher completed three of seven passes for 82 yards.
North Branch 7
1 2 3 4 F
Foley 0 6 0 0 6
North Branch 7 0 0 0 7
NB- Anderson 61 yrd. TD rec
(Kick good) 7-0
F- Foley 1 yrd. TD run
(Foley kick failed) 7-6
North Branch statistics:
Fletcher- 3-7, 82 yrds., TD
24 rush, 97 yrds.
Hutchings- 5 rush, 12 yrds.
Stenberg- 2 rush, 1 yrd.
Fletcher- 3 rush, -8 yrds.
Anderson- 2 rec., 69 yrds., TD
Meier- 1 rec., 23 yrds.
Hutchings- 1 rec., 13 yrds.