From border to border there were games on 9 man and A fields across North Dakota. In Fargo, there was only one show on Friday night. With the Grafton Spoilers coming down to take on the Grovers at Shanley. Yep, you read that right, they played at Shanley while Oak Grove still feels the effects of the river's level this Spring. It wasn't the most clean game that either team will play this year but each showed what it's capable of, through some adversity no less.
Both team's spent the first quarter just trying to establish the run while using passing only when absolutely forced to try to complete passes. Neither team were able to break a long one or even string together a couple handfuls of shorter runs through the first 17 minutes of the game but as happens, all it took was one play for that to change.
The first big play of the game came via the air as Landon Woinarowicz hit Justin Garza in the endzone - pictured.
On a looong fourth down play the Spoilers didn't have much other choice but it was just the start of the momentum swinging over the 30 minutes that remain. Three of the next four possessions ended with the ball in the hands of an opposing player, including both of Oak Grove's next two chances to pull even. None of the returns lead to points and the turnovers were quickly stymied by the defense's so the half finished with Grafton ahead.
The second half started in similar fashion, with each offense having trouble either being explosive or sustaining drives but that again would not last. From nearly 50 yards out, Ryan Donabauer broke through the line and would not be stopped. Which cut the deficit to less than a field goal but the Grovers weren't able to make it an all 8's game.
The momentum continued to swing in their favor as they recovered the ensuing kickoff. Nothing was to come of that or any of the other play through the third though. So it came down to the final frame.
Grafton's Damon Reyes took the ball and didn't let go til six more were on the board.
Oak Grove had a couple more chance's to at least put the pressure back on the Spoilers but each of the long pass plays that were tried failed. Through several injuries, they lived up to their name on opening night for Oak Grove.
Oak Grove 6
Player of the Game
There are a couple especially deserving candidates for Grafton but in the end, for his play on offense & defense, there's one that stood out.