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Defense Wins

Warren/Alvarado/Oslo was the first of a few co-ops to take the field at Moorhead high this weekend. But their first chance with the ball did not go quite like they would have hoped. Before much time had gone off the clock, Park Christian had their chance with a short-field. The 38-yard drive was capped with consecutive runs by Phil Lien, the second of which was for six & he wasn't touched.

The two-point conversion attempt failed, continuing the trend from earlier in the day. But a lead is a lead & with the bitter cold each point was magnified. The next drive was highlighted by a takedown in the backfield by Caleb Boyer to force another kick by the Ponies. The Falcons offense, in turn, couldn't replicate their first drive and also had to punt away.

W/A/O worked their way to the 18 in the second quarter but found themselves facing a fourth down & 13. As a true sign of a never-say-die attitude, Gavin Gullickson heaved the ball to Jackson Woinarowicz, who walked into the end zone. But they also were unable to complete the two-point play which left the game knotted at 6.

The Falcons countered with a 32-yard run by Max Albrecht but were stymied to a turnover-on-downs after that. A couple plays into their next chance, W/A/O was picked off by Austin Carlson to give PCS another short field. The Ponies defense bowed up to force another punt though.

With the ball at the 14, W/A/O had one snap before the ball was back with Park Christian, this time by way of a fumble. Yet again, the defense kept a touchdown from being scored but with 25 seconds left until the break, Riley Erkenbrack's kick was true & so they regained the lead.

The Ponies chose to play it safe to end the half.

After the break, the Falcons moved the ball from the 43 to the 20 on a run - aided by an unnecessary roughness call on the tackle out of bounds. As a show of sportsmanship, the two players involved had a positive exchange on the way back onto the field. Yet again the Falcons offense was stopped and the subsequent field goal attempt came up short to keep the score 9-6.

The Ponies responded with a drive that ended with them once again in a fourth-down & long situation. But that NSD attitude reared it's head again as Woinarowicz took the pass and got his team the lead, 12-9.

It remained that way after the TPC attempt failed but the three-point difference was all that W/A/O would need.

The Falcons were forced to punt on their possession and then, after forcing one by the Ponies, the catch was muffed and so they could keep running down the field.

As an equal display of will, the Falcons forced a turnover on downs at the three.

They gave themselves some breathing room with a 19-yard pass to Jack Weinberger. But then the defense forced another punt attempt, which was tipped to set up W/A/O inside the 25.

Which was just another chance for the defense to show up, which they did by forcing another TOD.

Then came the dagger

Tyson Mortimer jumped the route & wouldn't be stopped until he had doubled-up on Park Christian.

Save for a couple more turnovers on downs, the game was so decided.

Warren/Alvarado/Oslo 18, Park Christian 9

With the fourth-down magic that he managed to execute, the choice is clear.

Gavin Gullikson

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