FIELD TWP - The Grizzlies drew first blood in their 11-man football contest here last Friday, but International Falls dominated much of the rest of way, handing North Woods their fourth loss of …
FIELD TWP - The Grizzlies drew first blood in their 11-man football contest here last Friday, but International Falls dominated much of the rest of way, handing North Woods their fourth loss of the season, 20-6.
“The game featured two teams unable to do much on offense due to wet and muddy field conditions,” Head Coach John Jirik said. “As the game progressed the field conditions worsened.” The weather was undoubtedly a factor, with a cold wind and mixed rain and snow flurries.
Senior quarterback Chase Kleppe connected with Trevor Morrison on a 25-yard first quarter touchdown strike, which put the Grizzlies up 6-0.
The Broncos would answer with two of their own touchdowns in the second quarter, the first on a one-yard run from Simon Palm. The Broncos added six more on a Riley Larson interception, which he took 35 yards to the end zone.
Defense reigned for the most part in the second half, with the Broncos adding a late touchdown after forcing the ball over on downs in Grizzlies’ territory.
North Woods struggled offensively for much of the game, racking up a lackluster 200 yards of total offense. Kleppe completed six of 19 pass attempts, for 67 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 17 yards. Freshman TJ Chiabotti rushed for 35 yards on ten carries and completed a 13-yard pass during a QB stint late in the game. Jake Hyppa added 35 yards on six carries, while Nathan Crain rushed for 33 yards.
Hyppa led on defense with eight tackles, while Kleppe, Chiabotti, and Crain all tallied seven tackles apiece. Stefan Johansen and Brody Driscoll each had four tackles.
While Friday’s game was a preview of what the Grizzlies will face next season when they transition to Class A 11-man competition, Jirik said muddy field conditions made it a less-than-indicative debut.
“I do not think this game was a good indication of what we will do or prepare for in 11-man,” he said.” The team will now have to wait until their season opener next year to get their next taste of 11-man play.
The Grizzlies return to 9-man action this week at South Ridge. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.