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Grizzlies notch first win in 11-man competition

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 9/29/19

BARNUM— The Grizzlies put their first “W” in the record books as an 11-man squad this past Friday, as they beat the Bombers here, 30-12. It was an all-hands-on-deck performance as five North …

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Grizzlies notch first win in 11-man competition

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BARNUM— The Grizzlies put their first “W” in the record books as an 11-man squad on Sept. 20, as they beat the Bombers here, 30-12. It was an all-hands-on-deck performance as five North Woods players had a hand in the Grizzlies’ four touchdowns. Junior quarterback Zach Cheney connected with freshman Jared Chiabotti in the first quarter to put North Woods up 8-0.

The Bombers answered with six points early in the second quarter, but a failed conversion left the Grizzlies clinging to a two-point margin. Sophomore T.J. Chiabotti, who rushed for 127 yards on 17 carries on the night, put the Grizzlies up by eight minutes later as he scampered 15 yards into the end zone to complete a North Woods scoring drive.

On the Bombers next drive, senior Nathan Crain picked off Barnum quarterback Blaze Hurst and ran 49 yards to put North Woods up by 14, and the conversion left the Grizzlies up 22-6. “Nathan’s interception gave us big spark before halftime and we were never in any danger of losing the game after the big play,” said Grizzlies Head Coach John Jirik.

Senior Clay Janssen added six more for the Grizzlies on a five-yard run in the third quarter. The conversion left North Woods up 30-6.

The Bombers went on to add six more in the game’s final stanza, but by then it was too late to matter.

North Woods showed real offensive spark, as they racked up 339 yards, including 281 rushing yards. While Chiabotti led the way in rushing with his 127 yards, Janssen had a good night as well, racking up 83 yards on 11 carries. Sophomore Ty Fabish rushed for 32 on three carries, while junior Austin Sokoloski added 28 yards on three carries.

Crain led on defense, with six tackles and nine assists, while senior Levi Byram tallied five tackles and four assists.

“It was nice to win our first game,” said Jirik. “Our team needed to realize that we can have success in 11-man. Although we still showed our inexperience at times, we were able to overcome mistakes by playing solid defense and establishing a dominant running game.”

Jirik said his team will need to play error-free football this Friday when they host Braham. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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