FIELD TWP—The Grizzlies took advantage of their opportunities here last Friday as they racked up their second and biggest win of the season, against East Central. For North Woods, it was an …
FIELD TWP—The Grizzlies took advantage of their opportunities here last Friday as they racked up their second and biggest win of the season, against East Central. For North Woods, it was an outstanding showing in what was likely the Grizzlies final home game of the season.
After heavy rain, followed by snow, field conditions were rough. “It was a mud fest,” said Grizzlies Head Coach John Jirik. But the conditions appeared to work to the advantage of the Grizzlies, who scooped up four East Central fumbles and three interceptions enroute to a 40-0 win.
“The key to the game was the turnover differential,” said Jirik. “Our players did a fantastic job of eliminating turnovers and taking advantage of East Central’s turnovers.”
Senior Nathan Crain put North Woods on the board in the first quarter after he picked up a loose East Central ball and ran it in for six. Crain took it in again minutes later, this time on a handoff up the middle. Sophomore T.J. Chiabotti, who rushed for 151 yards on the day, followed up with two more touchdowns ahead of the break, to leave the Grizzlies up 24-0.
Chiabotti added another six in the third quarter, and the two-point conversion put the Grizzlies up 32-0.
Sophomore Jake Panichi put the icing on the cake with a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
For the second game in a row, the Grizzlies demonstrated their rushing prowess, as they racked up 326 yards of total offense, 304 of it on the ground. In addition to Chiabotti, junior running back Austin Sokoloski racked up 69 yards on seven carries. Crain added 52 yards on seven carries, including a touchdown. Junior quarterback Zac Cheney completed two of seven passes for 22 yards.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies held East Central to less than 100 yards of total offense. Panichi had a good day defensively with four tackles, including a sack, along with a fumble recovery. Freshman Anevay Goodsky-Spears notched three tackles, including a sack, while freshman Jared Chiabotti notched two interceptions and Crain recovered two East Central fumbles.
The Grizzles were set to wrap up their regular season on Wednesday evening at Chisholm, after the Timberjay’s press time. They’re expected to begin the playoffs, their first in 11-man competition, next Tuesday, most likely on the road. While the team has made considerable progress, Jirik said his team will be focusing on some fundamentals in preparation for post-season. “We still need to improve in the penalty department,” he said. “We have had too many penalties at crucial times. This week, the team will be focusing on the types of penalties that are hurting the team and how to lessen them. We will also work on improving our passing game, if the weather cooperates.”