Groton runs over makeshift Tiger line
By Jay Davis
With a line depleted even more with injury, the Tigers tried to patch as many holes as possible in Groton on Friday. The results were not what Mobridge-Pollock wanted as Groton Area used a strong running game to win 28-6.
“It certainly stood out that we were younger and smaller,” said coach Nathan Lamb. “We couldn’t move them when we tried to run the ball.”
The youth and inexperience showed up quickly. The Tigers received the opening kickoff and had good field position after Cody Schaefbauer returned the kick to midfield. Mason Keller took the first carry of the game and went 13 yards, but the next three times the Tigers lined up, they were called for a false start, an illegal procedure and an offsides. The offense never recovered.
The defense played well and held Groton for two possessions; but on the Tigers’ third offensive series, Alex Greger threw an interception on third and 11.
Groton answered quickly. Kasey Kurtz, who would pound and grind for 181 yards rushing, picked up 12 yards to take the ball to the Mobridge-Pollock 32 on the first play. On the second play, Parker Rossow dropped back and heaved a ball to the end zone where Spencer Knecht went up and pulled the ball down between two Tiger defenders for the game’s opening touchdown.
Groton scored twice in the second quarter. Groton scored on consecutive possessions. The first drive was just 25 yards after recovering a Taten Rau fumble. Five plays after the recovery, Kurtz scored on a nine-yard run. The second scoring drive was a more conventional 57-yard drive. Kurtz did the honors from one yard out after he had carried the ball eight times for 44 of the first 56 yards.
Groton put its final points on the board midway through the third quarter. The 25-yard drive was set up by a long punt return by Tony Carda. Kurtz went 16 yards on the first play and then went nine yards for the score on the second play.
Not giving up without a fight, the Tigers went on a scoring march that started late in the fourth quarter. Austin Borah, who had been getting battered at the line of scrimmage all night, finally broke away from the first wave and took off on a 19-yard run that took the ball out near midfield. Then Greger dropped back and launched a ball downfield that Keller snared and took into the end zone. The touchdown put the Tigers on the board with 11 minutes left in the game.
“We did protect pretty well in the passing game,” said Lamb. “There were certainly positives for us to take from the game.”
He added that although it has been a tough three weeks, the Tigers have not given up the fight.
“The kids never stopped fighting,” said Lamb. “They worked their butts off. They fought and that means something.”
The Tigers end the regular season looking for a fourth win and a trip to the postseason. Mobridge-Pollock will make the trip south to take on a familiar foe in the Chamberlain Cubs.
Players missing with injury will still be a problem, but this game will have more players than the last.
“Daniel Roberts is still out with a knee injury,” said Lamb, “but we’re hoping to have Stephen Gemar and Brady Spiry.”
Having two senior linemen back would be a huge boost for the Tigers in their quest to qualify for the postseason.
“We win, we’re in,” said Lamb.
The Tigers have a long history of success against Chamberlain. The Tigers beat the Cubs 22-12 in the first meeting back in 1972 and then went on to win 13 straight games before Chamberlain won in 1985. The Cubs won in 1987 and then won back-to-back games in 2005 and ’06, but the Tigers have turned it around and won the last five years to make the all-time record a dominating 22-4. With last fall’s 48-7 win, the Tigers have won the last five games by a combined score of 249-32.
But, that is all the past.The future and a win on Friday is what the Tigers are looking for.
Mobridge-Pollock (3-4)0 0 0 6- 6
Groton Area (3-4)7 14 7 0- 28
GA- Spencer Knecht 30 pass from Parker Rossow (Trent Duncan kick)
GA- Kasey Kurtz 9 run (Kurtz run)
GA- Kurtz 1 run (kick failed)
GA- Kurtz 9 run (Duncan kick)
MP- Mason Keller 54 pass from Alex Greger (kick failed)
Mobridge-Pollock: Rushing 27-49 (Austin Borah 10-35); Passing (Alex Greger 4-23-1-105); Receiving (Mason Keller 1-54); 8 first downs. Defense: Cody Schaefbauer 9.5 tackles, fumble recovery, Taten Rau 8.5 tackles, Chase Schoenhard 7 tackles, Borah 4.5 tackles, Jordan Feist 4.5 tackles, Brett Lang 4 tackles.
Groton Area: Rushing 48-207 (Kasey Kurtz 36-181); Passing (Parker Rossow 5-8-51); Receiving Kurtz 4-21, Knecht 1-30); 15 first downs. Defense: Dalton Locke 7 tackles, Jackson Doeden 5 tackles, Kurtz 5 tackles.