Groton Area rallies to beat Tigers 35-16
By Jay Davis
Groton Area scored 28 points in the final 14 minutes to come from behind and beat the Tigers 35-16 in the annual homecoming game at Tiger Stadium on Friday.
“We have to finish better,” said coach Nathan Lamb, “But a lot of the stuff we worked on, we did better. We were more physical and we prepared well. We just got tired and lost our focus.”
With the Tigers leading 16-7 late in the third quarter, Groton took advantage of a Mobridge-Pollock turnover and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a Jackson Doeden 10-yard run with 2:17 left in the third quarter. On the second play of the ensuing drive the Tigers fumbled and Groton’s Jeric Albrecht scooped up the ball and rumbled 12 yards for another touchdown just 55 seconds later. In less than a minute, a Mobridge-Pollock 16-7 lead had turned into a 22-16 deficit.
With the Tigers worn down, the deeper Groton Area team pounded out scoring drives on their next two possessions. Kasey Kurtz did the scoring honors on both drives as the visitors put 13 more points on the board to round out a 19-point win.
Despite a second straight loss, Lamb was happy with the improvements his Tigers showed.
“We came a long way since the Linton game,” said Lamb. “We just have to keep making improvements. The guys are coming together. The offensive line is learning and making adjustments. Everybody took a big step forward.”
The teams were battling back and forth early when the Tigers nearly had a big play to get the momentum going. Groton was punting when Chase Schoenhard burst through and blocked the kick. Unfortunately the ball bounced right back to Groton kicker Reilly Ell, who grabbed it and ran 14 yards for a first down.
“That can only happen to the home team on Friday the 13th,” said Lamb.
The Tigers held again this time Ell hit a punt that was downed at the Mobridge one-yard line. Austin Borah got the Tigers out of a huge hole by busting off a 59-yard run on the first play. Only a saving tackle kept Borah from covering the entire 99 yards in one carry.
Two plays later, Mason Keller dropped back and found Jason Hill open deep down the left sideline. Hill corralled the ball and scored the game’s first touchdown with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
Groton Area tied the score at 7-7 on a 19-yard pass from Parker Rossow to Albrecht with four minutes left in the second quarter.
Schoenhard gave the Tigers a 10-7 halftime lead when he booted a 23-yard field goal as the first-half clock expired.
The Tigers opened the second half with a 10-play, 57-yard drive. After the Tigers worked the ball down to the 15-yard line. Keller found Hill open in the right corner of the end zone and threw a strike that Hill caught backing away from the defenders.
Borah finished the game with 103 yards rushing, his second straight game with more than 100 yards. Hill caught four balls for 80 yards. Keller threw for 106 yards and ran for 33 more.
Kurtz led Groton Area with 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
The opponents do not get any easier for the 0-2 Tigers. On Friday they host 3-0 Aberdeen Roncalli. The Cavaliers are the number one ranked team in Class 11B. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.
Roncalli is on a nine-game winning streak against the Tigers including a 36-0 win during the regular season and a 64-19 win in the playoffs last year. Roncalli is 17-4 all-time against the Tigers. The last Tiger win in the series was a 15-6 game in 1998.
Groton Area (1-2) 0 7 15 13- 35
Mobridge-Pollock (0-2) 7 3 6 0- 16
MP- Jason Hill 38 pass from Mason Keller (Chase Schoenhard kick)
GA- Jeric Albrecht 19 pass from Parker Rossow (Ehku Poe kick)
MP- Schoenhard 23 field goal
MP- Hill 15 pass from Keller (kick failed)
GA- Jackson Doeden 10 run (Poe kick)
GA- Albrecht 12 fumble return (Alec Olseon pass from Rossow)
GA- Kasey Kurtz 2 run (conversion failed)
GA- Kurtz 8 run (Poe kick)
Groton Area: Rushing 42-165 (Kurtz 24-100, Jackson 8-50); Passing (Rossow 6-14-0-57); Receiving (Kurtz 2-26, Albrecht 1-19); 13 first downs; 1 turnover. Defense: Kurtz 6 tackles, interception, Logan Lane 6 tackles, Wyatt Larson 5 tackles).
Mobridge-Pollock: Rushing 26-132 (Austin Borah 11-103, Keller 11-33, Conner Stoick 2-0, Jordan Feist 2-(-4); Passing (Keller 8-22-3-106); Receiving (Hill 4-80, Feist 3-24, Ethan Kettering 1-2); 13 first downs; 4 turnovers. Defense: Feist 7 tackles, Brett Lang 6 tackles, David Jensen 5 tackles, Noah Chase 5 tackles, Schoenhard 5 tackles).