Warriors win league title with victory over Pillager
Tom Gruchow rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns as the United North Central football team locked up at least a share of the Prairie North Conference title with a 40-12 victory over Pillager last Wednesday night at Menahga.
After a scoreless first quarter, Gruchow scored on a pair of 4-yard TD runs at the Warriors carried a 12-6 lead into the half.
The Warriors sealed the win by scoring three times in the third quarter. Ben Skoog recovered a fumble in the end zone after an 18-yard run by quarterback Kasey Tyge, who capped off the next drive with a 4-yard TD run. Tyge then hit Alex Brockpahler on a 32-yard scoring route to give UNC a 33-6 lead.
Gruchow's 15-yard TD run pushed the lead to 40-6 in the fourth quarter.
UNC finished with 375 yards in offense in improving to 4-0 against Prairie North Conference teams and 5-2 on the season. Tyge added 22 yards on four carries and completed 7 of 12 passes for 101 yards. Brockpahler caught five passes for 63 yards.
Defensively, Bryson Vasey had seven tackles while Brockpahler and Chris Suhl were in on five tackles each.
Sean Nokken rushed 17 times for 150 yards for the Huskies, who fell to 1-2 in the conference and 1-6 overall.
"We started out a bit slow with a couple of turnovers and penalties, but regrouped and got back on track," said UNC head coach Jeremy Nordick, whose team is ahead of Ottertail Central's 4-3 record in the conference. "I credit the offensive line with popping some nice holes for Tom to run through."
The Warriors concluded the regular season at Upsala-Swanville Area Tuesday night. UNC has also locked up a home playoff game. Entering the regular-season finale, the Warriors are in the No. 4 spot in Section 8AA with 400 points, trailing Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (650), Hawley (525) and Frazee (425). Trailing the Warriors are Warroad (225), Pelican Rapids (200), Bagley (75) and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (75).
"The win creates at least a share of the conference title. Our goal is to win it outright," said Nordick. "It feels great to be the conference champions, but I think our kids know that we still have goals to achieve."