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Clark leads Warriors past Panthers in season opener

Park Rapids' Cody Dravis (33) stripped the ball from United North Central quarterback James Clark during the first half of Friday night's season opener at Vern Weekley Field. Clark rushed for three touchdowns in the Warriors' 22-0 victory. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

James Clark rushed for three touchdowns and the United North Central defense allowed only 101 yards as the Warriors opened the season with a 22-0 win over Park Rapids at Vern Weekley Field Friday night.

UNC's defense set up the first score when Owen Anderson intercepted a Jason Haas pass and returned it 29 yards to the Park Rapids 1-yard line. Two plays later, Clark plunged in from 2 yards out. Clark found Cade Lacoe for the two-point conversion and the Warriors led 8-0 with 11:07 to play in the first half.

After having a 35-yard touchdown run by Zach Floyd called back because of a holding penalty, the Warriors extended their lead on another 2-yard TD run by Clark. Mason Dailey caught the conversion pass and UNC held a 16-0 lead with 3:30 remaining in the first half. That scoring drive took six plays and covered 53 yards and featured a 27-yard catch by Tristan Aho and a 39-yard catch by Dailey.

Park Rapids threatened before the half when Marque Cook intercepted a Clark pass at the UNC 35. But Caleb Mostrom picked off a pass from Haas as the Warriors carried a 16-0 lead into the half.

On the Warriors' first possession of the second half, Floyd followed a 16-yard run with a 15-yard gain. That drive stalled at the Park Rapids 17.

The Panthers put together their only drive of the second half on the next series as Cody Dravis rushed five times for 33 yards and had a 13-yard reception to the UNC 10. That drive stalled at the 3.

Two series later, UNC sealed the win with a six-play, 52-yard scoring drive with Clark's 33-yard TD run making it 22-0 with 4:23 to play.

The Warriors, who blanked the Panthers 6-0 in the season opener at Vern Weekley Field two years ago, finished with 260 yards in offense.

Park Rapids, which defeated the Warriors 13-6 in last year's season opener at Menahga, was led by Dravis' nine carries for 35 yards and two receptions for 29 yards.

See Wednesday's edition of the Enterprise for more details from this game.

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