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East Grand Forks relies on defense for 24-8 victory over Panthers

East Grand Forks' defense created ideal field position for the offense as the Green Wave built a 24-0 lead en route to a 24-8 victory over the Park Rapids football team Friday night at Vern Weekley Field.

Park Rapids' offense was held to only six plays and six yards in the second quarter and 46 total yards in the first half. On their six possessions, the Panthers had to punt four times and threw two interceptions.

East Grand Forks had five possessions in the first half and started in Park Rapids territory three times. The Green Wave scored on two of those series to carry a 14-0 lead into the break en route to this Heart O'Lakes Conference and Section 8AAA victory.

The Panthers punted on their first two possessions and East Grand Forks took advantage of ideal field position to open the scoring.

Tanner Dahlen's 29-yard touchdown run capped a short three-play, 37-yard drive to give the Green Wave a 6-0 lead with 6:23 to play in the first quarter.

The Panthers were stopped on their next series, but regained possession at the Green Wave 39 when Billy Kimball recovered a fumbled punt. A 14-yard catch by Forrest Drury and a pass interference call drove the Panthers to the 6 before an interception on fourth down ended that threat.

The Green Wave marched 50 yards to the Park Rapids 30 in 14 plays before that drive stalled.

After forcing another Park Rapids punt, EGF marched 49 yards in 10 plays to pad its lead. Dahlen rushed four times for 29 yards before Jordan Osmundson capped the drive with a 12-yard catch. Gage Ausmus' conversion gave the Green Wave a 14-0 lead with 2:22 remaining in the first half.

EGF regained possession on an interception and marched to the Park Rapids 30 before losing possession on downs. An 11-yard run by Ausmus, an 18-yard catch by Frankie Vargas and a 12-yard reception by Brady Halverson were the key plays in that 41-yard drive, which stalled at the Park Rapids 30.

EGF controlled the first half, running 38 plays for 206 yards while holding the Panthers to 23 plays and two first downs.

After each team exchanged punts to open the second half, the Green Wave used a 13-yard run by Ausmus, a 16-yard run by Josh Moser and an 18-yard run by Ausmus to reach the Park Rapids 18. The Panthers' defense held as that drive stalled at the 18.

EGF's defense held and forced a punt from the 15. A bad snap rolled out of the end zone for a safety as the Green Wave led 16-0 with 11:57 to play.

The Green Wave took the ensuing kickoff and marched 40 yards for a 24-0 lead with 7:47 remaining. A 17-yard run by Ryan Osowski set up a 4-yard TD run by Osowski, who also ran in the conversion.

Both teams exchanged punts before Cory Gartner broke free for a 59-yard touchdown run with 3:49 to play. Zach Eystad's conversion concluded the scoring.

The Panthers managed only 128 yards in total offense and four first downs with Colin Vaadeland gaining 22 yards on 10 carries. Ian Johnson completed 3 of 15 passes for 36 yards as the Panthers fell to 0-6 in conference play and 0-7 overall.

The Green Wave compiled 386 yards in total offense and had 20 first downs with Dahlen rushing 17 times for 150 yards and Ausmus completing 6 of 15 passes for 77 yards. Vargas caught three passes for 56 yards as EGF improved to 3-2 in the conference and 4-3 overall.

"I didn't think we played that bad. Defensively we played tough, but we weren't able to move the ball on offense. We couldn't figure out a way to get our offense in rhythm and they were able to hold the ball most of the game," said Park Rapids head coach Aaron Morris. "It's frustrating being 0-7, but the kids are playing hard and they're getting better. Hopefully we can pick up a win this week."

The Panthers conclude the regular season by playing West Central Area at the Fargo Dome Thursday night at 5:30.


EGF-Dahlen 29 run (kick failed)

EGF-Osmundson 12 pass from Ausmus (Ausmus run)

EGF-Safety: Ball snapped out of end zone

EGF-Osowski 4 run (Osowski run)

PR-Gartner 59 run (Eystad run)


RUSHING. EGF: Dahlen 17-150, Ausmus 16-88, Osowski 9-48, Moser 8-47. Park Rapids: Gartner 1-56, Vaadeland 10-22, Drury 6-6, Eystad 1-3, Pike 3-2, Johnson 3-0.

PASSING. EGF: Ausmus 7-15-0 for 77 yards. Park Rapids: Johnson 3-15-2 for 36 yards.

RECEIVING. EGF: Vargas 3-56, Halverson 1-12. Park Rapids: Drury 1-14, Tretbar 1-13, Pike 1-9.