Nevis head coach Shawn Klimek knew Goodridge/Grygla's offense would consist of handing the ball to running backs Jaden Kiesow and Peyton Verbout.
Knowing what the Chargers would do didn't matter as Kiesow and Verbout combined to rush for 475 yards and five touchdowns in a 40-28 District 9 West (North) victory at Nevis Thursday night.
Those two backs have been the focus of the Chargers' offense all season. Of Goodridge/Grygla's 323 offensive plays entering this game, only 29 were passes. The Chargers completed 13 of those attempts while throwing three interceptions. G/G hasn't needed to throw the ball as Kiesow (136 carries for 801 yards and 10 TDs) and Verbout (98 carries for 480 yards and four TDs) have led the way as the Chargers averaged 296 yards rushing a game in the first six games.
Kiesow and Verbout carried the offensive load again Thursday night as the Chargers improved to 5-2 on the season while dropping Nevis' record to 2-5.
The Tigers relied on their running attack to open the scoring. Nevis took the opening kickoff and used a 23-yard run and 9-yard carry by Luke DeWulf to set up a 7-yard TD run by DeWulf, who also ran in the conversion. That eight-play, 47-yard drive gave the Tigers an 8-0 lead with 9:53 to play in the first quarter.
G-G responded with a seven-play, 54-yard drive to tie the game. Kiesow rushed twice for 15 yards and Verbout followed with three carries for 13 yards for a pair of first downs. A 22-yard run by Kiesow set up a 2-yard TD run by Verbout. Kiesow ran in the conversion to tie the game at the 7:32 mark.
Nevis threatened on its next series as a 33-yard reception by Ben Soldwisch and 16-yard catch by Dan Mistic led to a first down at the G-G 19. That 11-play drive stalled at the 15.
On the Chargers next offensive play, Nevis recovered a fumble at the G-G 14. The Tigers couldn't capitalize on that turnover as the Chargers took over at their own 16.
G-G was forced to punt and the Tigers put together a 10-play, 47-yard drive to retake the lead. A 12-yard run by DeWulf and a 4-yard gain by Keanu Yabandith on fourth-and-4 at the G-G 29 set up a 26-yard TD pass from Derek Lindow to Mistic. That TD on fourth-and-11 gave Nevis a 14-8 lead with 10:07 remaining in the first half.
Verbout and Kiesow sparked a 12-play, 64-yard scoring drive that gave the Chargers the lead for good. Verbout started the drive with six carries for 24 yards before Kiesow broke free for a 21-yard gain to the Nevis 15. Four plays later, Kiesow scored from 5 yards out and Verbout ran in the conversion as G-G led 16-14 with 5:49 left before the intermission.
Both teams traded turnovers as an interception by G-G's Kaleb Sjulestad was offset by a fumble recovery by the Tigers.
The Chargers threatened to end the half with another score as four carries for 25 yards by Kiesow led G-G to the Nevis 24. DeWulf ended that drive with an interception on fourth down.
Kiesow (who rushed 12 times for 99 yards in the first half) and Verbout (who gained 62 yards on 16 carries) continued to lead the Chargers' offense in the second half.
Verbout carried the ball for 43 yards on the first 11 plays to open the second half as the Chargers marched to the Nevis 2. Verbout gained 2 yards on fourth-and-1 at the Nevis 24 while Kiesow gained 4 yards on fourth-and-2 at the Nevis 14 to keep that drive going. Kiesow followed an 8-yard gain with a 2-yard TD run and conversion to cap off the 14-play drive as G-G led 24-14 with 7:12 left in the third quarter.
Lindow completed passes to DeWulf for 13 yards, Funk for 7 yards and Soldwisch for 5 yards as the Tigers drove to the G-G 27, but the Chargers' defense held.
After a 36-yard run by Kiesow led G-G to the Nevis 37, but a fumble ended that drive as the Tigers regained possession at their own 30.
Nevis put together a 12-play drive as Lindow connected with DeWulf on routes of 18 and 9 yards and found Soldwisch for gains of 14 and 7 yards. That drive stalled as the G-G 15.
Nevis' defense forced another turnover at the Tigers' 35. This time Nevis took advantage of the turnover as a pair of 25-yard receptions by Funk and DeWulf, a 10-yard catch by Soldwisch and a personal-foul penalty for roughing the passer set up a 3-yard TD pass from Lindow to DeWulf. That quick four-play, 65-yard drive cut the gap to 24-20 with 7:08 to play.
G-G quickly reclaimed the momentum when Kielow broke free for a 52-yard TD run on the next play. Verbout's conversion gave the Chargers a 32-20 advantage at the 6:54 mark.
An interception by Sjulestad on Nevis' next play from scrimmage gave the Chargers possession at their own 41. Verbout followed a 16-yard run with five carries for 38 yards as G-G marched to the Nevis 11. The Chargers ended that nine-play, 59-yard drive on Kiesow's 6-yard TD run on fourth down. Hudson McMillin ran in the conversion to give the Chargers a 40-20 lead with 1:50 to go.
DeWulf ended the scoring by returning the ensuing kickoff 75 yards. Lindow hit Soldwisch on the conversion with 1:39 left.
Verbout's 27-yard run helped G-G run out the clock.
Kiesow finished with a season-high 282 yards on 24 carries while Verbout added a season-high 193 yards on 36 attempts for the Chargers.
In other district games Thursday night, Kittson County Central defeated Win-E-Mac 21-12 and Clearbrook-Gonvick defeated Warren-Alvarado-Oslo 40-16. Stephen-Argyle received a forfeit win over Laporte and Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal defeated Northern Freeze 49-6 on Friday.
NCE/UH and Stephen-Argyle are tied atop the district standings at 7-0 while Goodridge/Grygla improved to 5-2. Kittson County Central and Win-E-Mac are 4-3, Clearbrook-Gonvick and Northern Freeze are 3-4, Nevis is 2-5, and Laporte and Warren-Alvarado-Oslo are 0-7.
Brandon-Evansville defeated Park Christian 50-0 and Underwood defeated Rothsay 42-6 in the other Section 6 9-man games. NCE/UH leads the Section 6 9-man standings with Win-E-Mac, Rothsay (2-5), Nevis, Park Christian (1-6) and Laporte following.
Nevis concluded the regular season with a game at Stephen-Argyle on Oct. 16.
Goodridge/Grygla 8 8 8 16...40
Nevis 8 6 0 14...28
N--DeWulf 7 run (DeWulf run)
GG--Verbout 2 run (Kiesow run)
N--Mistic 26 pass from Lindow (run failed)
GG--Kiesow 5 run (Verbout run)
GG--Kiesow 2 run (Kiesow run)
N--DeWulf 3 pass from Lindow (run failed)
GG--Kiesow 52 run (Verbout run)
GG--Kiesow 6 run (McMillin run)
N--DeWulf 75 kickoff return (Soldwisch pass from Lindow)