Wang carries D-G-F past Panthers

The senior running back rushed for three touchdowns in the first half in leading the Rebels to a 40-6 victory.

D-G-F's Donovan Verdi (28) eluded a tackle by Park Rapids' Sam Reish during a Section 8AAA game at Glyndon on Friday, Oct. 23. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Servie

Justin Wang once again showcased why he is one of the top running backs in the area against Park Rapids on Friday, Oct. 23.

The Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton senior opened the season by rushing 25 times for 185 yards and three touchdowns in a 26-20 win over Pequot Lakes and followed with 36 carries for 182 yards and two TDs in a 13-8 victory over Perham as the Rebels won their first two football games against Section 8AAA opponents.

Park Rapids’ defense also had problems containing the D-G-F back as Wang led the Rebels to a 40-6 victory at Glyndon on Friday, Oct. 23.

Wang rushed 13 times for 106 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Rebels carried a 34-0 lead into the intermission. Wang received plenty of help in the backfield as McKale Pierson (eight carries for 80 yards) and Donovan Verdi (six carries for 56 yards) combined to rush for 136 yards and another score. The Rebels finished with 296 yards on the ground.

“DGF was the most physical team we've seen this year so far,” said Park Rapids head coach Jeremy Nordick. “I would say right now they are the favorite to win our section. They've got some great senior leadership mixed with size, speed and experience.”


Wang opened the scoring on the game’s opening series with a 5-yard TD run. Verdi hit Payton Duran on the conversion as D-G-F led 8-0 with 5:08 to play in the first quarter. The Rebels marched 81 yards in 12 plays with Verdi rushing for gains of 10 and 15 yards and Wang gaining 14 yards. A facemask penalty also aided that opening TD drive.

D-G-F forced a punt and took over at the Park Rapids 30. Pierson followed a 26-yard run with a 5-yard TD run as the Rebels led 14-0 at the 2:44 mark.

On the Rebels’ fourth possession of the opening half, Jordan Summers’ 25-yard punt return, a 15-yard run by Pierson and a 10-yard run by Pierson on fourth-and-2 set up a 12-yard TD pass from Owen Leach to Nic Sapa. D-G-F led 20-0 with 7:31 to play in the first half.

A 30-yard pass from Noah Morris to Nick Michaelson produced the Panthers’ initial first down of the game, but Morris was sacked on fourth-and-17 as that drive stalled at the D-G-F 32.

Wang followed a 15-yard run by Verdi with a 55-yard scoring scamper as D-G-F led 28-0 with 3:40 to play before the break. That quick 68-yard drive took only three plays.

After forcing another Park Rapids punt, the Rebels drove 30 yards in seven plays with Pierson’s 12-yard reception on fourth-and-2 and a facemask penalty setting up a 5-yard TD run and conversion by Wang. D-G-F carried a 34-0 lead into the half.

Park Rapids, which netted -1 yards on its first three possessions, was held to 36 yards in offense in the first half. On their five possessions, the Panthers lost yards on first down four times and faced at least second-and-8 on all five series.

The Panthers used a pass interference call and a 9-yard run by Josiah May on third-and-3 to advance to D-G-F territory to open the second half, but Park Rapids lost possession on downs at the 35.


D-G-F responded with a quick five-play scoring drive as Preston Johnson’s 39-yard TD reception made it 40-0. Pierson had a 16-yard run to help that drive.

Park Rapids avoided the shutout with a 13-play scoring drive as Morris hit Tate Usher on a 14-yard route on third-and-11, rushed for 12 yards and hit Caleb David on a 38-yard screen pass. David also had a 22-yard run as the Panthers overcame two penalties. Morris capped off that 80-yard drive with a 5-yard TD run to make it 40-6 with 11:55 to play.

The Rebels followed with a 13-play drive that used 8:47 off the clock. Park Rapids’ defense stopped that drive at the 28 with 3:08 to play.

“Offensively, we just struggled to get anything going consistently. We have been getting into second-and-long and third-and-long too often. We need to be better on first down to give our kids a more manageable second and third down. Part of that is me. I need to call the game better,” said Nordick, whose team faced at least 11 yards on third down three times in the second half. “Defensively, we had them in third and fourth down many times, but unfortunately we couldn't get off the field. Also, part of that is me. I need to take a look at our personnel and put guys in the best position to be successful.”

The Rebels finished with 357 yards in offense to improve to 3-0 on the season.

David rushed seven times for 41 yards, May had 34 yards on nine carries and Morris completed 3 of 11 passes for 82 yards with Michaelson hauling in two receptions for 38 yards. Park Rapids was held to 192 yards in offense in falling to 0-3.

Defensively, David was in on 12 tackles with 10 solo stops. Hill was in on 11 tackles, including seven solo tackles while also recovering a fumble.

The Panthers had their final home game moved. Park Rapids will play Thief River Falls at Bemidji State University on Saturday (Oct. 31) starting at 1 p.m. Thief River Falls will enter that game with a 1-2 record. The Prowlers opened the season with a 55-0 loss to Detroit Lakes before snapping a 26-game losing streak with a 7-6 win over Fergus Falls. East Grand Forks edged TRF 15-14 in Week 3.


“We are going to put this one behind us. I like the fight in this team. The scoring drive in the second half gave us a little momentum going into next week,” said Nordick. “Our guys are excited about playing TRF. The Prowlers won for the first time in a couple years last week against Fergus Falls and then gave EGF all they could handle. Should be a great game and a great lakeside atmosphere for football.”

Park Rapids 0 0 0 6...6
D-G-F 14 20 6 0...40
DGF-Wang 5 run (Doran pass from Verdi)
DGF-Pierson 5 run (run failed)
DGF-Sapa 12 pass from Leach (run failed)
DGF-Wang 55 run (Wang run)
DGF-Wang 5 run (pass failed)
DGF-Johnson 39 pass from Leach (pass failed)
PR-Morris 5 run (pass failed)
RUSHING. Park Rapids: David 7-41, May 9-34, Morris 10-21, Reish 1-2. DGF: Wang 13-106, Pierson 8-80, Verdi 6-56, Johnson 7-31, Altobelli 2-13.
PASSING. Park Rapids: May 2-8-0 for 12 yards; Morris 3-11-0 for 82 yards. DGF: Doran 3-4-0 for 10 yards; Leach 2-3-0 for 51 yards.
RECEIVING. Park Rapids: Michaelson 2-38, Usher 2-18, David 1-38. DGF: Pierson 2-12, Johnson 1-39, Sapa 1-12.
PUNT RETURNS. DGF: Summers 2-36, Schreiber 1-18.
KICKOFF RETURNS. Park Rapids: David 4-62, Monaghan 1-5. DGF: Schreiber 1-5, Pierson 1-(-1).
SOLO TACKLES: David 10, Hill 7, Kritzeck 3, Persons 3, White 3, Lund 2, Usher 2, Reish 2, Huber 2, Burton 2, Michaelson 2, Klein 2, May 1, Hartung 1, Harmon 1, Wellman 1, Nisius 1.
ASSISTED TACKLES: Hill 4, Burton 3, Michaelson 3, Wellman 3, Reish 2, David 2, Lund 1, Harmon 1, Kritzeck 1, Nisius 1.
PUNTS: Michaelson 4-115.

Park Rapids' Nick Michaelson (18) pursued D-G-F's Justin Wang during Friday night's game at Glyndon. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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