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Barnesville Uses Strong Second Half to Pull Away from Pelican Rapids

By Craig Olson, 09/16/23, 5:15PM CDT


Pelican Rapids and Barnesville met in a high school football battle on Friday night with the Vikings taking an 8-6 halftime lead, but the Trojans putting together a solid second half to record a 36-22 victory.  “It was a tale of two halves for both teams,” noted Barnesville Head Coach Bryan Strand.  “It was a very physical game for four quarters, two very good football teams going at it.”

“We were making uncommon mistakes in the first half, putting the ball on the ground a few times, penalties, linemen going the wrong way on plays, just mistakes,” continued Coach Strand.  “In the first quarter we would drive twice, covering 41 yards, but seeing no points.  They had two drives for 28 yards and both teams ended the quarter with zero points, uncommon for both of us.”

In the second quarter, Barnesville capitalized on a Pelican Rapids fumble, getting the ball at the 10 yard line and scoring on their first play of the possession when Ethan Larson scored on a 10 yard run.  After a missed conversion try, the Trojans led 6-0.  Pelican Rapids then went to the air, completing 2-of-3 passes for 65 yards, including a 40- yard TD pass from Jack Paulson to Luke Sjolie.  A conversion run by Jack Kapenga gave the Vikings an 8-6 lead, which held up until halftime.

In the second half the Trojan defense forced a 3-and-out and Barnesville took over at their 44 yard line with their first possession of the half.  The Trojans put together a 10 play drive that was capped off when Major Ness took the ball in from 3 yards out.  After the Asher O’Brien conversion run, Barnesville had a 14-8 lead.  The Trojans forced another punt and got the ball on their own 23 yard line.  The drive extended into the fourth quarter and on the tenth play Larson punched it in from 9 yards out.  The conversion run was stopped short and the lead stood at 20-8 for the Trojans.  After a pair of penalties set the Vikings back to 1st and 30 from the 18 yard line, Avery Schroeder intercepted a Paulson pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown.  Cameron Halverson ran the ball into the end zone for a successful two-point conversion and the Trojans led 28-8.

Pelican Rapids cut the lead to 28-14 when Trevon Benson broke loose for a 45 yard run to take the Vikings down to the 7 yard line.  A pass from Paulson to Justin Jacobson from 5 yards out gave them their second TD of the night.  Barnesville stayed with their run game and covered 65 yards in 7 plays with Larson scoring from one yard out.  The conversion pass from Zach Bredman to Peyton Amundson was good and the Barnesville lead increased to 36-14.  Pelican went down the field as time was winding down and put up their final touchdown of the night when Maclain Hovland hit Luke Sjolie for the final score of the game.  The conversion was good and the final score was 36-22.

“It was two very evenly matched teams,” said Coach Strand.  “I was very impressed with Pelican Rapids and the physicality that they brought.  They are well coached and they executed well.  This week is homecoming, where we have the Hawley Nuggets coming to town.  They are currently 2-1 and should be another great test for us.  We have a ton going on this week!”

Larson finished the night with 113 rushing yards on 16 carries, reaching the end zone 3 times.  O’Brien had 75 yards on 11 attempts and Ness carried the ball 11 times for 66 yards and a score.

Barnesville had a total of 285 yards, all on the ground.  Defensive leaders were Amundson with 3 solo tackles, an assisted tackle, a tackle for loss and a sack, and Noah Stanford with 5 assisted tackles, a forced fumble and 3 tackles on kicks.  Larson and Halverson were each in on 5 tackles and Jay Tschumperlin recovered a fumble, while assisting on a pair of tackles.

Jack Kapenga led the Vikings rushing attack with 75 yards on 18 carries.  Paulson completed 5-of-9 passes for 117 yards and a pair of TDs, while Maclain Hovland was 4-for-5 throwing the football for 37 yards.  Treyvon Benson (2 catches, 45 yards), Luke Sjolie (2 catches, 43 yards) and Miguel Torres (2 catches, 40 yards) were the top receivers.  Defensive leaders were Jack Kapenga (14 solo tackles, 4 assisted tackles), Kaden Holt (4 solo tackles, 4 assisted tackles, 2 tackles for loss), Jack Paulson (6 solo tackles, 1 fumble recovery) and Treyvon Benson (1 forced fumble, 2 solo tackles).