The Barnesville football team took control in the second half of their Section 8AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday night and went on to record a 44-14 victory to claim the Section title. Pelican Rapids was even with the Trojans at 14-14 at the break, but the Trojans took the lead on a third quarter TD and added 3 fourth quarter scores to earn the championship.
“We played a very good Pelican Rapids team, who for three quarters gave us everything we could handle,” reported Barnesville Head Coach Bryan Strand. “Going into this game the amount of time put in by players and coaches was incredible, and I would say it was similar to last years’ state championship game. We had morning practices every day, including two walk-throughs just on defense to cover everything they were going to throw at us. The boys were focused and continually got better each and every day. We were a bit banged up after last game, but by game time we were very close to 100%.”
Timmy Guler scored the first touchdown of the night on a 2 yard run, handing the Vikings a 6-0 lead. A 5 yard run by Ethan Larson tied the game at 6-6 and a 26 yard run by Asher O’Brien gave the Trojans the lead. Zach Bredman connected with Gannon Bolgrean on the two-point try and Barnesville led 14-6 at the end of the first quarter. Guler’s second TD, a 6 yard run, followed by his successful two-point conversion run, sent the game to halftime tied at 14-14.
“Timmy Guler is one of those special players that no matter how much you scheme for and prep we can only hope to slow him down at bit,” said Coach Strand. “He is truly an amazing young man. This senior class for Pelican Rapids is truly special as well with many great athletes and dedicated players. It’s too bad that these two group of young men had to face off as both teams deserved to make the state tournament.”
Bolgrean found the end zone on a 9 yard run in the third quarter and Cameron Halverson’s two-point run made it 22-14 after three.
In the fourth quarter, Bogrean broke loose for a 69 yard touchdown run and a 28-14 Barnesville advantage. Larson scored on a 9 yard run and Bredman hooked up with Jack Maesse for the two-point conversion and a 36-14 Trojan lead. The final score of the game came on a 52 yard run by David Spillum, followed by a conversion run by Connor Klemin putting the final score at 44-14.
“We had big games out of Gannon Bolgrean and Zach Bredman on offense, and the defensive unit was just stingy all night,” added Strand. “The prep work put in by my assistant coaches was nothing but fantastic all week. They each did their job and got the team ready to play. Phil Trowbridge called an amazing game, and took what they gave us all night. He is one of the best around.”
Barnesville compiled 438 rushing yards on 49 carries, and had 530 yards of total offense. They were led by Bolgrean with 186 yards on 12 carries. Larson, Bredman and Spillum each ran for 56 yards and O’Brien finished with 34 rushing yards. Bredman was 3-for-6 throwing the football and Major Ness caught two of the passes for 42 yards. Maesse had the other reception, covering 50 yards.
Defensively, Christian Lien and Jay Tschumperlin each recorded a sack, O’Brien had an interception and Levi Eickenbrock recovered a fumble. Tackle leaders were Bolgrean (6 solo tackles, 1 assisted), Larson (5 solo, 1 assisted), Collin Morey (4 solo, 1 assisted) and Nick Robideau (3 solo, 3 assisted).
“We get Osakis this week and they are a great team,” concluded Coach Strand. “Big and physical with a great QB, and a huge offensive and defensive line. It is going to be a short week of practice as we play on Thursday night. The boys will have to be dialed in and ready to go with the winner getting a trip to US Bank and the state semifinals.”
Pelican Rapids finished with 311 yards (243 passing, 68 rushing). No individual stats are available at this time.