Pelican gridders’ exciting 32-26 win kept crowd on edge of seats
The Pelican Rapids Vikings and New York Mills Eagles went head to head in high school football on Friday night.
The Vikings gained an early lead, but the Eagles battled back setting up a game that wasn’t decided until the very end.
Pelican Rapids forced a punt on the opening possession of the game and the Vikings scored on their first possession of the game for the second game in a row.
Pelican Rapids had an explosive start as McHale Korf picked up 42 yards on the first play for the Vikings and followed that up with a 23 yard pass completion to Logan Fahje.
A few plays later Pelican Rapids was in the endzone on a 3 yard run by Korf and had the early 6-0 lead.
The second possession for the Vikings led to another touchdown. This one was much quicker with one explosive play as Jayden Rutherford scored on a 39 yard pass from McHale Korf. After another failed point after touchdown conversion the Vikings had a 12-0 lead in the first quarter.
New York Mills got into the endzone late in the second quarter. After recovering a Pelican Rapids fumble the Eagles went on an 11 play drive using a 23 yard pass completion to score their first touchdown of the night. With a successful two point conversion the halftime score was 12-8 in favor of the Vikings.
The scoring drive set the tone for what the remainder of the game would look and feel like. The Vikings would score only to have the Eagles come back picking up touchdowns of their own.
Rapid Viking score in 2nd half
The second half opened with another quick touchdown for the Vikings. Receiving the kickoff to start the half Pelican Rapids used 7 plays to get into the endzone and extend the lead once again. The scoring play consisted of another Korf to Rutherford pass that covered 26 yards to build the lead to 18-8.
The next touchdown was another score for the Vikings. This possession was set up when Weston Funk recovered an Eagles fumble giving Pelican Rapids possession at midfield. Six running plays later McHale Korf scored another touchdown with a 26 yard run increasing the lead to 24-6.
NY Mills kept game close, entertaining
“I need to give a lot of credit to New York Mills as they never quit. Using a strong running game of their own, the Eagles responded with the next two touchdowns to keep the game close and everyone entertained,” said Coach Dave Haugen.
With 9 minutes left in the game the Vikings lead was now 24-20.
“Give the home team Vikings credit as well as they didn’t panic and maintained their composure to put together one more scoring drive,” said Haugen.
Pelican Rapids put together a 10 play 4 minute touchdown drive. 8 runs, 2 passes and 1 fourth down conversion gave the Vikings the final score they would need. On a third and 10 McHale Korf found an open Jayden Rutherford for a 16 yard completion good for 6 points. With a successful two point conversion the lead was now 32-20.
New York Mills scored one more time to get within 6. After securing the on side kick the Vikings were able to run out the clock and pick up their second win on the season and improve their record to 2-0.
Exciting game was both educational–and victorious
“Offensively we were able to move the ball realyl well and keep the Eagles defense off balance. Pelican Rapids gained over 400 yards of offense on the night. Defensively we got caught out of position a few times and that really hurt us,” said Haugen. “We’re going to learn a lot from this game. The best thing is that we get to learn and still celebrate a win.”
Liam Sytsma had an excellent game both offensively and defensively on the line of scrimmage for the Vikings. He was very dominant at times.
Korf and Rutherford also had big games offensively which is easy to see as you look at the scoring summary and stats.