Game stats tell the story: Pelican played toe-to-toe, except for the final score
The Pelican Rapids Vikings took on the Trojans from Barnesville in the Section Championship game at the FargoDome Nov. 5.
The winner of this game was set to earn a trip to the state tournament, and both hometowns were represented by spirited crowds on both sides of the dome.
The Vikings started the game by receiving the ball on the Fargo-Dome turf, which was an exciting feeling for these young Vikings who had not yet had the opportunity to play on this field—with the stakes so high, noted head coach Eli Beachy. COVID pandemic safety precautions cancelled playoff action last fall, 2020, when Pelican and Barnesville were also on course for a Section 8AA championship confrontation.
The first quarter went back and forth, both teams fighting hard and playing really solid defense. By the end of the quarter, the score was tied up at 0-0.
To start the second quarter, the Vikings were able to put the first touchdown of the game up on the board.
Quarterback, Timmy Guler, connected with Carson McNeal for a 10 yard touchdown. Guler then completed a pass to Peyton Blakeway for the two point conversion to make the score 8-0.
Barnesville went on a 36-0 run from that point on. They were able to capitalize off of 5 Vikings turnovers and ultimately PR was not able to capitalize on Barnesville’s 6 punts, and 0/13 third down conversion rate.
That was the last time the Vikings were able to score until the final quarter when Guler found Blakeway on a 29 yard touchdown where Blakeway broke multiple tackles to make his way into the endzone.
Brayden Ecker capped off the scoring by catching a two point conversion pass by Guler.
In the end, the score did not show the fight Pelican Rapids put up all night, noted Coach Beachy.
There was never any quit in these young men. Pelican Rapids finished the night with 270 yards of offense to Barnesville’s 272 yards.
PR had 14 first downs to Barnesville’s 13. All in all, it was a hard fought battle that never seemed to go the Vikings way after the first score.
“This was a great learning experience for the players as it was the first time for most of them, getting to play in a game of this magnitude. I assure you, these young men learned a lot and will be hungrier than ever to avenge this loss. I am so proud of them and what they did this year,” said Coach Beachy.
The Pelican Rapids football program loses some fantastic seniors in Nick Haugrud, Carson McNeal, Brayden Ecker, Hayden Hart, Cody Nord, and Chase Restad.
“The seniors this year will be greatly missed. Their willingness to learn and adapt is something that really stuck out. Their leadership was not always spoken but was always noticed,” said Beachy, reflecting on the 2021 season. “Each of these young men will do great things in their years to come outside of football and school and I cannot wait to see it happen.”
Pelican Rapids finished their strong season with a 7-3 record — and high hopes and expectations for the off-season and next season, concluded Beachy.