East blanks West in 9-man gameGRAND FORKS — Ellendale running back Nate Arnold would like a chance to walk on to play college football at North Dakota State.
By: Tom Miller, Grand Forks Herald
GRAND FORKS — Ellendale running back Nate Arnold would like a chance to walk on to play college football at North Dakota State.
With film from the North Dakota Shrine Bowl 9-man game Saturday, Arnold could put together an impressive highlight tape to send the Bison coaching staff.
Arnold ran for 223 yards on 11 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead the East to a 33-0 win over the West in the Alerus Center.
The 5-foot-11, 189-pound back has made a habit of big games. During his senior season, he ran for 599 yards in a game which many believe to be a national 9-man record.
Then in the Saskota Bowl earlier this summer, Arnold rushed for 290 yards to lead North Dakota to a 50-40 win over Saskatchewan.
Arnold said Saturday’s big game has special meaning.
“It’s the fact that you’re going against the best people,” he said. “You’re going up against the top of the top.”
The East led just 8-0 at halftime and 14-0 after three quarters, but the combination of Arnold, fullback Andrew Grothmann of Hillsboro and quarterback Aaron Meyer of Hillsboro wore down the West late in the game.
Meyer, who also scored late in the third quarter, opened the fourth quarter scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 20-0. The drive was set up by a 53-yard run by Arnold.
“(Arnold) has the uncanny ability to make people miss,” East coach Scott Strenge of Wyndmere-Lidgerwood said. “He had a great week of practice and followed with a fantastic game.”
Arnold then put the game away late in the fourth quarter with 27- and 78-yard touchdown runs.
The West, meanwhile, couldn’t get much going offensively. The East defense allowed just two first downs in the second half, including a 48-yard pass on the final play of the game.
The West was also held to 1 yard rushing.
“On defense, we were able to get everyone in and they meshed,” Strenge said. “That was our goal all week. Everything came together.”
The East defense was highlighted by two interceptions by Mason Mikulecky of Northern Cass. With the West threatening late in the second quarter and the game still within eight points, Mikulecky jumped in front of Richardon-Taylor-Hebron quarterback Lane Transtrom’s pass near the goal line and returned it 36 yards.
The West found some success through the air, led by Heart River’s Jimmy Smith, who finished with 121 yards passing. Smith also finished with a team-high 17 rushing yards.
But the East ground attack proved to be too much. After Arnold’s 223 yards, Napoleon’s Evan Gross added 37 yards on the ground, Meyer had 36 and Grothmann had 17.
“We were truly blessed with great ballplayers,” Strenge said. “Our plan was to run the ball. When you have the horses, you use them.”
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