Defense helps Grovers top Titans
FARGO -- It was easy for the Fargo Oak Grove-Park Christian football players to remember the Titans. After suffering playoff losses to the Dickinson Trinity Titans the last two years, the Grovers got even with a 14-7 Class AA quarterfinal win Sat...
FARGO -- It was easy for the Fargo Oak Grove-Park Christian football players to remember the Titans.
After suffering playoff losses to the Dickinson Trinity Titans the last two years, the Grovers got even with a 14-7 Class AA quarterfinal win Saturday on their home field.
"Those losses have been on the back of our mind a lot," said Oak Grove senior Brett Gunhus.
"This is huge," said fellow senior Aaron Freije. "I'm very glad and relieved."
It was Gunhus and Freije who helped preserve Oak Grove's win by sacking Trinity quarterback Aaron Grinsteinner during the Titans' last two possessions.
Grinsteinner, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, threw for 201 yards. But he was unable to get his team into the end zone in the second half.
Oak Grove senior Zach Frappier intercepted a Grinsteinner pass to stop a third-quarter drive. Early in the fourth quarter on fourth down from near midfield, Freije sacked Grinsteinner for a 4-yard loss.
After the Grovers missed a field goal to build on their 14-7 lead, Gunhus sacked Grinsteinner for a 10-yard loss on second down with less than two minutes remaining. Trinity was unable to pick up a first down.
Oak Grove, 9-1 and ranked No. 4 in the final AA poll, ran out the remaining 90 seconds to advance to next Saturday's semifinal game - a home game against third-ranked Hazen.
Trinity, state champions in 2000, 2001 and 2005 and runner-ups in 2002, 2003 and 2006, ends its season with a 5-5 record.
"I don't care what their record is ... how many times has that team been in the dome?" Oak Grove head coach Kyle Bakken said, referring to title games being played in either the Fargodome or the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. "They are used to being in the dome and they played that way today. This was a very big step for us today."
Trinity took a 7-0 lead on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Grinsteinner to Tommy Peters after recovering a fumbled punt in the first quarter. Oak Grove tied it in the second quarter when Ross Eggers, who rushed for 80 yards, ran for a 29-yard touchdown.
The Grovers marched the opening possession of the second half 75 yards on 12 plays, chewing up 6 minutes and 16 seconds.
Levi Arneson, who rushed for 167 yards, capped the drive with a 4-yard run.
"Early on, the kids told us to stop throwing," Bakken said. "So we kept pounding it at them. Trinity is a big, physical team but our guys up front played very well."