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Buccaneers run all over TGU in 9-man playoff opener

Beach senior quarterback Josiah Orluck carries the football against TGU on Saturday in the opening game of the 9-man football playoffs. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)1 / 4
Beach junior running back Clay Mattern carries the football against TGU on Saturday in the opening game of the 9-man football playoffs. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)2 / 4
Beach sophomore Gage Swanson runs with the football against TGU on Saturday in the opening game of the 9-man football playoffs. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)3 / 4
Beach junior linebacker Jared Wojahn chases after TGU quarterback Garrett Bailey on Saturday in the opening game of the 9-man football playoffs. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)4 / 4

BEACH — The Beach High School football team wrapped up its fourth playoff victory in school history early on against visiting Towner-Granville-Upham on Saturday in the opening round of the 9-man playoffs.

Buccaneers senior quarterback Josiah Orluck and junior running back Clay Mattern each scored a pair of touchdowns in the first half, lifting Beach to an early advantage in what would ultimately be a 40-8 victory at Buccaneer Field.

While Beach's offense found traction, the Titans offensive unit could not say the same. TGU was forced into a handful of third- and fourth-and-long situations throughout the contest, a testament to the Buccaneers blowing up plays in the backfield.

"We controlled the line of scrimmage on offense and defense," Beach head coach Mike Zier said. "They're a good running team, and their quarterback is good in that run-pass option, but if you get them in third-and-long, then you can send some blitzes. And I thought our offensive line controlled the game from the start to the finish."

Beach improves to 7-2 overall this season and now has a date with Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood next Saturday in Mohall. The Titans conclude their season with a 6-4 overall mark.

"I'm proud of these kids," TGU head coach Ben Wollenzien said. "Not many people thought we'd be in this position at this point in the year, and I'm proud of the way they overcame adversity throughout the year."

Beach received the opening kickoff of the game, and on its first drive, a helmet-to-helmet penalty on TGU extended the drive. Mattern cashed in on the miscue and scored from 22 yards out a short time later.

"That was huge. We knew we had to come out fired up," Orluck said. "It all starts up front. The line has held their blocks all year, and Clay was able to find the lanes. That's really a blessing."

After TGU fumbled the third-down snap on its first possession, Orluck scored his first touchdown on a 5-yard scramble. He then found junior tight end Jared Wojahn for a two-point conversion, and the Buccaneers led 14-0 after the opening quarter.

Orluck scored on a 4-yard rush with 4 minutes, 34 seconds remaining in the half, and he tossed a conversion score to senior receiver John Summers. After a defensive stop, Beach got the ball back and scored with 14 seconds to play on a 5-yard rush from Mattern to make it 28-0 at halftime.

"We knew they were going to be able to run the ball pretty well," Wollenzien said. "We knew they were well-coached, they're much improved over the last couple years and I give those guys a world of credit."

After a scoreless third quarter, Orluck and Mattern scored on runs of 1 and 34 yards, respectively, in the fourth to create a 40-0 margin. Mattern finished with 105 yards on 13 carries, and Orluck tallied 88 yard on 16 attempts. Orluck was also 11-for-16 passing for 128 yards.

The Titans attempted only six passes in the game as they focused more on getting their own rushing game up to speed. Junior running back Shayden Luna — a 1,000-yard rusher coming in — carried 23 times for 107 yards and TGU's only touchdown, a 34-yarder with 1:48 to play.

TGU freshman back Cody Frounfelter carried six times for 43 yards.

"(Luna) was getting hit a yard back in the backfield and nobody can overcome that," Wollenzien said. "I knew they'd key on him, but I figured we could break him loose."

Instead, the Buccaneers won their fourth straight game. They are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013, and they hope to make the most of their stay.

"We wanted it bad. We couldn't ask for anything more. The community just really wanted this win," senior lineman Trevor Losinski said. "We hope to come together as a team next week and hit them hard. We want to make our parents proud and make everybody else in this community proud."

Beach 40, TGU 8

TGU 0 0 0 8 — 8

B 14 14 0 12 — xx

First quarter

B — Clay Mattern 22 rush (conversion no good), 9:10

B — Josiah Orluck 5 rush (Orluck pass to Jared Wojahn), 6:15

Second quarter

B — Orluck 4 rush (Orluck pass to John Summers), 4:34

B — Mattern 5 rush (conversion no good), 0:14

Third quarter

No scoring.

Fourth quarter

B — Orluck 1 rush (conversion no good), 9:54

B — Mattern 34 rush (conversion no good), 6:50

TGU — Shayden Luna 34 rush (Luna run), 1:48


RUSHING: TGU, Shayden Luna 23-104 1 TD, Cody Frounfelter 6-43. B, Clay Mattern 13-105 3 TD, Josiah Orluck 16-88 3 TD.

PASSING: TGU, Garrett Bailey 0-5-1; Jared Lovro 1-1-0 18 yards. B, Orluck 11-16-1 128 yards.

RECEIVING: TGU, Luna 1-18. B, Jared Wojahn 2-39, Gage Swanson 3-33, Cole Erickson 2-20, Mattern 2-22.

Parker Cotton

Cotton is the sports editor at The Press, where he covers the area's high schools. He came to The Press as the Multimedia Editor in May 2015 after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with his master's degree in Sociological Practice. He holds undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Sociology from UNC, as well.