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Thorson spurs Titans' rout over Beach

BEACH -- Towner-Granville-Upham head coach Scott Thorson was a little worried watching his team during warmups before its 9-man first-round playoff game against Beach on Saturday.

Beach junior quarterback Jake Hardy
Press Photo by Jason Adkins Beach junior quarterback Jake Hardy, right, scrambles and stiff-arms Towner-Granville-Upham senior Brad Bethke during Saturday afternoon's 9-man first round playoff football game at the Beach Athletic Complex.

BEACH -- Towner-Granville-Upham head coach Scott Thorson was a little worried watching his team during warmups before its 9-man first-round playoff game against Beach on Saturday.

He said the effects of the five-hour bus ride showed.

"We had to get over it mentally," Thorson said.

The Titans -- the third-seed from Region 4 -- got over it in a hurry, shaking off an early turnover before unleashing their offensive juggernaut in a 50-20 win at the Beach Athletic Complex.

T-G-U (6-3) visits Region 5 champion Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn in the second round next Saturday. The Buccaneers came in as the third-seed from Region 6.

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That early miscue -- a fumble by senior quarterback Tyler Thorson at its own 22-yard line -- didn't faze T-G-U.

"That goes against everything we wanted to accomplish early," Steve Thorson said of the fumble.

But on Beach's second play, it fumbled the ball back to the Titans.

Steve Thorson said whether it was just an error by Beach (6-3) or a forced fumble, it lit a spark in his team.

Tyler Thorson then got down to business with his arm and legs.

He found senior Zach Thompson on a short route down the middle with no secondary coverage behind him. Thompson ran free for a 33-yard catch.

Thorson put an exclamation point on the drive with a 23-yard TD run down the right side to put the Titans up 8-0 after a successful two-point conversion.

T-G-U's second score came quickly.

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Junior Levi Black picked off Beach sophomore quarterback James Kary at the Titans' 40 and returned it 18 yards.

On the next play, Thorson found Thompson in the middle 10 yards downfield, with Thompson taking it to the end zone easily.

"They were leaving it wide open," Tyler Thorson said. "It was easy to take that."

Thorson finished the game with five TD passes, going 15 of 24 for 177 yards. He rushed for 157 yards and had one rushing TD.

"He's right up there with the best of them," said Beach head coach Mike Zier of Thorson.

Two more fumbles by the Buccaneers led to two touchdowns, this time with two short passes from Thorson.

He found Brad Bethke for a 5-yard TD and hit Dillon Jesz with a 1-yard strike to put the Titans up 30-0.

Beach mounted some offense late in the first half as junior quarterback Jake Hardy ran in a 16-yard score with 1:04 left in the first half.

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Not content to take a knee, Thorson rattled off the ensuing kickoff 72 yards to Beach's 19.

Travis Smette got in the scoring act with a 19-yard touchdown run on the next play.

T-G-U lead 38-6 at halftime.

"They were clearly the better football team Saturday," Zier said.

Thorson added two more touchdown passes in the second half -- a 23-yard shot to Jesz and a 9-yard pass to Smette.

Hardy's 71-yard run early in the third quarter cut the Titans' lead to 38-14 before T-G-U's scores.

Hardy added a 1-yard TD off a sneak on the game's final play. He had a game-high 244 rushing yards.

Despite ending the season on a down note, Zier said he's pleased with his squad especially after losing nine seniors from last year's team that lost in the second round of the 9-man playoffs.

Plus, Zier felt the matchup was a tough one for Buccaneers.

"They (the Titans) are at the level with teams like Richardton-Taylor and Mott-Regent," Zier said.

TGU 14 24 12 0 -- 50

Beach 0 6 8 6 -- 20

TGU-Tyler Thorson 23 run (Dillon Jesz pass from Thorson)

TGU-Zach Thompson 42 pass from Thorson (pass failed)

TGU-Brad Bethke 5 pass from Thorson (Bethke pass from Thorson)

TGU-Jesz 1 pass from Thorson (Thompson pass from Thorson)

B-Jake Hardy 16 run (pass failed)

TGU-Travis Smette 19 run (Jesz run)

B-Hardy 71 run (Brady Zachmann run)

TGU-Jesz 23 pass from Thorson (run failed)

TGU- Travis Semtte 9 pass from Thorson (pass failed)

B-Hardy 1 run (no conversion attempt)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: TGU, Tyler Thorson 157 yards, Travis Smette 44. B, Jake Hardy 244 yards, Trey McDonald 32.

PASSING: TGU, Thorson 15-24-0 177. B, Hardy 4-11-0 27, James Kary 2-4-1 27.

RECEIVING: B, Zach Thompson 100 yards, Dillon Jesz 42. B, Brady Zachmann 26 yards yards, Lloyd Weinreis 18.

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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