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Greg DeVillers / Forum Communications , Published November 03 2012

Grafton tops Valley City in ND Class 2A state football semifinals

GRAFTON, N.D. – Christian Lunde has been an impact player with his legwork this season. On Saturday, his left arm got into the act.

Lunde’s passing, as well as his running, sparked Grafton to a 14-8 win against Valley City in the semifinals of the North Dakota Class 2A high school football playoffs.

The Spoilers will go for a second consecutive state title when they meet Fargo Shanley at approximately 3 p.m. in the Class 2A championship game Friday at the Alerus Center. Shanley beat Grafton in the teams’ regular-season meeting.

Lunde eclipsed the 1,800-yard mark rushing for the season when he carried 35 times for 179 yards and one touchdown. But he also passed for one touchdown, and two other completions were big plays on the Spoilers’ fourth-quarter scoring drive that broke an 8-8 tie.

“We knew Valley City had a run-stopping defense,” Lunde said. “The running game has been our forte. I can be a good thrower. But I still prefer to run the ball.”

Lunde hooked up with Matt Mendoza on a crossing pattern for a 12-yard touchdown pass 48 seconds into the second quarter. Valley City tied the score when it drove 77 yards in 2:19, with Brandon Breckheimer’s 6-yard touchdown run on a sweep making it 8-8 with 21 seconds left in the first half.

The score stayed that way until, with eight minutes remaining, Lunde ran into a pile up in the middle and into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown run.

That capped a 9-play, 64-yard drive. Two passes ate up a big chunk of that yardage – Lunde to Dylan Boura for 20 yards and, two plays later, Lunde to Austin Contreras for 22 yards and a first down on the Hi-Liners’ 12. Lunde finished 6 of 15 passing for 92 yards.

“Christian’s had a couple of 100-yard passing games,” Grafton coach Tom Maus said. “He can throw. Defenses are looking to take away our running game, and Christian has gotten more comfortable throwing the ball.

“I expected it would be a low-scoring game like this. Valley City’s defense is their strength. And I think defense has been our strength with our line. In the second half, we played better up front.”

Valley City had two more possessions after Grafton went ahead, but both drives were halted by Lunde interceptions.

The Hi-Liners, like Grafton, have relied on their running game. But they rushed for only 110 yards. Austin Svenningsen was 8 of 15 for 74 yards passing.

“We’re a running team, but they really shut our running game down,” Valley City coach Scott Roehrich said. “Austin did a great job. We don’t usually throw a lot like this. But it was all about the line of scrimmage. We got no pass rush. Grafton did a great job on both sides of the ball on the line.”

Grafton improved to 10-1 while Valley City closed its season at 6-4.

VC 0 8 0 0– 8

G 0 8 0 6–14

G–Mendoza 12 pass from Lunde (Lunde run)

VC–Breckheimer 6 run (Lentz pass from Svenningsen)

G–Lunde 3 run (run failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: VC, Breckheimer 9-43, Olstad 10-36, Underm 11-14. G, Lunde 35-179, Martinez 11-33, Mendoz 2-6.

PASSING: VC, Svenningsen 8-15-2 74 yards, Undem 1-1-0 22. G, Lunde 6-15-0 92.

RECEIVING: VC, Knutson 5-63, Lentz 2-18, Undem 2-15. G, Contreras 3-47, Mendoza 2-25, Boura 1-20.


DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald