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Tom Mix, Published August 31 2013

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood slips past Oak Grove for football win

FARGO – North Dakota 9-man football arrived in Fargo on Saturday morning.

The debut 9-man contest featured upstart Fargo Oak Grove – reclassified from 11-man 1A to 9-man during the offseason – playing longtime 9-man power Wyndmere-Lidgerwood.

The Grovers hung tough but fell 24-16 to the Warbirds.

The loss puts Oak Grove at 0-2 after its first two games against 9-man, Region 1 opponents. The Grovers opened the season with a 22-8 loss to Hankinson last Tuesday.

Oak Grove held a 16-12 lead against the defending Region 1 champions on Saturday, but the Warbirds (1-1) put together two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to earn the win.

“The last two games we have been relevant at the end of the game and gave ourselves a chance to win,” Oak Grove head coach Derek Bakken said. “We cleaned up some things from the first game, but still the difference in the scoreboard was our mental mistakes. We killed some drives with some bad penalties, and (Wyndmere-Lidgerwood) called some great plays on that drive that put them ahead.”

Oak Grove led 8-6 at halftime. The Warbirds opened the second half with an 11-play, 60 yard scoring drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown run from quarterback Seth Harles.

The Grovers responded when senior running back Coulton Dangerfield rushed for a 20-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Dangerfield rushed for 161 yards on 10 carries, including a 60-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

“Oak Grove did a nice job running that option,” Wyndmere-Lidgerwood head coach Scott Strenge said. “I can tell they are going to get better each week.”

Harles, a 6-foot-3 junior who started as a sophomore, led the way for the Warbirds, rushing for 190 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries. His 7-yard touchdown run with 8:43 left put Wyndmere-Lidgerwood up for good.

“I feel a lot more confident with myself, the offense and how it is supposed to be run,” Harles said. “I like taking the ball into my hands when we get inside the 10-yard line. I feel like I can take it in for my team.”

Oak Grove drove to the Warbirds’ 12-yard line in the final two minutes, but a bad snap on a third-and-1 play pushed the Grovers to the 18, setting up a fourth-and-long. On the next play, Grovers quarterback Christian Adams threw into coverage and his pass was picked off by Harles with 1:17 left.

“We didn’t get the matchup that we had hoped for there,” Bakken said of the Grovers’ final offensive play.

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood failed on all four of its 2-point conversions.

Adams rushed for 46 yards and was 5 of 11 passing for 28 yards.

“We know we are relevant,” Bakken said. “We know we can play with these teams. The kids just have to start believing in themselves. We have to get past the point of relevancy and we have to finish one of these games.

“Our motto this week was, ‘If not now, when?’ We have to go another week with that motto now. We are in the hunt.”

W-L 0 6 6 12–24

Oak Grove 0 8 8 0–16

WL–Harles 2 run (run failed)

OG–C. Dangerfield 60 run (C. Dangerfield pass from Adams)

WL–Harles 4 run (run failed)

OG–C. Dangerfield 20 run (Card pass from Adams)

WL–Harles 7 run (pass failed)

WL–Harles 1 run (pass failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: WL, Honl 4-4, Harles 28-190, Jorgenson 11-42, Moffet 3-6, Team 3-(-5). OG, Asheim 1-(-1), Bueide 8-23, Adams 13-46, C. Dangerfield 10-161, Olson 2-4.

PASSING: WL, Harles 8-15-0–81. OG, Adams 5-11-1–28.

RECEIVING: WL, Honl 1-3, Foertsch 2-22, Schmit 1-15, Jorgenson 2-(-2), Haase 2-43. OG, C. Dangerfield 3-15, Card 2-13.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562