by Scott DCamp
Thief River Falls snapped a 27-game losing streak with a 7-6 win over Fergus Falls Thursday night at Swenson Field in Thief River Falls. The win was the Prowlers’ first since a 7-6 triumph over Park Rapids on Sept. 8, 2017.
Thief River Falls went three and out on its opening possession. Fergus Falls took over at its own 45 yard line and put together a seven-play drive that included a five-yard run by Landon Thacker on a fourth and one at the Prowler 25 yard line. The Otters took to the air for the first time on the next play and Dominic Aguilar’s throw into the flat was picked off by Thief River Falls senior Blake Biermaier, who raced down the sideline for an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“Blake Biermaier’s pick six – We’ve been waiting for someone to step up and make a play for so many games,” said Thief River Falls Head Coach Bryce Lingen.
Jake Friedrich added the extra point to give the Prowlers a 7-0 lead.
Fergus Falls got on the scoreboard on its first possession of the second quarter. The Otters put together a nine-play, 57-yard drive that ended with Abel Aho grabbing a three-yard pass from Aguilar at the back of the end zone. The Otters elected to go for two following the score and Aguilar’s pass fell incomplete.
The Prowlers ate clock for the remainder of the half with a drive that was statistically their best of the day. The Prowlers picked up a pair of first downs and gained 34 yards on 10 plays.
The second half followed a similar pattern as the Otters would move the ball well between the tackles but the Prowlers bend but don’t break defense would tighten in the red zone. The Prowlers would get the ball back, eat some clock, and be content to punt with the strong leg of Friedrich. Freidrich punted six times in the contest for a total of 211 yards to frequently flip the field for the Prowlers.
The Otters started their final possession with 6:51 left to play at the Prowler 49 yard line. The drive reached the Prowler 25 yard line, where a costly holding penalty set up a second and 16 at the 31. Quarterback Andrew Johnson’s second down pass attempt fell incomplete and a third down run by Kaden Hartwell gained just one yard. Johnson’s fourth down pass fell incomplete, giving the ball back to the Prowlers at the 31 yard line.
The Otters still had two timeouts remaining and they used the timeouts on first and second down. Facing a third an 10 at the 30 Lingen kept the ball and ran off tackle for a four-yard gain.
With 51 seconds remaining but no timeouts, the Otters elected to bring extra rushers in an attempt to block Friedrich’s punt. The gamble backfired, as a roughing the punter penalty gave the ball back to the Prowlers with 43 seconds left to play.
Following the game, Lingen credited his defensive coaches with coming up with a game plan that negated Fergus Falls’ size advantage and disrupted its running game.
“I credit Coach [Josh] Jenson, Coach [Jeff] Mumm and Coach [Kurt] Reynolds – they came up with a fantastic defensive scheme,” Lingen said. “Last week, we weren’t happy across the board. It’s awesome to get this one.”
Scoring 1 2 3 4 T
Fergus Falls 0 6 0 0 6
Thief River Falls 7 0 0 0 7
TRF – Blake Biermair 80-yard interception return, Jake Friedrich kick.
FF – Abel Aho 3-yard pass from Dominic Aguilar, pass failed.
• First downs – Fergus Falls 11; Thief River Falls 4.
• Fumbles (total-lost) – Fergus Falls 0-0; Thief River Falls 1-1.
• Penalties (number-yards) – Fergus Falls 4-40; Thief River Falls 1-5.
• Punts (number-average) – Fergus Falls 1-43; Thief River Falls 6-35.1.
• Rushing (attempts-yards) – Fergus Falls 46-201; Thief River Falls 23-(-9).
• Passing – Fergus Falls 4-for-9, 36 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions; Thief River Falls 3-for-10, 36 yards.
• Total plays-yards – Fergus Fallls 55-237; Thief River Falls 33-27.
• Rushing – (FF) Landon Thacker 16-60; Cole Zierden 10-44; Andrew Johnson 11-52; (TRF) Brevyn Lingen 5-7; Jake Friedrich 6-5; Kaden Bakken 6-10.
• Passing – (FF) Andrew Johnson 3-for-6, 33-yards, interception; Dominic Aguilar 1-for-3, 3 yards, touchdown, interception; (TRF) Brevyn Lingen 3-for-10, 36 yards. n • Receiving – (FF) Abel Aho 3-24, touchdown; Cole Zierden 1-12; (TRF) Kaden Bakken 1-5; Ben Nelson 1-13; Blake Biermaier 1-18.