The Polk County West Thunder Football team used an extra point kick from Cullen Rohrich in double overtime to beat the East Grand Forks Green Wave in a game played in East Grand Forks to wrap up the 2020 season.
Polk County West was originally scheduled to play Mahnomen-Waubun but they had to cancel because of COVID-19. East Grand Forks was supposed to play Perham, but they chose not to play the game. So the Polk County West and East Grand Forks coaches decided to play each other so their players would get one more game before the Governor’s sports pause went into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday night.
FIRST QUARTER –
East Grand Forks started the game with the ball at their own 25-yard line. They ran three plays for 11-yard for their first down and a sign on how the drive would go. They ran the ball two more times for 14 yards and another first down, but the drive stalled after that and the Green Wave punted three plays later.
Polk County West had their first drive starting at their own 20-yard line and ran three plays for a total of two yards and the Thunder were forced to punt.
East Grand Forks had great field position and started the second drive at their own 48-yard line. The Green Wave ran two plays for 11 yards for a first down. They ran five plays and recorded two first downs before they were called for a holding penalty and mixed with two incomplete passed it killed the drive and they turned the ball over on downs.
Polk County West’s second offensive series started with 45 seconds left in the quarter and they ran one play for six yards and the buzzer sounded for the end of the quarter with a scoreless tie.
SECOND QUARTER –
Polk County West’s first play of the quarter was an incomplete pass and after a run of one-yard, they were forced to punt the ball.
East Grand Forks started the next offensive series at their own 40-yard line and seemed to have another promising drive going. They ran three plays and got a first down on a Carter Vasek 13 yard run. They recorded two more first downs, but the drive sputtered again and they turned the ball over on downs at the PCW 35 yard line with 5:47 left in the half.
Polk County west had another three-and-out and had to punt again.
East Grand Forks had the ball at their own 20-yard line with four minutes left in the half and the first play of the drive was a pass and Polk County West’s Sam Gapp picked off a pass and went 28 yards for a touchdown and after a Cullen Rohrich extra-point kick the Thunder led 7-0. “That was a good athlete making a great play,” said Thunder Coach Darrin Byklum. “He read it well and was in the right spot at the right time and that gave us a huge boost.”
East Grand Forks had started the next drive with a hold and that killed the drive and they were forced to punt three plays later.
Polk County West had the ball with 41 seconds left and Sam Gapp ran the ball for 16 yards and he followed it up with a 24-yard pass to Gage Wavra to get to the EGF 30 yard line with one second left on the clock. The Thunder had time for one more play and Gapp lobbed a pass towards the endzone and Cullen Rohrich caught the ball at the two-yard line and was stopped short of the goal line and Polk County West took a 7-0 lead into halftime. “We played a great half on the defensive end,” said Coach Byklum. “We were able to come up with big plays when we needed them. Offensively we started moving the ball a little better as the half went along and that was good to see. It was a good half for us.”
THIRD QUARTER –
Polk County West started the second half with the ball and put a great drive together. Adam Sczepanski ran for five yards before Sam Gapp ran for 16 yards and a first down. After no gain and a personal foul penalty, the Thunder responded with a gain of 21 yards on the next three plays for another first down. The Thunder continued to drive down the field and Sam Gapp capped the impressive five-minute-plus drive with a one-yard touchdown and after a Rohrich extra-point kick, they led 14-0 with 6:23 left in the quarter. “That was a great drive and a nice way to start the half,” said Coach Byklum. “We had some big plays and East Grand Forks was quicker than we thought they would be so we had to start running it up the middle and that is what we did.”
East Grand Forks responded in a big way with a time-consuming drive of their own that started at their own 41-yard line. The first play was a Vasek 11-yard run for a first down to set the tone. They added a few more first downs and it looked like the drive might stall with a fourth down and four-yard play. The Green Wave went with a hard count and Polk County West jumped offsides to give EGF a first down. Four plays later Sam Votava found Cole Gerber in the endzone for a nine-yard touchdown pass and after the Justin Overgaard extra-point kick, Polk County West led 14-7 with 11:11 left in the game.
FOURTH QUARTER –
The fourth quarter was a wild one. Polk County West struggled on the ensuing possession as they fumbled the ball, lost two yards, lost six yards and was penalized for a loss of 10, and was forced to punt. The punt snap was low and the punter kneeled down to scoop up the ball and was called down at the four-yard line.
East Grand Forks had a golden opportunity to tie the game and on the next play they handed the ball off and the ball popped loose in the endzone and Polk County West recovered for a touchback.
Two series later, Polk County West had to punt again and East Grand Forks blocked the punt and had the ball at the Thunder 26 yard-line with 4:10 remaining in regulation. The Green Wave was stuffed for no gain on the first play of the drive, but they followed up with a two-yard gain before Sam Votava showed his athleticism and shiftiness as we broke off an impressive 24 yard run for a touchdown, and after the Overgaard extra-point kick the game was tied at 14.
Neither team scored in the final minutes of the game to force overtime.
Overtime (Each team gets four plays to score from the 10-yard line)
Neither team scored in their first overtime to force a second session.
East Grand Forks started the second overtime with the ball and had a loss of nine yards on the first play. They followed with a Vasek 10-yard run and after a holding play, Sam Votava found Brody Schultz at the goalline for a 27-yard touchdown pass. The extra-point kick was blocked, but the Green Wave led 20-14.
Polk County West started the drive with a running play for no gain before getting called for an illegal chop block which set up a second down and 26 yards. Sam Gapp found Landon Denney for a 21-yard pass to set up a third and five play. Gapp scored on the next play from five yards out to tie the game. Polk County West called a time out to talk things over. Shortly after the teams were ready for the extra point, East Grand Forks called a time out. After the time outs, Polk County West kicked the extra point and Cullen Rohrich placed it through the uprights to give the Thunder the 21-20 overtime victory to wrap up the 2020 season. “What a way to end this season,” said Coach Byklum. “We hadn’t played for four weeks and after having COVID and dealing with everything this year it was great to see both sides get to play the game and then we have a great high school football game like this. To see the smiles on both sides, it was a special night and getting the win makes it a little better!”
Polk County West ends the season with a 3-1 record and say goodbye to seven seniors – Daniel Roth, Adam Sczepanski, Jory Vasek, Dylan Evitts, Gage Wavra, Harmon Swiger, and Griffin Johnson.
East Grand Forks ends the season with a 2-4 record and say goodbye to 10 seniors – Jeremiah Haavig, Sam Votava, Brody Schultz, Brandon Anderson, Gus Welsh, Eric Trebil, Jack Fuller, Mati Alanis, Collin Peterson, Cole Gerber.
An interview with Polk County West Coach Darrin Byklum is below –
|Polk County West||7||0||7||0||0||7||21|
|East Grand Forks||0||0||0||14||0||6||20|
3:53 – PCW – Sam Gapp 28 yard interception return (Cullen Rohrich kick)
6:23 – PCW – Sam Gapp 1 yard run (Cullen Rohrich kick)
11:11 – EGF – Cole Gerber 9 yard pass from Sam Votava (Justin Overgaard kick)
3:12 – EGF – Sam Votava 24 yard run (Justin Overgaard kick)
EGF – Brody Schultz 27 yard pass from Sam Votava (kick blocked)
PCW – Sam Gapp 5 yard run (Cullen Rohrich kick)
|TEAM STATS||Polk Co. West||EGF|
|Polk County West||East Grand Forks|
|Sam Gapp 18-123||Carter Vasek 25-86|
|Gage Wavra 6-25||Sam Votava 8-42|
|Mike Gapp 2-9||Caleb Schmiedeberg 6-31|
|Adam Sczepanski 1-5||Brandon Anderson 2-2|
|Will Rohrich 1-(-1)||Brody Schultz 1-0|
|Isaac Zavoral 1-(-6)|
|Sam Gapp 6-10-0 82 yds||Sam Votava 8-15-1 72 yds|
|Gage Wavra 2-19||Brody Schultz 3-32|
|Adam Sczepanski 2-12||Carter Vasek 2-12|
|Cullen Rohrich 1-28||Cole Gerber 2-12|
|Landon Denney 1-21||Tanner Campos 1-13|