A big second quarter helped turn the tide for Blaine in a 31-21 win at Robbinsdale Armstrong Sept. 7.
The Falcons started strong in the Northwest Suburban Conference opener after quarterback Quinne Frisell found receiver Duncan Harless on an 52-yard play for the game’s first score, 1:41 into the contest.
A 25-yard field goal by Blaine kicker Grant Boege was followed by Bengals quarterback Alex Copa’s first of two touchdown runs in the game. He finished with 166 yards rushing on 33 carries, completing 13-of-24 passes for 128 yards.
Copa’s 11-yard touchdown run gave the visiting Bengals a 10-7 lead at the 11:39 mark of an explosive second quarter during which the teams combined for 35 points.
“Offensively, we felt good about the way we moved the ball on the ground and defensively we had some kids in wrong spots,” Bengals coach Tom Develice said about the second quarter.
Twelve seconds after Copa’s first touchdown, Armstrong’s Frisell made his second long touchdown score, this time on an 80-yard connection with receiver Dexter Betts to retake the lead 14-10. Blaine retook the lead 17-14 after Copa scored on a 5-yard run. The Falcons hung with Blaine as Frisell hit Betts on an 11-yard touchdown reception to lead 21-17.
Thirty-two seconds later Blaine running back Nate Kroutil scored a 48-yard touchdown to give the Bengals a 24-21 lead into halftime.
Develice said part of the break was spent reorganizing the defense so that the right player was in the proper position for the given coverage.
Kroutil added his second touchdown of the game, this time from 2-yards out with 8:38 left in the third quarter in what would be the final score of the game, 31-21. Kroutil finished with 115 yards on 14 carries to go along with six kickoff returns for 312 yards to give him 459 all-purpose yards.
“Offensively, we struggled and really could have put the game away a bit more but overall it was a good team game for us,” Develice said. “What it shows is that our kids, on any given night have to be ready to perform. Sometimes it’s the offense that needs to step up for the defense or the defense that needs to step-up for the offense.
“So far the special teams have done a really good job of stepping up and in the end it helps them realize that what they do really does matter.”
Osseo (1-1) travels to Blaine this week after a 31-28 loss to Minnetonka Sept. 6. The Orioles historically have used the long ball as a weapon to stretch defenses, the deep-fade route in particular. “We’ll do some different things with disguising our coverage because their coaches are really good at reading the opposition,” Develice said. “The biggest thing for us is to realize they are going to make plays but we can’t beat ourselves up over it and have to move on to the next play.”
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