On a cold, windy, snowy night, the Vikings easily handled the visiting Duluth Denfeld Hunters, winning 59-14.
All of the scoring the Vikings needed came in the first two quarters as North Branch ran all over the winless Hunters, coupled with taking advantage of Denfeld turnovers. At halftime, North Branch had racked up a 32-0 lead.
Duluth’s only success came in the third quarter as a long touchdown drive was quickly followed by a fluke fumble that Denfeld ran back for a touchdown to give the visitors their only scores of the game. It didn’t take long for the Vikings to regain momentum, rebuilding their insurmountable lead to the final 59-14 score.
North Branch’s final game of the regular season was held on Wednesday, Oct. 16, in Grand Rapids. Based on current section standings, North Branch will in all likelihood host either these same Hunters or Hibbing in the first round of the section playoffs on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The Vikings experienced their second loss of the season, falling to River Falls, Wis., in straight sets on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
The team’s loss total would double last weekend as North Branch competed in the huge St. Michael-Albertville tournament. After winning their first two matches of the tournament on Friday, Oct. 11, over Lake of the Woods and Hopkins by 2-0 scores, North Branch would fall twice out of three matches on Saturday.
Minnetonka would be the first team to top North Branch in the tournament, with the other loss being to the same River Falls team in their final match of the tournament. Between those two losses, North Branch would beat Sioux Falls O’Gorman. All of the finals were 2-0.
The Vikings now have a break before section action begins on Oct. 23, where NB will be the heavy favorites to retain their section crown and return to St. Paul to defend their state championship.
After being seeded 13th in the section tournament, the Vikings went out and upset the #4-seeded North Lake Academy 3-0 in the opening round of the tournament. Ava Mohs scored twice, and Sylvia Linkert added the third goal for the win.
North Branch couldn’t repeat the upset in the next round as #5 seed Duluth Marshall would shut out North Branch 6-0, ending their season.
The Viking boys team was also seeded 13th for their section tournament, facing #4 seed Duluth Denfeld. Unfortunately, the boys couldn’t match the girls’ upset win, falling to the Hunters 2-1 in a close game, ending their season in the first round.
The North Branch doubles team of Sophie Smith and Hollie Ohnsorg had a solid showing in the Section 7AA individual tournament, advancing to the third round before falling to a talented Elk River team. The two wound up getting a first round bye as their opponents withdrew due to illness. In the second round, the duo cruised past a Chisago Lakes team by scores of 6-4, 6-2.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Viking individual competitors had a tough time, with each of them falling in the first round in straight sets.