The North Branch Vikings upped their season record to a perfect 6-0 last week with a 46-20 victory over Duluth Denfeld. After spotting the Hunters a six-point lead early in the game, the Vikings rattled off 30 consecutive points on a pair of touchdown runs by Ashton Labelle, another TD run by Andrew Thauwald, and a pass by Thauwald to Adam Johnstone to make the score 30-6 in the middle of the second quarter.
Denfeld then scored two touchdowns on passing plays to make the halftime score 30-20, but that was all the Hunter scoring the Vikings would allow, while adding rushing touchdowns by Loghan Croal and Ryan Oday in the second half to create the 26-point margin of victory.
The Bluejackets suffered their second-straight heartbreaking loss, this time falling to Chisago Lakes 24-21 in the inaugural “Dala Trophy” game. Like usual, the two teams engaged in an instant classic, with both offenses amassing exactly 289 yards of total offense.
The Jackets jumped out to a 7-0 lead on their opening drive, capped off by a touchdown run by quarterback Ari Sullivan. Chisago tied the score in the second quarter, making the halftime score 7-7. The Wildcats would gain their first lead early in the third quarter, but a Sullivan touchdown pass to Braden Jones, followed by a Jones touchdown run gave C-I a 21-13 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Chisago Lakes again tied the score up early in the fourth quarter. As the time ticked away, it was appearing like it was going to be another late-game score that decides it, which is exactly what happened as the Wildcats kicked a 23-yard field goal with just 31 seconds remaining. One last C-I drive came up just short on the second Wildcat interception.
North Branch finished their regular season with a 3-2 win over Princeton and a 2-1 loss to DeLaSalle, making their final regular season record of 11-4-1, good enough for the #3 seed in Section 7AA. The Vikings took on #6 seed Hibbing on Tuesday, Oct. 12, beating Hibbing 5-1. They now will play Grand Rapids in the semifinals on Thursday, Oct. 14. A win in that game sends NB to the section championship on Tuesday, Sept. 19, which will be played at the highest remaining seed’s home field.
The Jackets ended their season winless, falling in their last two regular season games 4-1 to St. Francis and 2-0 to Sartell. The Jackets, who were given the #8 seed in Section 7AAA, lost to Centennial 11-0 in the opening section tournament game.
The Viking boys team came up with their fourth win of the season last week, topping Lakes International Language Academy 5-2. They then lost their final regular season game 2-0 to Duluth Marshall. The Vikings were given the #7 seed, where they faced Grand Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 12, losing to the Thunderhawks 4-1.
Like the Jacket girls, the boys were unable to pick up a victory this season. They too were given the #8 seed, where they faced Duluth East on Tuesday, Oct. 12, losing to the Greyhounds 11-0.
The Jackets’ roller coaster ride of a season took another twist last week. After getting defeated by North Branch 3-1, the Jackets completed their home schedule by beating Princeton 3-1 despite being without their primary setter and one of their middle hitters. In the win over the Tigers, Makenzie Coplan and Ada Schlenker powered C-I’s attack by coming up with 18 and 14 kills, respectively. Brooklyn Dickey came up with 34 assists in the match. Also because of the absences, Abigail Wimmer had to switch from her libero position to a full-rotation position, picking up four kills. Senior Abigail Semler took over the libero spot, coming up with 14 digs.
The Vikings also had an up-and-down, and then up again week. After topping C-I, NB fell to Monticello 3-0. They concluded the week with a 3-1 showing at the Sauk Rapids-Rice Tournament, beating Hopkins 25-22, 18-25, 15-7; Jordan 25-9, 25-14; and Sauk Rapids 25-22, 25-23; but losing to Litchfield 22-25, 25-18, 9-15.
The Jackets and Vikings both took part in the Hinckley-Finlayson Invite last week. The Jacket boys claimed the team championship in the meet, paced by a third place finish by Jaxon Jones, a fifth by Zandr Gallmeir, a sixth by Hunter Jacobson, Cal Droubie coming in eighth, Blake Roberts coming in ninth, and Leo Edblad adding a tenth place finish. The Viking boys came in fifth, with Zachary Johnson coming in 32nd.
On the girls side, C-I came in third thanks to a fifth place finish by Makenna Sjoberg and an eighth place finish by Kendyl Izzo. The Vikings finished in seventh, with Cora Hudella finishing 15th.
The Jackets also ran in the Duluth East Invite, with the boys coming in third and the girls coming in fifth. Jones again led the boys, coming in ninth, while Sjoberg had a 12th place finish for the girls.
Girls swimming and diving
The Jackets completed their dual meet schedule with a 105-73 loss to Becker, in a meet where the Bulldogs finished first in every contested race before swimming the final three races as exhibition only.