Cover photo from the Star Tribune.
Like they have most of the 2017 season the Spring Grove Lions jumped on Nevis early on and dominated the Nevis Tigers en route to a 32-0 win. Although the game was in hand by the half, there were five moments that I felt defined Spring Groves' victory.
Nevis had stopped Spring Grove on their first drive and a Nevis punt pinned the Lions' offense deep in their own territory. After picking up a couple of first downs to get them out of the shadow of their own goalpost, Cullen Patterson got the corner for a 45-yard run. One play later, Alex Folz – who was the best player on the field - scored a rushing touchdown. He got the corner behind a block from George Boyd to score the game's first touchdown.
After a successful fake punt Nevis – who at the time was only down one score – had swung the momentum in their favor. One play later all that momentum was gone. The Tigers were in the midst of a solid 1st down run that was about to set them up with a 2nd and short when Folz punched the ball out of the running backs' arms. Sam Sanness made the recovery and the short field set up Spring Grove's second touchdown.
Speaking of the second Spring Grove touchdown, Folz dropped back to pass and looked . . . and looked . . . for a receiver. Sanness, Boyd, Austin Patterson and Taylor Holty kept the Nevis pass rushers off of Folz for at least five seconds before he found Ethan Matzke in the back corner of the end zone. Matzke also caught a much shorter pass to convert on the 2-point conversion and give Spring Grove a 14-0 lead.
Even when Nevis was in position on defense Spring Grove made plays. Folz – who is just a junior – had no business completing the fade pass he threw into the front corner of the end zone to Luke Schneider. The throw – however – was right on the money and even with the defender draped over him; Schneider made the catch and tumbled over the goal line for the touchdown.
The first drive out of the locker room Nevis lined up for the 14th play of their opening drive with a chance to get on the scoreboard and get back into the game. Previously on the drive, the Tigers converted on a 4th down to keep the drive alive, and they were facing another in the red zone. On 4th and seven Nevis called a rollout pass, but Matzke put pressure on the quarterback and took away any running opportunities. As the pass was thrown, Folz was in tight coverage on a crossing route and helped cause the incompletion.