THIEF RIVER FALLS -- Northland recorded a safety with 2:40 left in the game when they sacked Ridgewater quarterback Jackson Illies in the end zone and the Pioneers went on to defeat the Warriors 9-7 in a junior college football game on Saturday.
Ridgewater dropped to 1-3 this season, while Northland improved to 2-2.
"Our players play hard each and every game, but we don't make the plays when need it," said Ridgewater coach Rob Baumgarn. "The bottom line is we are a good football team. Our record may not show it, but if we want to win games we have to make plays on offense and defense."
Northland outgained Ridgewater 281-203 in total yards. Each team turned the ball over once on an interception.
Northland got on the board first when James Grant scampered 17 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Ridgewater responded with a 25-yard scoring pass from Jackson Illies to Marcus Thames to make it 7-7.
That score stood until the fourth quarter when the Pioneers capped the scoring with the safety. After a punt pinned the Warriors bacon their own five, the Warriors decided to pass.
"We went to our bread and butter on the first play," explained Baumgarn. "We went with a quick hitch because they were hammering us on the run."
A Northland defensive lineman got to Illies and dropped him in the end zone for the two points. Northland got the ball back and Ridgewater's defense, which has been solid all season, forced the Pioneers into a fourth-and-one on their own 30 with 1:20 remaining in the game.
Surprisingly, the Pioneers elected to go for it. Ridgewater had the play stopped in the backfield, but Damon Evans managed to get the yard with a second effort. Northland then ran out of the clock for the win.
Isiah Athey ran for 112 yards in 28 carries for the Warriors. Illies completed only 9 of 30 passes for 76 yards and an interception. Keante Johnson and Elijah Lee had three receptions apiece.
Ridgewater plays at Fergus Falls next Saturday beginning at 3 p.m.
Northland 9, Ridgewater 7
Ridgewater (1-3) 7 0 0 0 -- 7
Northland (2-2) 7 0 0 2 -- 9
North - James Grant 17 run (kick good)
Ridge - Marcus Thames 25 pass from Jackson Illies (Elijah Swen kick)
North - Safety.
First downs: 14 ... Rushing: 39-127 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 9-30-76-1 ... Fumbles lost: 1... Penalties: 4-30
Rushing: Isiah Athey 28-112, Zack Neubarth 5-11, Jackson Illies 3-4, Cameron Halveron 1-(-1), Andy Rausen 1-25 ... Passing: Illies 9-30-76-1 ... Receiving: Anton Bed 1-5, Jake Bothun 1-4, Keante Johnson 3-28, Marcus Thames 1-25, Elijah Lee 3-14 ... Punting: Daryl Thomas 6-28.7 ... Interceptions: not available ... Fumble recoveries: n/a ... Tackles (solo-assist): n/a ... QB sacks: n/a
First downs: 12 ... Rushing: 35-174 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 4-11-107-1 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 6-65
Rushing: James Grant 11-65, Tyron Cheesboro 8-9, Tevan Grant 6-16, Damon Evans 6-31, Carl Joseph 4-53 ... Passing: Grant 4-11-107-1 ... Receiving: Mohammed Diabate 3-77, Roosevelt Morriset 1-30 ... Punting: not available ... Interception: n/a ... Fumble recoveries: n/a ... Tackles (solo-assist): n/a ... QB sacks: n/a