Minneota roughs up BOLD

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The entire 2017 football season felt like a warmup for an inevitable battle between BOLD and Minneota. Friday morning in Marshall, the Section 5A match of the undefeated lived up to the hype.

In a game that felt more like a constant tug-of-war, the Minneota Vikings took the win and the state tournament berth with a 35-22 win against the top-seeded Warriors.

BOLD owned the early part of the game, forcing a fumble on the opening drive and turning their own opening offensive drive in for a touchdown by Austin Einerson to take an early 6-0 lead. The Warrior defense came out firing, even after that fumble, forcing a punt, interception and another punt in the next three drives.

BOLD used that defense to take a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter but it was Minneota's defense that came away with the most recognition. The Vikings held BOLD to 204 yards, giving the offense better field position with each drive.

Minneota picked up the pace in the second quarter with a touchdown run by Isaac Hennen and a pair of touchdown passes to Thomas Hennen to take a 20-14 lead into halftime.

Penalties bit BOLD as the second half wore down, giving Minneota good field position for both touchdown passes.

"That was a frustrating stretch," said BOLD head coach Steve Solem. "We were calling plays at the line and (Minneota) shouted out other words to shift their defense but our guys jumped."

Rather than carrying a 14-6 or 14-12 lead into halftime, Minneota took the lead with an impressive to-drag touchdown by Thomas Hennen for 19 yards.

"That changed a lot," Solem said. "Instead of a lead, we had to change our game plan a bit and the mood was just different."

In the second half, Isaac Hennen and the bruising Viking offense took control. Hennen ran for 161 yards on 24 carries in the second half alone, finishing with 32 carries for 191 yards.

"Size-wise, they had our kids beat," Solem said. "Hennen was the best example of that. You have a guy that's 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, you're not going to arm tackle him. We just had to drag him down. He's a strong player and we couldn't figure out how to slow him down."

The fact that Hennen wore down BOLD's defense translated to the other side of the ball as well. Aside from a seven-yard touchdown catch by Gavin Vosika late in the fourth quarter, BOLD's offense was kept in check after the first 13 minutes of the game.

The result ends BOLD's season at 10-1, just one win shy of a state tournament berth for the third year in a row. Minneota, on the other hand, now looks to a meeting with Mahnomen (10-1) at noon Nov. 11 in Alexandria.

"I don't see how anybody gets past them," said BOLD offensive coordinator Daren Sagedahl. "We have a lot of athletes that can match up with them and we gave it our all. That's a good team."

Though a tough loss for the Warriors, Solem said he was happy with his players.

"Our kids worked hard all day," Solem said. "There were some kids who really stepped up today and played tougher than they have all year. Minneota has a few things that they do so well and we couldn't stop them. We both have very good players, they just played a bit better today."