HARRIS - Two neighboring teams met Friday night, and it proved to be a defensive battle from start to finish, with only a handful of spectacular plays to boost the North Central Jets to a 26-6 victory over the Bark River-Harris Broncos.
The Jets struck first blood when Rob Granquist put the finishing touches on a 63-yard drive with a nine yard touchdown pass to Devin Woodrazka with 3:58 remaining in the first quarter.
The second quarter began with the score 6-0. North Central's defense shut down another Broncos drive, forcing them to punt, but their plan backfired. Bark River pinned the Jets at their own two yard line, and on the first play from scrimmage, Granquist threw a pick-six to Alex Emmes, tying the score at 6-6.
Justin Marietti | Daily Press
Devin Woodrazka of North Central finds a hole in the first half as Bark River-Harris defenders Kyle Kleiman (84) and Hunter Messersmith (14) close in, Friday at Harris.
Both teams made excellent defensive stances, and North Central found themselves with the football with only 1:33 remaining in the first half. That turned out to be more than enough time for Granquist, who led his team on a 57-yard scoring drive finished off with a 10 yard touchdown reception to Andrew Estrada, giving his team a 12-6 advantage heading into the second half.
The Jets were to receive the ball for the third quarter kickoff, and that possession turned out to be the dagger. Josh Granquist took the ball 75 yards for a touchdown on the opening kickoff, making the score 18-6.
The Broncos faced a drought on offense in the second half, never making it to the end zone. This was due in large part to the Jets stifling defense, which came away with three interceptions for the game.
Score by quarter:
North Central 6 6 6 8 - 26
Bark River 0 6 0 0 - 6
North Central, 109 yards (Woodrazka 4-35); Hancheck (7-42); Granquist (8-31);
Bark River, 116 yards (Malone 29-94); (Sodergren (9-22);
North Central, (Granquist 6-14-2-89)
Bark River, (Sodergren 6-12-2-45), Johnson (1-3-1-9)
In the fourth quarter, North central scored one final touchdown on a 29-yard touchdown run by Dyllion Hancheck. They capitalized on the two point conversion, and put the game out of reach, 26-6.
North Central improves to 3-1, and the playoff picture is starting to look brighter with every game they add to the win column.
"We played awful hard," said Jets coach Kevin Bellefeuil. I think our kids played great defensively. We really played hard offensively. A couple things to work out with the offensive line, but we'll figure it out."
In regards to Bark River, Bellefeuil has the utmost respect. "They don't quit, and they played awful hard tonight."
Bark River coach Brad Wiljanen felt the loss as hard as anyone on his team.
"It's an inner pride thing," he said. "We got outplayed a little bit, and as coaches I think we didn't figure things out fast enough."
On Sept. 21, North Central resumes their road run against Forest Park, while Bark River is headed to North Dickinson.