Ty's Take: WF football season ends with win over visiting Knights
There wasn't anything on the line, except maybe pride. They could just have easily given up and called it a year.
But they didn't, and even after falling behind 8-0 early in the second quarter to visiting Grand Forks Central, the Packers fought to the bitter end in their last game of the 2011 football season Wednesday.
And when all was said and done, and the final whistle blew, the Packers chalked up their third victory of the year, 19-8, over the Knights.
It was a bittersweet moment, as the win made a four-way tie at the bottom of the Eastern Dakota Conference, and the No. 4 seed got a spot in the postseason. West Fargo and Fargo Davies were the two front-runners, but because the Eagles took a win over the Packers earlier this year, they won the berth.
West Fargo was 2-4 in conference play and 3-6 overall; the lowest they've finished since going 2-7 in 2001.
After a scoreless first quarter Wednesday, Central struck first blood when Chad Goering scored on a 4-yard run in the second quarter. Ryan Griggs punched through for the 2-point conversion to give the Knights an 8-0 lead.
After getting pushed back to their own 47-yard-line from a false start that put them third down and 12, Packers quarterback Tucker Bucholz threw his first of three interceptions on the night with five minutes left in the half.
For a moment, a chance at coming back seemed far-fetched. But on the ensuing play, the Knights fumbled the ball and Ben Bruenjes recovered it to give the Packers another shot.
West Fargo fought from their own 38-yard line up to Central's 43, but the knights held and forced a punt on fourth and 17.
The Packers, however, returned the favor, holding central to a couple short running plays and forcing them to punt on fourth down.
But West Fargo had less than a minute in the half to get the score. They worked the ball all the way from their own 36 to the Knights' 34 when a Bucholz pass near the end zone missed its target. Flags were thrown, however, and the defending Knight was called for pass interference, moving the Packers up to the 19-yard-line and allowing them one final play with no time left.
Bucholz took the snap, hesitated, then fired a high pass to Jamie Heinen in the end zone. The 6-foot, 2-inch junior jumped in the air, snatched the ball, and landed with both feet in bounds for the touchdown.
West Fargo tried a two-point conversion of its own, but the run was stopped.
The Packers got the ball to start the second half, and didn't give it up often for the remainder of the game.
West Fargo's next two scores both came from runs by Bucholz. The senior finished the night with 30 yards on the ground and 166 yards passing, completing 12 of 27 with three interceptions.
Alex Spacek led West Fargo in rushing with 113 yards on 28 carries. Heinen and Justin Heisler both put had more than 55 yards receiving and averaged more than 11 yards.
Boys soccer players earn All-State distinctions
Three West Fargo boys soccer players earned All-State honors this year.
Senior Brandon Beyer was the Packers' lone first-team All-State honoree, while senior Paul Lanctot and junior Brady Rotert were named to the All-State second team.
The Packers finished 12-8-0 overall and were runners-up in the East Region. They hit a snag at the state tournament, however, and were bumped after losing to Bismarck St. Mary's and Davies.