The Ada-Borup football team appeared in state for the third straight year today as they met up with the unbeaten Blue Devils from Grygla-Gatzke in the FargoDome this afternoon. Grygla-Gatzke handed Ada-Borup their only loss on the year, as they beat the Cougars in the first game of the season, 42-22. The winner of today’s match up, would advance to the state tournament semi-finals which will be held at Mall of America Field in Minneapolis.
The Cougars would get the ball to start the quarter-final game. Ada-Borup started their offensive attack off with hard running up the middle. After the Cougars picked up a first down, they tried to get down field quickly through the air, but Jace Hennen’s passes were out of reach of Ian Halle and Acie Ambuehl. The Blue Devils would take over possession after a Jeff Petrik punt and went right to work. Grygla-Gatzke did nothing else but run the ball and push the Cougar defenders out of the way on pitches outside to senior Dillon Olson. Ada-Borup was able to force multiple third down attempts by the Blue Devil offense, but they nearly converted every one, until the Cougars got a stop. Grygla-Gatzke came out on fourth down with no other thought than to try and make Ada-Borup jump offside, but the Cougar defensive line held their positions, making the Blue Devils call a timeout. To set back Grygla-Gatzke even more, a false start was called on fourth down, creating a fourth down and eight scenario. Cole Halstad of the Cougars came up big, as he sealed off the outside on a pitch to the left, giving his team the ball on their own 37 yard line with 5:48 left to play in the first quarter. Ada-Borup would once again pound the ball hard up the middle with dives, but good gang tackling by Grygla-Gatzke prevented a Cougar first down. Ada-Borup was forced to punt, but after Petrik got the ball away, Blue Devil lineman Chris Ostby ran into him, giving the ball back to the Cougars. Ada-Borup quarterback Jace Hennen took the ball from his center Mike Qualley, surveyed the field and fired the ball down field, but it landed in a Blue Devil defenders hands. Tyler Schulz came away with the interception, then became quarterback on the next play. Schulz took a quarterback keeper 28 yards to the Cougar 7 yard line, allowing teammate Dillon Olson to scamper into the end zone for the first points of the game with 1:44 to play in the 1st quarter, 6-0. The Cougars took over possession and went three and out while time expired in the first quarter.
The second quarter opened up with Ada-Borup by punting the ball after the quarter ending three and out drive. The Grygla-Gatzke offense had good field position to work with, and it tried something new. After not throwing a single pass the first quarter, the Blue Devils attempted their first. It was a bad decision. Ian Halle picked off Tyler Schulz’s pass at the Cougar 46 yard line, with 10:31 to play. The Cougars would look to get their passing game started once again, but Hennen continued to overthrow his receivers, and the Cougar running game was stopped by good tackling and penetration through the offensive line. Ada-Borup would have to punt once again. After the Cougar punt, Grygla-Gatzke would rely on running once again, but this time, the Blue Devil backs turned over the ball to the Cougars on a fumble recovered by Bill Atwood with 8:35 to play. Another pass play was called, but this time Hennen kept the ball and scrambled for a 14 yard pickup down to the Blue Devil 24 yard line. The Cougars would be faced with a fourth down and seven situation within the red zone with 4:30 left in the half. Ada-Borup chose to go for it through the air, and this time Jace Hennen found Brandon Burke who made a sliding catch in the endzone to put the Cougars on the board, 6-6. Following the touch down, Jeff Petrik squib kicked the ball, got a high bounce which was grabbed by Robbie Miller, but Miller would get the ball jarred loose from his grip, and Ada-Borup would recover. The Cougars would march 48 yards down field for a score, capped off by an 11 yard diving touch down by Aaron Olson. Ada-Borup had a 12-6 lead with 3:01 to play in the first half. After Grygla-Gatzke’s mistake on the last kick off, the Cougars tried another squib kick. It worked. Ryan Merkens recovered the Blue Devil fumble on the kick off, giving the already pumped up Cougar fans even more to cheer about. Ada-Borup would be unable to make anything happen from the fumble recovery, but went into the locker room with all the momentum and a 12-6 lead over Grygla-Gatzke.
The Blue Devils had the ball to start the second half, and they got to work quick. The second play of the drive was a 66 yard rushing touch down by Dillon Olson, and the 2 point conversion was good. Just like that, the Blue Devils regained control of the lead with 9:32 to play. The Cougar’s next drive would end short with an Aaron Olson fumble, recovered by Grygla-Gatzke. During the Ada-Borup drive, the Blue Devil’s quarterback Tyler Schulz broke his arm, and we quickly discovered sophomore Daniel Polansky would take over his duties at quarterback. It made no difference as to who was quarterback for Grygla-Gatzke, as the Blue Devils continued to progress down field as they had the entire game. Ada-Borup would come up big on third down though, as they stopped the Blue Devils drive short of the end zone on the 3 yard line, with 2:44 left in the third quarter. Ada-Borup called a time out to discuss the upcoming fourth down. The Cougar defense was able to stop the Blue Devil ball- carrier on a pitch right 2 yards short of 6 points; giving the Ada-Borup offense another try to score with 2:37 to play. The Ada-Borup offense went straight to work, with Hennen connecting with junior Ian Halle to the 45 yard line, then Brandon Burke took a quick pass 30 yards down field to the 15 yard line. Aaron Olson ran two consecutive times, with the second time being the charm, as he ran in for a 12 yard touch down, then followed with a two point conversion catch to give Ada-Borup a 20-14 lead with 1:18 left in the third quarter. Grygla-Gatzke received the Petrik kick and started the drive deep in their own territory, but a 54 yard run by quarterback Daniel Polansky turned the field around, as the Blue Devils were now on the Cougar 31 yard line. Threatening to score, Grygla-Gatzke ran a quarterback keeper, but Polansky went the opposite way of his lead blockers, and paid the price. An unblocked Bill Atwood laid a hard hit on Polansky, causing a fumble that the Cougar defense recovered on their own 9 yard line. Ada-Borup would start there as the third quarter came to a close with the Cougars leading, 20-14.
Ada-Borup tried to get out of their own 10 yard line with runs to Aaron Olson and Bill Atwood, then a half back pass, but they all failed, and the Cougars were forced to punt. Jeff Petrik sent a long, high punt towards Daniel Polansky, who called for a fair catch. Polansky never received the ball, but it bounced in front of his body, then up and off of his pads and right into the hands of Brandon Burke. Burke took the ball all the way to the end zone for six points, but the head referee saw otherwise and whistled the play dead upon Burke’s contact with the ball, giving Grygla-Gatzke the ball back and becoming a Blue Devil patron. The Blue Devils would score by a quarterback sneak, but the field goal was missed, and the game was tied with 8:31 left in regulation. Brandon Burke gave the Cougars good field position to start the next drive at the 38 yard line, but it was wasted, as Aaron Olson coughed up the ball at the 45 yard line, as Grygla-Gatzke recovered with 7:21 to play. The Blue Devils would take advantage of the fumble via the rushing game. Dillon Olson surged forward 25 yards to the 14 yard line, his run was followed up by a quarterback keeper touch down by Daniel Polansky to give Grygla-Gatzke a 26-20 lead with 4:53 left in the fourth quarter. Ada-Borup got the ball and had 4:41 to work with before time expired. The Cougar offensive line allowed for Hennen to have plenty of time in the pocket all game, but their quarterback was sacked for the first time for a loss of six yards in a crucial moment. With 3:20 left to play, Hennen hurled a pass downfield that landed in the hands of Blue Devil Daniel Polansky, meaning a Cougar defensive stand was a must. The Cougars would get just that, but a little late, as the Ada-Borup offense would take the field with only 0:21 to score and 68 yards ahead of them. Ada-Borup got to the Blue Devil 31 yard line with 0:04 left, as the time to do something big was now. The Cougar offense lined up, Hennen received the snap, surveyed the field, fired downfield to his left to Aaron Olson who went up for the ball, but Daniel Polansky broke up the pass and ended the Cougars run for a victory. The final horn sounded and the scoreboard showed – COUGARS 20 BLUE DEVILS 26.
Ada-Borup loses seven outstanding seniors including Brandon Burke, Jeff Petrik, Tanner Grunewald, Chase Sawrey, Adam Alshalan and the two captains, Bill Atwood and Aaron Olson. Ada-Borup rushed for 156 yards and threw for 120 for a total of 276 yards on the day, while Grygla-Gatzke amassed 530 rushing yards and 36 passing yards for a total of 566 yards. The Cougars season ends at 9-2.