Braham stayed atop the Great Polar Football Alliance Red standings by thrilling the Sept. 21 Homecoming crowd with a 48-26 victory over Mesabi East, coming through with a myriad of big plays.
Tackle Alex Sutton led the defensive charge that stopped the Giants in Braham territory on the opening possession. Freshman quarterback John Larson used his feet, then found Shaun Hollenkamp and Casey Grell (twice) for catch-and-runs which set up Larson’s 17-yard TD sprint around the left end.
The Giants drove and scored on a 4th-and-1, but Bryce Lanhart blocked the extra-point. Right away, Larson perfectly hit Zach Dahlman for a 26-yard out-and-up. Larson weaved in for a 19-yard scoring run, then Dahlman made it 15-7 when he turned a bobbled extra-point snap into a two-point flip to Dylan Altendorf.
The young Bomber QB’s one glaring mistake was eye-balling Hollenkamp on an out, and Giant linebacker Neil Seibert turned it into an easy 58-yard pick-six to make it 15-12. That’s as close as the Giants would get the rest of the way as the Bombers doubled East’s offensive output in the first half.
Hollenkamp closed out the first-half scoring by leaping for a 12-yard TD lob for a 22-12 Bomber lead at the break. Grell burst out the first play of the third quarter with a 66-yard scoring catch. Hollenkamp made it 35-12 when he next hauled in a 21-yard TD pass from Larson.
After East cut it to 35-20, Altendorf punctuated the victory with a 70-yard touchdown reception.
“That was a great catch by Dylan Altendorf on a 3rd-and-long for a long TD pass. Dylan just wanted it more than the defensive back,” exclaimed Bomber Coach Shawn Kuhnke.
Allowing 271 rushing yards to the Giants is a continued working point for his Bombers this season, noted Coach Kuhnke. “We need to stop the run better than we did tonight to be successful. We have a very tough schedule the rest of the way,”
Next up: A big battle for the GPFA Red Conference lead at Barnum Sept. 28. After opening with losses to Moose Lake-WR (21-7) and Cloquet, the northern Bombers posted consecutive wins– 30-7 over tough Cook County and 40-7 over Ogilvie.
Braham 48, Mesabi East
First Downs 17 21
Rushing 22/125 51/271
Passing 13/11/1 14/6/1
Passing Yds 278 69
Total Yds 403 340
Bomber Individual Stats
Rushing: Larson 10/77, 2 TD; Hollenkamp 1/16; Johnson 1/15; Grell 3/11, TD. Passing: Larson 13/11/1- 278 yds, 4 TD. Receiving: Grell 4/114, TD; Hollenkamp 6/68, 2 TD; Altendorf 1/70, TD; Dahlman 1/26. Tackles: Hollenkamp 13 (sack), Stromlund 7.5, Held 7, Lanhart 6.5, Sutton 6, Dahlman 6, Grell 5. Kicking: Dahlman 4/4 xpts, 8 kickoffs 36.5 avg.
Great Polar Football All. Red: Braham 3-0, 3-1; Barnum 2-0, 2-2; Deer River 2-1, 2-2; Cook Co. 1-1, 2-1; East Central 1-2, 1-3; Ogilvie 0-2, 0-4; Mesabi East 0-3, 0-5