by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Maple Grove’s veteran defense was as good as advertised while the untested offense opened with a bang. The result was a 41-0 home win over Armstrong Aug. 29.
“I thought we had a good opener and played hard all night,” Maple Grove coach Matt Lombardi said. “We have many things to work on, but we were able to capitalize on some opportunities late in the first half and have some big runs by Tahi Nomane that gave us momentum going into halftime.”
Nomane gave a brilliant performance in his Maple Grove debut. The senior running back scored on touchdown runs of 5, 56 and 75 yards in the first half to give Maple Grove a 21-0 halftime lead. The Crimson home crowd was chanting “Tahi, Tahi” after he wiggled and dashed his way into the end zone on his spectacular third TD run.
Nomane was not done entertaining the fans as he opened the third quarter with a 46 yard TD run. He finished with 246 yards on 11 carries. In all, the Crimson rushed for 418 yards. Clark Wieneke had 71 yards on nine carries and Tyler Coyne delighted the crowd with his hard-nosed running. He scored one TD and had 47 yards on seven rushes. Brandon Cross scored the last TD on a five-yard run.
“Our offensive line did a great job of producing holes all night, our backs ran hard and got a lot of extra yards, and Karl Altenberg, a sophomore quarterback making his first start, did a nice job dictating the game,” Lombardi said.
Altenberg completed six of 11 passes for 94 yards and one interception. Will Ampe had three catches for 51 yards and Brady Engelke had two for 27.
Defensively, the Crimson kept Armstrong in check. The Falcons never seriously threatened to score. Linebacker Emmanuel Ehrich had three tackles for loss, one sack, eight total tackles and two pass break ups. Linebacker Peder Olson had seven tackles and free safety Jake Engelken had nine tackles.
“I felt we started to play at the expected speed and swarm to the ball in the third quarter and they showed glimmers of what they can become,” Lombardi said. “It’s fun to see them grow and keep getting better daily. It’s always good to get a win in the opener and hopefully we will keep getting better facing Hopkins next week.”
Contact Bob San at firstname.lastname@example.org