Troopers blow past Standing Rock
By STU MERRY
The Garrison-Max Troopers stopped a five-game losing streak, ending the season on a high note this past Saturday, defeating visiting Standing Rock 54-20 in a Region 4 Class A match-up in Garrison.
"Saturday was a nice way to finish," said Coach Jason Mattheis. "It’s always good to end with a win to carry some confidence over to our next seasons (basketball, track, golf, baseball, etc.) Our guys played hard and they were rewarded with a win."
The Warriors, who came into the contest 0-5, fielded 15 players, while the Troop dressed 22. Their roster at the beginning of the season was 29. With the Warriors being short numbers a wrinkle to the game was when the Troopers were on offense the teams played 11-man. When the Warriors had the ball the teams converted to nine players on the field.
There was plenty of offense. Playing exclusively from a wing-T formation the Troop spread the wealth as seven different players stepped foot in the end zone. Leading the way for Garrison-Max was Nick Thompson who rambled for 116 yards on nine attempts. His counterpart, lanky, yet big Taran Fox, bowled his way for 176 yards.
Lamenting the Troopers’ injury/illness-filled season, Mattheis said the team found ways to keep playing hard. "We had a lot of guys step in to try to replace injured/sick starters," he said.
When QB Noah Sloka went down with a concussion, Gabe Lassila was called on to take the snaps. He filled in admirably, both on offense and defense.
The O-line and D-line was also tinkered with to compensate for absent players. "We got good contributions from Joey (Krzmarzick) and Collin (O’Grady) in fill-in roles and had Levi (Kinn), Sam (Larson), Dylan (Stumvoll), and Dom (Ruhland) really step up big for us," Mattheis said. "Our line was our most consistent group this year, but it was also the group that lost the least amount of guys throughout the season, even though they did lose one of our best guys in Dakota Rand."
Forced to compensate, the groundwork was laid for future teams as underclassmen saw plenty of game time.