Wahpeton traveled to Valley City, North Dakota, and had the hosts on the ropes during their Friday, Oct. 4 conference battle. The Huskies trailed 7-0 after two quarters, but big plays by the Hi-Liners to start the second half sparked their 35-8 victory.
“It definitely was a heck of a fistfight and we were excited, because we thought we were outplaying them and we were,” Wahpeton coach Wade Gilbertson said. “I know the score was 7-0 and wouldn’t indicate that, but we had them where we wanted them.”
Wahpeton’s defense was locked in to start the game. The tacklers were playing as a unit and multiple players, including Dez Munezero, Treyton Link, Kobe Thimjon and Wauker Spanel, stood out in the physical showing.
“It was an amazing effort. We changed some things on defense, we changed some personnel around a little bit and our defense responded,” Gilbertson said. “They were really tough tonight. They were getting to the ball, making plays and we challenged them to play hard, play together and they really did on that side of the ball.”
Big plays on special teams flipped the momentum to the home team. Valley City took the opening kickoff of the second half to the house and on the ensuing kickoff a Wahpeton player slipped at his own one-yard line, which led to a safety.
“It happened all in the first half of the third quarter. Those first six minutes of the second half were vital. We just couldn’t come back from it,” Gilbertson said. “We just couldn’t get our footing back. We lost hold of the momentum that we had and we just couldn’t get it back. It happened that fast.”
Munezero, who ended the day with 44 yards on 11 carries, got Wahpeton on the board with a short-yardage score. Link ran in the two-point conversion.
The score didn’t come until the fourth quarter when the visitors were playing catch up.
“It was a really rough game and we lost our composure a bit when things didn’t go our way in that second half. We showed our age there a little bit and our inexperience, but that’s part of learning and growing up as a team,” Gilbertson said.
Wahpeton plays their final home game of the season at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 against Kindred, North Dakota.
“They look beatable. We’ve got a shot. Some of our seniors are going to say goodbye to Frank Vertin Field and hopefully we’ll have a good crowd and some excitement throughout the week,” Gilbertson said. “We’ve still got a shot at the playoffs. We don’t want to look too far ahead, because we just want to make sure we’re taking this one day at a time and winning every single day one day at a time.”