Wolfpack lose in overtime after late comeback, fall to 0-1


Tommy Verhey

WORK IN PROGRESS. The Wolfpack lost their first game of the season against Fridley at Blake’s campus. Senior captain Brody Rindelaub said, “I think our offense needs to step up and be able to stack up some points when needed and the defense needs to keep playing like we did tonight.”

On Friday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m., the SMB Wolfpack took on the Fridley Tigers to open up their season. The Wolfpack looked to bounce back after an underwhelming 6-4 season in 2021.

After several short three-and-outs by both teams, the clock sat at eight minutes left in the first quarter when Wolfpack quarterback Merrick Woods forced a pass that was intercepted by a Fridley safety and returned 60 yards for a pick-six. Fridley’s quarterback ran in the two-point conversion, and the Tigers took an early 8-point lead.

Both sides had trouble getting points on the board after multiple threatening red zone attempts ended in no scores. A Wolfpack fumble inside the 20-yard line and an additional two interceptions from Woods deflated the team’s spirit and energy as the clock winded down.

But, as the game moved into the fourth quarter, the student section again came alive. With the newfound energy on and off the field, Merrick Woods lofted a beautiful 38-yard pass to wide receiver Kobey Sandifer for a touchdown. Running back Landon Dillon ran in a two-point conversion to tie the game at 8-8.

With four minutes still left on the clock, both teams had an opportunity to seal the game before the end of regulation, but once again, neither could reach the endzone. The game was headed to overtime.

The rules of overtime for MSHSL Football outline that each team gets a chance of possession, starting at the opposing team’s 10-yard line. The game continues until one team completes a series with more points than the other.

The Wolfpack won the coin toss and started the overtime period with the ball. On the second play, Landon Dillon broke free for a nine-yard rush into the endzone. Unfortunately, the two-point conversion attempt was no good, and the score stood at 14-8.

The Fridley Tigers regained possession of the ball and now had a clear lane to victory. All they needed was a touchdown to match the Wolfpack and a PAT to seal the victory.

After three strong defensive plays, the Tigers sat on fourth and goal with 10 yards to go. Isaiah Watson, a receiver for the Tigers, broke free from SMB senior cornerback Ruben Rubio and found himself wide open in the endzone. Tiger’s quarterback Myson Newman lofted a pass right into Watson’s arms to tie the game at 14-14, and all Fridley needed was an extra point to seal the overtime victory.

Even with the loud, distracting cheers of students behind the goalposts, the Tiger’s kicker was able to wedge the ball just inside the left upright, making the score 15-14 and handing the Wolfpack their first loss of the season.

Senior captain Brody Rindelaub said, “I think our offense needs to step up and be able to stack up some points when needed and the defense needs to keep playing like we did tonight.”

We are now focused on working for next week’s battle.

— Joey Stoplestad

Senior captain and linebacker Joey Stoplestad added, “Friday was a tough loss with Fridley being a great team. We [the Wolfpack] are now focused on working for next week’s battle.”

SMB will play their next game on Friday, Sept. 9th at 7 p.m. at North High School.