The Mondak Thunder football team, a coop of Grenora High School and Westby High School, defeated the Circle High School Wildcats 32-6 on Saturday, Sept. 12.
This was the third game the team won in a row this season, its first as an 8-man football team.
But what separates this game from the other two this season is what Mondak Thunder did on defense.
Head coach Blake Lampert said Saturday’s game was the first time they had a four-man front on defense.
He said they were running a 4-3 defense throughout the game, something his team is new to because of the switch from 6-man football to 8-man football.
A switch, he said, has been awesome.
“I didn’t think the kids would take to it this well but yeah, they’re doing awesome,” Lampert said. “We got linemen that are stepping in and doing awesome stuff. It’s cool, it’s cool.”
And by running a 4-3 defense, the Mondak Thunder defense was able to put a lot of pressure on Circle’s quarterback, preventing the Wildcats from gaining little to any yards most of the game.
In general throughout the game, Mondak Thunder’s defense and offense were both clicking.
Early on, the team established a 14-0 lead (first quarter), and before halftime, the Thunder were able to strike again.
Adian Harbin intercepted a pass from the Circle quarterback with 20 seconds left in the second quarter, giving the Thunder a chance to score before halftime. With the ball at Circle’s 12 yard line, MonDak capitalized on that chance, as Darian Holecek completed a touchdown pass to Keegan Nelson with 10 seconds left in the half.
With a completed 2-pt conversion, MonDak led 22-0 at halftime.
The MonDak offense did not have much more to do in the second half, but it did not need to because the defense made sure to not let Circle get anywhere.
Circle did manage to get a touchdown, though, with 9:23 left in the fourth quarter.
Circle’s quarterback lobbed a pass to his receiver in the end zone, and MonDak’s Erik Field actually tipped the pass. Unfortunately for the Thunder, though, the Circle receiver corralled the ball after bobbling it himself a couple times.
MonDak answered back one last time, as Nelson took the handoff on a first and 10 at the Thunder’s own 34 yard line and ran it all the way for a touchdown. The two-point try was converted, and MonDak had the 32-6 lead that it held all the way to the final horn.
Overall, Lampert said there is still work that needs to be done.
But he said his team’s ability to adapt to a different way of playing football has been great.
He said at this point whenever the players hear the calls, they know exactly what to do and they are flexible.
Sidney Herald reporter Dillan Schorfheide contributed to the story.