Fridley’s Tra’Vione Stevenson ran for 9 yards late in the first half, giving the Tigers their first touchdown. Fridley went on to defeat the Wolfpack at home 14-0 Friday night. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
The Tigers’ Michael Ude breaks a tackle Friday night in a 14-0 win over SMB in the season's opening game. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
It wasn’t a standard senior night at Bob O’Neill Field on Friday.
For one, Fridley held its annual halftime ceremony honoring the Tigers’ elder statesmen in the season opener — as opposed to the regular-season finale.
Another difference Friday was the end result, as Fridley defeated SMB, a co-op of St. Paul Academy, Minnehaha Academy and Blake, 14-0 for the first time in three meetings in a Twin City Maroon Subdistrict tilt.
“I think our kids went through so many ups and downs. Are we going to play a season, are we not going to play a season?” said Fridley coach Justin Reese. “I think coming into this game the most important thing I told our players and our seniors is have fun. We don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s why I made senior night the first game of the season. Why not make it against SMB, which is a great program?”
The Wolfpack defense put together two fourth-down stops to keep the Tigers scoreless in the first quarter. Fridley had the yardage advantage all night, though, and finally got on the scoreboard in the second quarter.
A pair of 2019 Class 4A state tournament teams met to open the 2020 season Friday evening.
Fridley shut out SMB, a co-op of St. Paul Academy, Minnehaha Academy and Blake, 14-0 in a Twin City Maroon Subdistrict matchup at Fridley High School.
Fridley (1-0, 1-0) controlled the first half, logging 186 yards of offense compared to just 36 from the Wolfpack, but the Tigers took only a 7-0 lead into the halftime break. SMB (0-1, 0-1) managed to keep the game close with its defense, which got off the field with two turnovers on downs before Fridley scored.
Quarterback Tra’Vione Stevenson capped a nine-play drive with a 9-yard rush up the gut with 4 minutes, 35 seconds until halftime. Mya Karsten converted the extra point.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Wolfpack freshman quarterback Merrick Woods left the game with an injury. He was replaced by senior Rob Grace, who led the Wolfpack to a pair of first downs on his first drive before penalties derailed momentum.
The Tigers made it 14-0 when a six-play, 72-yard drive ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Stevenson to Zach Gotsch with 4 minutes, 26 seconds left in the third quarter.
A turnover on downs in the red zone, an interception and another turnover on downs — all in Fridley territory — stalled SMB’s comeback effort on the ensuing drives.
The Wolfpack's Rob Grace looks for an opening late in the game Friday night. SMB lost 14-0 to Fridley. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
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