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Oakes rolls by Fargo Oak Grove in football

Grovers take third loss to start season as Oakes wins 50-14.

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Fargo Oak Grove’s Jack Deitz narrowly escapes from Oakes’ Landon Ptacek and Joseph Schaefer on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at West Fargo High School.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum
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WEST FARGO — The Fargo Oak Grove Grovers absorbed a 50-14 loss Friday night at the hands of the Oakes Tornadoes in West Fargo.

The Tornadoes got up early — taking advantage of Grovers mishaps to earn the edge — and never looked back.

Miscues, like the opening kickoff that saw the Tornadoes jump on the ball deep in Grovers’ territory, are what ultimately took Oak Grove out of contention, said Grovers head coach Melvin Whitney Jr.

“It seems like there was a lack of focus on the little things,” Whitney said. “We couldn’t get the snaps right, we couldn’t get a kick or a punt off or anything like that. We were snapping the ball when the running back was coming by. I don’t know if it was a lack of focus or just nervousness or what it was. But, we have to figure it out because we have six games left.”

Despite the scoreboard, the Grovers players stayed supportive.

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Fargo Oak Grove Head Coach Melvin Whitney Jr. talks to player Avery Quiner during their football game against Oakes on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at West Fargo High School.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

“I’m not going to ever quit on my team and no team that I coach will ever quit,” Whitney said. “It’s a testament to that mentality. We’re not going to quit. We just need to figure out how to come out and maintain it for four full quarters. We’ve shown glimpses of it here and there.”

Oak Grove was able to score in the third and fourth quarters.

In the third, sophomore Brady Donabauer ran the ball in — following a 23-yard pass from sophomore Jack Deitz to senior Jesse Peterson — from the 2-yard line to get the Grovers on the board.

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Fargo Oak Grove’s Brady Donabauer runs past the 35-yard line during their football game against Oakes on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at West Fargo High School.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

Sophomore Griffin Olson took one in on his feet from 12 yards out in the fourth to earn the second Grovers’ score of the night.

Oak Grove also came away with three interceptions in the game as Deitz, Andrew Green and eighth-grader Kai Zabel all snagged Tornadoes' passes. For Deitz and Zabel, it was the first interceptions of their varsity football careers.

Whitney is hopeful the efforts of the younger players will help push the whole team to improve.

“We had some stuff there, the interceptions and the younger guys getting in there and showing some spirit and some energy,” he said. “Heck, maybe they’ll push some of these older guys when we start pulling some of the older guys out and putting some younger guys in there who don't really know any better.

“You see a lot of those kids run in there, they don't have all those predisposed notions of what it should be like. They just go out there and play hard. Maybe that’s what we’ll do. We’ll push some of the older guys with the younger guys.”

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Oakes’ Trey Skoglund is tackled by Fargo Oak Grove’s Foster Lund and Andrew Green on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at West Fargo High School.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

For Oakes, the win was the third of the season after taking down Sargent County and Central Cass in Weeks 1 and 2.

Despite the strong start, Oakes coach Greg Dobitz still has areas where he believes his team can improve.

“We’re a good football team, but we have a lot of things we need to get better at,” Dobitz said. “Oak Grove gave us a challenge running the football and we have to get better at that. In North Dakota, you have to be able to run the football later in the year. If we want to be a playoff team that wins games in the playoffs, we have to run the ball.”

Dobitz added that the Tornadoes' defense has been a big part of the team’s success so far this season.

“I really like the way our defense plays, fast and physical,” he said. “We take the football away and we have a bunch of good athletes that play hard.”

Next week, Oakes will battle Park River at 7 p.m. Friday.

On the slate for the Grovers is a trip to Kindred to face the defending state champion Vikings at 7 p.m. Friday.

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Oakes’ Blayson Dolney intercepts a pass to Fargo Oak Grove’s Griffin Olson on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at West Fargo High School.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum
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Fargo Oak Grove’s AJ Tyler attempts to take down Oakes’ Joseph Heim during their football game on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at West Fargo High School.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum
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Oakes’ Joseph Schaefer gets tackled into the end zone by Fargo Oak Grove’s Luke Johnson and Foster Lord on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at West Fargo High School.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

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