Stroup shines for East
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Fargo South graduate Bobby Stroup made himself comfortable at his future football home Saturday. The University of North Dakota recruit returned a fumble 44 yards for a touchdown to help the East defeat the West 17-7 during th...
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Fargo South graduate Bobby Stroup made himself comfortable at his future football home Saturday.
The University of North Dakota recruit returned a fumble 44 yards for a touchdown to help the East defeat the West 17-7 during the North Dakota Shrine Bowl 11-man game Saturday at the Alerus Center.
"That was fun," Stroup said. "Someone yelled fumble and I just picked it up. I thought I was going to get caught from behind."
Stroup's game-changing, fourth-quarter play was the gem of a defensive struggle.
The West took a 7-0 lead on a 50-yard interception return by defensive lineman Justin Gallagher early in the second quarter.
On the play, Hettinger's Dustin Vliem drilled quarterback Tim Oksendahl to force a wobbly pass.
Gallagher snatched it out of the air and ran untouched down the sideline for the score.
"We couldn't get into a rhythm offensivley," West coach Mark Gibson said. "But we played very well defensively."
The East tied the game at 7-7 on a 37-yard touchdown pass by Oksendahl to Nick Houkom with 3:53 remaining in the second quarter.
The West had an opportunity to pull ahead late in the second when Minot Ryan's Brock Awalt recovered a Mike Dawson fumble on the East 23-yard line.
The West had first-and-goal at the 6 before a fumble and a holding call pushed them back to the 21.
East defensive back Nick Shannon of Fargo Shanley ended the West threat with an interception in the end zone on fourth down. It was his second interception of the first half.
The West went three-and-out on its first five offensive possessions and earned its initial first down with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter.
"One thing I think we overlooked was their defensive speed," Gibson said. "I thought their linebackers played outstanding. And Bobby Stroup had a heck of a game."
Stroup, who forced the fumble on a sack before scooping up the loose ball and running into the end zone, gave the East the 14-7 advantage with 10:18 remaining in the game.
Brandon Hellevang, another UND recruit, sealed the win with a 30-yard field goal with less than a minute left.
Grand Forks Central graduate Ryan Chappell led the East with 60 yards on nine carries.
Quarterback Drew Flaagan, a former Beulah standout, was 10 of 21 for 106 yards for the West.
"We figured we would win by a field goal," Stroup said. "It was a defensive struggle for sure."
East 0 7 0 10-17
West 0 7 0 0- 7
W-Gallagher 50 interception return (Vliem kick)
E-Houkom 37 pass from Oksendahl (Hellevang kick)
E-Stroup 44 fumble return (Hellevang kick)
E-Hellevang 30 FG
PASSING: E, Oksendahl 1-6-2, 37 yards. Dawson 2-8-1, 21. W, Flaagan 10-21-2, 106.
RUSHING: Oksendahl 2-(-6), Dawson 4-2, Chappell 9-60, Kelly 3-22, Diedrich 9-24, Nordstrom 4-15. W, Kittelson 11-39, Samuelson 16-45, Davis 4-7, Keller 1-1, Wagner 1-(-2).
RECEIVING: Chappell 1-11, Mahar 1-10, Houkom 1-37. W, Murphy 1-23, Davis 2-21, Nichols 3-33, Vliem 2-19, Kittelson 1-8.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562