Losing eight starters to graduation, Jamestown’s defense had many questions in the preseason.
Grand Forks Central turned the ball over four times and finished with just 57 yards of total offense in Jamestown’s 27-0 nonconference win at Ernie Gates Field.
“Last year, we had that great year,” said junior linebacker Ben Hanson, referring to the Jays’ first playoff appearance in five years. “We really feel like we need to build on that and keep it going.”
The Knights finished with just 18 yards rushing on 24 attempts, with Hanson playing a big part at outside linebacker.
“Ben Hanson played phenomenal,” Jamestown coach Tim Fletcher said. “We saw a lot of good things out of some young guys at linebacker. We expected to see trips and doubles, and Ben made some big plays. I’m extremely happy with our defensive line.”
Grand Forks Central coach Bill Lorenz said mistakes in the form of bad snaps and dropped balls led to multiple three-and-outs. Knights quarterback Kaleb Binstock was 7-of-16 for 39 yards and an interception, while Brock Reller rushed four times for 25 yards.
“Our defense played well, but we have to make plays on offense,” Lorenz said. “We self-destructed at times.”
Jamestown had 282 yards of total offense, dominating time of possession in the first quarter.
Senior quarterback Ross Monson plunged in from a yard out for the game’s first score, as part of a 14-play, 77-yard drive that was set up by a 32-yard catch from Logan Anderson. The Blue Jays had the ball for 9 minutes, 31 seconds in the first.
“We knew they were gonna come out and be physical and run the ball at us,” Lorenz said. “It took us a little while to adjust to it.”
In the second quarter, Monson hooked up with Wanzek on an 8-yard slant for the second TD. Monson added another 1-yard TD run before halftime for a 20-0 lead and ended the contest 5-of-18 for 64 yards passing.
The Knights stiffened in the third quarter, holding Jamestown scoreless. The Blue Jays had to punt on all three of their possessions.
“Any coach would be disappointed in that third quarter,” Fletcher said. “I was hoping we’d come out and really set the tone. Grand Forks played hard and came out ready in the second half. Give credit to them.”
Jamestown received a stellar performance on the ground from senior tailback Scott Nelson, who ran 21 times for 124 yards. Nelson, who also had an interception, scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth, which capped the scoring.
Hanson added 11 carries for 75 yards, helping Jamestown rack up 218 yards of rushing offense.
“We came out really hard and really good,” said Hanson, whose team visits West Fargo Sheyenne next week. “It’s a great start.”
Jamestown 27, Grand Forks Central 0
GFC 0 0 0 0 — 0
JHS 7 13 0 7 — 27
J—Ross Monson 1 run (Ben Hanson kick), 6:03.
J—Noah Wanzek 8 pass from Monson (Hanson kick), 10:41.
J—Monson 1 run (kick blocked), 1:22.
J—Scott Nelson 4 run (Hanson kick), 2:53.
Offense GFC JHS
Rushing 18 218
Passing 39 64
Total 57 282
RUSHING: GFC, Brock Reller 4-25, Bryce Brandon 11-15, Kaleb Binstock 8-(-15), Nick Lund 1-(-7). J, Nelson 21-124, Hanson 11-75, Monson 6-9, Nolan Love 2-10, Andrew Hornung 1-0.
PASSING: GFC, Binstock 7-16-1 39. J, Monson 5-18-0 64, Hornung 0-0-0 0.
RECEIVING: GFC, Wyatt Koppang 2-18, Chancler Devier 2-11, Cody Aarvig 1-7, Spencer Oen 1-5, Lund 2-3. J, Logan Anderson 1-32, Wanzek 2-20, Love 1-8, Layne Carlson 1-6.
TURNOVERS: GFC 4 (3 fumbles), J 0.
INTERCEPTIONS: J, Nelson.
Records: GFC 0-1, Jamestown 1-0.
Sun sportswriter Chris
Aarhus can be reached
at (701) 952-8462 or email@example.com