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Dragons Battle Hard Against Undefeated Greenbacks

Posted 10/12/2017

By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—The Halstead Dragons gave an undefeated Pratt team a run for its money last Friday night. Down 14-39 going into the fourth quarter, the Dragons scored twice in the final period and nearly a third time, but ended with a 30-39 loss.

“We didn’t get the win, and I hate moral victories with a passion, but I thought our guys came out and competed,” head coach Jason Grider said.

He said Halstead had a lot of young guys compete well against the Pratt Greenbacks and added he thought the seniors played the best they’ve played all year and showed a lot of character.

“This team’s got a lot of heart,” he said. “I’m as proud of these guys as I’ve been of anybody I’ve coached right now. I’m proud of the effort.”

Last week’s loss gives the Dragons a 2-4 record.

Pratt came out strong, and Halstead had to punt on both its first two possessions without getting a first down while the Greenbacks were able to score twice, putting the game at 0-13 with just under three minutes left in the first quarter.

Things started looking up for Halstead when sophomore Aric Probst made a 94-kickoff return, ending on the Dragons’ one-yard line. Sophomore Scott Grider was able to get into the end zone on the next play, and the two-point conversion by junior Bryant Odendahl put the Dragons within five.

The Greenbacks quickly responded on the very next play, scoring a touchdown on a 63-yard play to bring the score to 8-19.

Both teams scored once in the second quarter, Pratt off a 13-play drive that culminated in a 20-yard pass, and Halstead off a two-yard run by S. Grider. At halftime the score was 14-25.

Pratt scored twice more in the third, including a 67-yard run into the end zone.

Down 14-39, the Dragons began to chip away at the deficit going into the final period.

“I don’t think we were ever out this game,” Grider said. “I think we gave up a couple big ones, but I don’t think ever out of it.”

Senior Noah Mendez caught the ball from 36 yards out to score for the Dragons, and S. Grider got the conversion, 22-39.

Pratt had to punt on its next two possessions after failing to get a first down. With 3:26 left on the clock, senior Dalton Kraus found the end zone from five yards out after a quick three-play drive. The conversion by S. Grider brought the score to 30-39.

The Dragons attempted to get the ball back with an on-side kick but were flagged for a 10-yard violation. Pratt couldn’t get a first-down again and decided to punt, but the Dragons blocked the kick to recover the ball on the 20-yard line. Their attempted touchdown pass fell incomplete, and after the Greenbacks got a sack on fourth down the game ended 30-39.

“I think we did give them a run for their money,” Grider said. “I think we realized we can play with the big boys now.” He noted that Halstead had played the most physically against Pratt than any other team this season, beating on them until they were worn down.

Leading rushers were S. Grider with 97 yards on 26 carries and D. Kraus with 86 yards on 14 carries. The Dragons combined for 218 yards rushing.

D. Kraus completed four of seven passes for 64 yards. Mendez was on the receiving end of two of those, good for 45 yards.

The Dragon defense was led by D. Kraus with 16 total tackles, Propst with 10 and Kaden Kraus with nine.

Pratt had 313 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards.

This Friday Halstead takes on the Haven Wildcats (2-4) at home.

 For more coverage of Halstead sports, please see this week's print edition.