As Maple Grove quarterback Aaron Germain headed from the football field to the warmth of the locker room Friday night, he carried on a conversation with a teammate.
The problem was, he had trouble talking, his voice barely above a raspy whisper.
As it turned out, that was the only real difficulty that Germain and the Red Dragons had on a frigid night on the Dutch Hollow Road.
Above, Maple Grove’s Derek Johnson, left, is brought down by Frewsburg’s Zach Haller during Friday night’s Class D game. Below, Maple Grove quarterback Aaron Germain picks up some yardage. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Scott Kindberg
Germain completed 5-of-7 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 40 yards and another score to lift Maple Grove, the state's top-ranked team, to a 49-15 victory over Frewsburg in their Class D regular-season finale.
The win improves the Red Dragons' record to 7-0 heading into next week's first-round Section 6 playoff contest against winless International Prep
If last night is any indication, Maple Grove will be quite formidable.
Scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions, the Red Dragons raced to a 28-0 halftime lead and cruised to victory in their most complete game of the season.
In addition to Germain's fine performance, Coach Curt Fischer received contributions from a host of others. Senior running back Oliver Simpson eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing barrier for the season, accumulating 111 yards on 19 carries, and scored a touchdown; senior Dalton Bolles accounted for two TDs, the first on a 60-yard pass reception and the second on a 29-yard interception return; senior Derek Johnson caught a 20-yard scoring pass; senior Chris Jones found paydirt from 4 yards out; and sophomore Jonah Tanner crossed the goal line from the 3. Senior Erik Olson booted seven successful extra-point attempts and Maple Grove left the field showing why it has been atop the New York State Sportswriters Association poll for the last four weeks.
''That's what we've been looking for for so long,'' Fischer said. ''Man, there were a lot of different people who scored. We really saw balance tonight. We had a great week of practice.''
But unlike Fischer-coached teams of the recent past, this group, courtesy of a strong offensive line, does much of its damage on the ground. In fact, on the Red Dragons' first possession, they moved 86 yards in 11 plays - 10 of them runs - and capped it off on Germain's 9-yard keeper. Simpson carried the ball six times for 26 yards and Germain found senior Jeff Tampe on a 38-yard catch and run that put the hosts inside the 10.
It was a sign of things to come, especially with Germain at the controls.
''He's a different quarterback, because he's an athlete and he runs the ball very well,'' Fischer said.
The Bears (3-4), meanwhile, moved the ball, but were plagued by turnovers and execution failures, which doomed them.
Senior quarterback Nick Munella, who completed 18-of-34 passes for 170 yards, ran for a second-quarter touchdown and senior running back Devone Adelgren rushed for 89 yards, including 45 to complete a successful hook-and-lateral that resulted in a third-quarter TD.
''Believe it or not, I thought we played better than we have the last couple weeks,'' said Frewsburg coach Terry Gray, whose saw his team suffer its third straight loss. ''Physically, I thought we matched up well and we weren't intimidated, but they out-executed us. We made mistakes and they didn't make any. They played a very good game. We tried to go to some no-huddle ... and we executed it well, but we had turnovers. This year is summed up by too many mistakes.''
While the Red Dragons were hitting on all cylinders offensively, their defense was also stout. Tanner collected six solo tackles, three assists, intercepted a pass, forced a fumble and recovered another, while Bolles had four solo stops and four assists to go along with his pick six.
''We just have to keep building on tonight,'' Fischer said. ''That's the most important thing. We've got to keep clicking. This is the biggest week of practice. We really have to turn it up a notch.''
NOTES: Simpson, unofficially, has 1,009 yards rushing on the season. ... Adelgren led the Bears with 12 tackles while teammate Austin Lynn added nine. ... Adelgren booted an extra point and Munella connected with Josh Nelson on a two-point conversion pass.
Frewsburg 0 7 8 0 - 15
Maple Grove14 14 14 7 - 49
MG-Germain 9 run (Olson kick)
MG-Bolles 60 pass from Germain (Olson kick)
MG-Johnson 20 pass from Germain (Olson kick)
MG-Jones 4 run (Olson kick)
Frew-Munella 1 run (Adelgren kick)
MG-Bolles 29 interception return (Olson kick)
MG-Simpson 4 run (Olson kick)
Frew-Adelgren 45 run (Nelson pass from Munella)
MG-Tanner 3 run (Olson kick)