There wasn’t as many points scored as a year ago, but it’s safe to say the Elk River-Buffalo showdown still lived up to the hype. In another back-and-forth battle, the Elks proved victorious yet again, outlasting the Bison by a score of 46-37.
Like last year’s 80-70 Elk River victory — the highest scoring game in state history — it was a battle of opposites, as star senior quarterback Aidan Bouman lit up the Elks for 385 yards and five touchdowns through the air while Elk River stuck to their bread and butter, rushing for 571 yards and six touchdowns including a team-high 329 yards and four touchdowns by senior running back Joe Nordstrom.
Nordstrom’s longest run of the game came late in the first quarter, scampering 80 yards to the end zone and putting the Elks up 16-7 after Dylan Ball recorded the first score of the game on an 18-yard run earlier in the quarter. Bouman responded to the long Nordstrom run with a 34-yard touchdown strike to Trevor Johnson — his second touchdown of the game after a 6-yard score late in the first quarter — to put the Bison within a point after a successful 2-point conversion with 10:34 to go in the half.
The score would remain 16-15 going into halftime, as the Elks went on a 9-minute drive but failed to score, turning the ball over on downs at the Bison 5-yard line.
With the ball to start the second half, Nordstrom broke free once again, completing a 4-play, 84-yard touchdown drive with a 79-yard score. Nordstrom added a 34-yard touchdown run on Elk River’s next possession followed by a 48-yard touchdown run by Rahim Avery on their third possession of the half. Yet, the Bison responded each time, as Bouman hit Michael Tweten with touchdown passes of 10, 60 and 50 yards, respectively, to make it a 39-37 Elks lead after three. Tweten finished with a game-high 201 receiving yards on nine catches.
In the fourth, Nordstrom completed his four-touchdown night, scoring from 6 yards out with 9:56 to go in the game. Sophomore kicker Rylen Keoraj proceeded to convert his second extra point attempt of the game, giving the Elks a two-possession lead.
Buffalo looked poised to respond again, but despite driving into the red zone, they got backed up by two penalties and Bouman couldn’t complete a couple heaves into the end zone, resulting in a turnover on downs with just over five minutes to go. The last attempt — coming on 4th & 17 from the Elks 22-yard line — was knocked down by senior corner Bobby Heinzen, who led the Elks with four pass deflections.
Elk River went on to run out the clock on their final possession of the game, sealing the 46-37 victory and improving to 2-0 on the season.
(Pictures, Stars of the Game to come.)