Park football: Alt, Wolfpack roll Forest Lake 36-6 in finale
Park’s defense forced four turnovers and its offense hummed along Wednesday in a 36-6 victory over Forest Lake to end the regular season.
Wolfpack senior safety Ryan Klika returned an interception for a touchdown in the first half and senior defensive lineman Cody Linssen picked off a pass in the second half. Senior defensive back Sully Brenke and sophomore Jordan Jiles recovered fumbles as Park (3-5, 3-5 SEC) put together its strongest defensive performance of the season.
“It was probably the cleanest I’ve seen our defense play,” Wolfpack senior linebacker Anthony Valladares said. “We were on cue. After seeing how we tackled against Cretin and Woodbury … we took that out at practice. We took out all the bad habits we had in practice.”
Park gang tackled and wrapped up throughout the game and limited the Rangers (0-8, 0-8 SEC) to 199 yards of total offense. Valladares led the team with 11 tackles while Linssen and Jiles each had seven.
Wolfpack head coach Darin Glazier said the win had a different feel from the previous two victories this season.
“We put away a team that we felt like we were better than and that felt good,” Glazier said. “It felt good that it’s not a shock to go out there and beat someone. It’s just what we needed to get ready for the playoffs.”
Park freshman quarterback Brandon Alt threw four touchdown passes. Alt had a 39-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Elias Arlington, a 51-yard touchdown to senior wide receiver Ken Gay, a 6-yard touchdown to junior wide receiver Jeb Melson and a 25-yarder to junior running back Brandyn Tulloch.
The strike to Tulloch marked the fourth time out of five attempts Tulloch has scored a touchdown on that play this season.
“They had confidence early on that they felt like they could compete,” Glazier said. “When they have that confidence it seems to show up on the field a lot more. What matters is everybody did their job and that’s exactly what we needed heading out of the regular season.”
The Wolfpack offense rolled up 299 yards of total offense and led 29-0 at halftime. Alt finished 15 of 22 passing for 263 yards. Arlington caught five passes for 99 yards while Melson finished with five catches for 50 yards and Tulloch had two catches for 50 yards and 39 yards rushing on 11 carries.
The three wins this season stands as the most for the program since 2007 when it went 5-5.
“I think it’s very telling on what a team can do when nobody cares who gets the glory and they’re playing unselfish football,” Glazier said. “We’ve lost some pretty significant players throughout the season and the next guy steps in and just does the job. That says a lot for a group of guys. You don’t get teams like that every year.”
Ending the regular season with a victory also serves as motivation moving into the section playoffs.
“It gives us a lot of motivation,” Tulloch said. “We’re not trying to have a one-week postseason. We want to win this playoff game and keep the season going.”