Grand Rapids football battles back to state for 1st time in 15 years

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At the beginning of this season the Grand Rapids football team suffered the loss of two starters to injuries, quarterback Andy Thomsen and running back Jake Smith.

While missing from their lineups, the Thunderhawks played with their spirit to earn their first state berth since 2006.

"It’s kind of the same as how life is," senior running back Jack Cleveland said. "Nothing is guaranteed, nothing is predicted, so whatever you get thrown at you have to learn to work around it and learn how to have adversity. Basically learn from it and move on."

The Thunderhawks adapted well, making defense the name of their successful game. Throughout the season they have held opponents to under 14 points in seven games, including three shutout wins.

They hope that line will come out strong in their Class AAAA quarterfinal match against Orono. Despite only notching two regular season wins, Orono notched their last four straight wins to secure a state tournament berth.

Kickoff in the quarterfinals is 7pm Thursday at Osseo High School.