Area Male Athlete: Goodrich sparks Flyers to victory

In a game that may catapult the Little Falls Flyers to a great season, Brighton Goodrich made the play. Flyers head coach Jay DeCann recreated it as if it was unfolding before his eyes. "We were just flat and then on a kickoff return he was going...

Brighton Goodrich
Brighton Goodrich

In a game that may catapult the Little Falls Flyers to a great season, Brighton Goodrich made the play.

Flyers head coach Jay DeCann recreated it as if it was unfolding before his eyes.

"We were just flat and then on a kickoff return he was going and he ran right at a guy," said DeCann. "He went hard and lowered his shoulder and ran over him. Then he ran for 15 more yards and was just carrying a couple of other guys the whole time. That was the spark that got us going. He was inspirational in leading our comeback."


  • Brighton Goodrich
  • Year: Senior
  • School: Little Falls
  • Sport: Football
  • Position: Running back, safety
  • Highlights: Rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns, caught three passes for 30 yards and sparked a comeback victory



Little Falls trailed Thief River Falls 34-7 at halftime of its season opener on the road. The Flyers then scored 21 straight points in the third quarter and then scored the game's final 15 points to pull off a 43-40 victory.

"The mood at halftime, I would say, we were together pretty strong," Goodrich said. "We were more focused in the second half than on how we came out in the start. We knew we were a better team and that we could do this."

Goodrich finished with 168 yards on 20 carries for an 8.4 yards-per-carry average. He scored on a 53-yard touchdown run to start the second half and scored earlier in the second quarter from 28 yards out. He also caught three passes for 30 yards.

On defense, the three-year starting safety finished with four tackles.

"He's been our starting safety since 10th grade and he started a few games at tailback last year when Jalen Wuchko was hurt. He split time in the backfield last year," DeCann said.

"This year, I thought we had a two-headed monster with Brighton and Thomas Miller rotating in the game, but Brighton just had a great night so we kept him in the game. Like in baseball when your pitcher has a hot hand, you just leave him in the game. He kind of put the team on his shoulders and carried us to the win. He was a huge spark plug."

Last season, Goodrich rushed for 451 yards on 104 carries for a 4.3 yards-per-carry average and two touchdowns. He also passed for an 83-yard touchdown and caught two passes for 18 yards. His 646 all-purpose yards were second on the team.

"He's deceptively quick," said DeCann. "He is very shifty. He's got great feet and reads the block of his linemen very well. He's a tough, hard-nosed kid. He's only 175 pounds, but he's not afraid to lower the shoulder pads on a guy."


Goodrich acknowledged he has big shoes to fill with the graduation of Wuchko, who rushed for 1,344 yards on just 162 carries. It was his goal to come into the season ready so the offense didn't lose a beat. Defensively, however, he was ready

"I'm a lot more relaxed this year and more confident in what I'm doing," said Goodrich. "Offenses are no longer targeting me as the underclassman. They don't throw to my side as much. It's fun back there. I like playing safety."

Last season, Goodrich was second on the team with 76 total tackles. Forty of those were solo efforts. He added one tackle for loss, one-half of a half a sack and two pass breakups.

"My first year here he kind of got thrown into the safety position as a sophomore," DeCann said. "As a junior he was all-conference. We're looking for huge things from him as a senior."

The victory was a team effort as Austin Fenske threw for three touchdown passes, all to Kyle Kabanuk, who caught the game-winning, 38-yard score with 27.7 seconds left. While the comeback was nice, DeCann believes it will be more important than just a number in the win column.

"It came against a very good football team," said the coach. "They're a very good football team. This will be a huge confidence boost for our team. The seniors were here as sophomores and were 2-7. They've been kind of the ringleaders in getting guys excited about football. They've done a great job of leading the way. We're at a point right now where we feel pretty confident."

Goodrich, who also plays basketball and runs track, said anything is possible after last week's comeback.

"It will spark our fire a lot more for every game," he said. "If we're losing that doesn't mean we can give up. We came back from 34-7. Anything is possible. We just need to keep our heads up and play hard and do what we can."


Other notable performances:

Football: C.J. Borleis, Pequot Lakes, threw for 195 yards and four touchdowns on 7-of-8 passing. He also kicked a field goal in the win over Staples-Motley.

Sebastian Elsenpeter, Pequot Lakes, rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught a TD pass against Staples-Motley.

Robbie Skiba, Pierz, rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns against Milaca. He also caught a TD pass.

Colter Ehrmantraut, Verndale, rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Hancock. He also returned a punt for a touchdown.

Kyle Kabanuk, Little Falls, caught three touchdown passes, including the game-winner, against Thief River Falls.

Austin Fenske, Little Falls, threw three touchdown passes against Thief River Falls.

Jake Larson, Crosby-Ironton, rushed for two touchdowns and caught another against Mesabi East.


Zach Schertler, Wadena-Deer Creek, threw for 104 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards and another score against West Central.

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