Proctor defense shuts down Falls' Brackins
Proctor coach Dave Hylla admitted the numbers were intimidating. International Falls running back DeAngelo Brackins entered Friday's Section 7AAA high school football championship game on a tear likely unseen in Northeastern Minnesota history, in...
Proctor coach Dave Hylla admitted the numbers were intimidating.
International Falls running back DeAngelo Brackins entered Friday's Section 7AAA high school football championship game on a tear likely unseen in Northeastern Minnesota history, including a four-game run where he averaged more than 40 points per game.
But the only intimidating numbers at the end of the game were the ones posted by the Proctor defense.
The Rails limited Brackins to 46 yards on 19 carries -- his longest run was 8 yards -- in a 34-8 pounding at Terry Egerdahl Field in Proctor. The win clinches the first state tournament appearance for Proctor (11-0) since 1998 and the fourth overall. The Rails will play defending state champion Becker at 7 p.m. Friday at Public Schools Stadium.
The defensive effort was so thoroughly dominating that the Broncos (7-4) netted only two first downs in the entire game and none in the second half.
"Everyone played their hearts out," Hylla said. "We were physical tonight. We were playing the best defense tonight that we've played all year, no doubt about it."
The game revolved around how well the Rails could contain Brackins, a senior, who entered the game averaging 208.6 yards per game, more than 8 yards a carry and four touchdowns per game. Those totals had nearly doubled since Proctor had won the teams' regular-season encounter 28-22. In the four games since, Brackins had outscored Proctor by 39 points himself.
But he was never a factor Friday as the Rails' interior defense clamped down on him from the beginning.
"We keyed on him and shut him down. It was a total team effort," quarterback/defensive back Justin Filzen said. "He's a very dangerous runner so we had to gang tackle him and give him no time and space. And it worked out."
Even before he carried the ball, Brackins made an impact on the game -- a negative one.
After Proctor punted on its opening possession, Brackins tried to pounce on the bouncing ball and ended up turning it over at his 13-yard line. Five plays later, Filzen ran a bootleg into the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
On its next possession, Proctor opened up its playbook as Filzen connected with Trent Johnson for a 46-yard pass down the sideline. That set up Deke Crandall's 9-yard run for a 14-0 lead. Crandall led the Rails' 175-yard rushing attack with 79 yards on 17 carries.
The Broncos' only response was to keep giving the ball to Brackins. And the Rails knew it was coming.
"He's the only person that we went for," 260-pound senior defensive tackle Dalton Misquadace said. "We went straight for him. He gets five or six touchdowns, they run up the score on people. So we took it to them."
The Rails took a 21-0 lead on Filzen's second touchdown, a 1-yard sneak 2:15 into the second quarter. Filzen set up that plunge with a 39-yard keeper off right tackle. He finished with 43 yards on nine attempts and was 5-for-11 passing for 145 yards.
The Falls continued to use Brackins as its sole offensive option -- quarterback Josh Stougard didn't complete a pass in four attempts -- usually into the middle of the line.
"We never gave him that edge where he could use his speed," Hylla said. "That was one of the things that we were worried about, that he breaks big plays. You might be able to hold him, hold him, hold him and all of a sudden, bam, he's gone on a 60-yard run. We were very concerned about that."
There were no 60-yard runs coming. International Falls finished with only 51 yards total offense.
International Falls 0 0 0 8-- 8
Proctor 14 7 0 13--34
P -- Justin Filzen 2 run (pass failed)
P -- Deke Crandall 9 run (Trent Johnson pass from Filzen)
P -- Filzen 1 run (Caleb Maki kick)
P -- Crandall 2 run (kick blocked)
IF -- Josh Mastin 15 blocked punt return (DeAngelo Brackins run)
P -- Crandall 13 run (Maki kick)