Duluth East strikes early and often in weather-shortened game
The lightning flashes in the sky weren't the only quick strikes Friday night at Public Schools Stadium. Duluth East had its share of lightning-fast drives that culminated in a 35-7 victory over Duluth Central in a North Country Conference high sc...
The lightning flashes in the sky weren't the only quick strikes Friday night at Public Schools Stadium.
Duluth East had its share of lightning-fast drives that culminated in a 35-7 victory over Duluth Central in a North Country Conference high school football game that was called due to lightning and severe weather warnings with 8:38 remaining in the second quarter.
"Between all my years at Central as an assistant and at East, I've never seen a game suspended because of weather," East coach Joe Hietala said. "I guess there's nothing we can do about that."
There was nothing Central could do about East's offense, either. The sixth-ranked Greyhounds (5-0, 3-0) totaled 239 yards rushing on just 15 attempts (15.9-yard average) before torrential rains came.
Senior quarterback Skyler Murray gained 143 yards on six carries, including two touchdowns, and completed 4 of 5 passes and two more scores to tight end Jon Tisak. The first time Murray touched the ball -- on East's first offensive play after Dan Erickson gave Central a 7-0 lead on a 91-yard kickoff return -- he sprinted 74 yards down the sideline for six points.
"That was huge; it was a great way to answer," Murray said. "We had a strategy for the second play to come out in a no-huddle, and we couldn't even get to that."
East's next possession ended in a Conner Kolodge 18-yard touchdown run to give the Greyhounds the lead for good at 12-7.
"As the offense was coming on the field, everyone was confident and knew we could score," said Kolodge, who gained 73 yards on six rushes and went over 600 yards for the season.
East wasn't done, however. The Greyhounds scored on their next three drives -- making them 5-for-5 in the game -- as Murray ran in from 15 yards, found Tisak alone for a 22-yard toss and then lofted a 3-yard pass to the corner that deflected off Travis Larson and into Tisak's arms for a 35-7 lead with 9:15 left in the second quarter.
That's when the high winds, driving rain and lightning hit the area.
Coaches and activities directors debated what to do next, whether to resume the game at a later date or call it off. Central coach Chris Vold said he couldn't see finishing the game today as an option.
"It doesn't make sense to me," he said. "Factor in that we have six kids out [due to injury] so we're thin to start with, and we had three kids leave the game with injury. I've got Denfeld, Grand Rapids and Thief River left before playoffs, so I need to think about what's best for us to finish this out.
"Duluth East is a good team that took it to us tonight, and they probably could have scored a hundred."
East players say a result like Friday's should send a message to other conference teams.
"We've had a lot of doubters, and being ranked for the first time nobody really thinks we're for real," Kolodge said. "We're going to send the message a game at a time that this is the best team East has ever seen. Hopefully, we'll go the furthest East has ever gone."
If its offense continues at this pace, it might.
"East brought the thunder and the boom tonight," Tisak said.
Duluth Central 7-0--7
Duluth East 28-7--35
DC -- Dan Erickson 91 kickoff return (Jake Snyder kick)
DE -- Skyler Murray 74 run (kick failed)
DE -- Conner Kolodge 18 run (kick failed)
DE -- Murray 15 run (Murray run)
DE -- Jon Tisak 22 pass from Murray (Kolodge run)
DE -- Tisak 3 pass from Murray (Henry Ronningen kick)
DETROIT LAKES 47,
DULUTH DENFELD 29
Quarterback Reed Oistad thought his night was over after scoring his third rushing touchdown to give Detroit Lakes a 35-7 lead in the third quarter, but Oistad returned after a brief Denfeld rally to score his fourth TD and lead the Lakers to the 18-point North Country Conference victory in the first game at PSS.
The senior finished with 131 yards on 11 carries as the Lakers (4-1, 4-0) stayed atop the conference. Detroit Lakes hammered out 281 rushing yards.
Denfeld, which fell to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the league, had several positives on offense: Tyler Conito (12-106) and Ivan Dakovic (12-103) each cracked the 100-yard barrier on the ground as the Hunters totaled 289 yards rushing.
"We're still growing," Denfeld coach Frank Huie said. "We showed some improvement here tonight. Offensively, we finally executed."
Yet, the Hunters were unable to produce in the first half when the Lakers took a 28-7 lead.
"We had too many drives end in our mistakes," Huie said. "We had three turnovers, all on drives that were moving. Then the momentum was taken away.
"All that stuff is why we're 1-3 rather than 3-1."
Detroit Lakes 14-14-13-6--47
Duluth Denfeld 0-7-14-8--29
DL -- Reed Oistad 13 run (Steven Labine kick)
DL -- Dustin Rietsema 12 run (Labine kick)
DD -- Tyler Conito 1 run (C.J. Ham kick)
DL -- Oistad 15 run (Labine kick)
DL -- Aaron Gnoinsky 42 pass from Oistad (Labine kick)
DL -- Oistad 7 run (Labine kick)
DL -- Joe Mollberg 3 run (kick failed)
DD -- Grant Balaich recovered fumble in end zone (Morgan Sudduth pass from Adam Scofield)
DD -- Ivan Dakovic 1 run (pass failed)
DL -- Oistad 9 run (kick failed)
DD -- Tyler Conito 30 run (Dakovic run)