Prep football: Duluth East runs over rival Denfeld
Leo Spott had a night to remember Friday. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Duluth East senior was honored as homecoming king and played trombone in the band at halftime, then lined up on the offensive line and keyed the Greyhounds' new power running attac...
Leo Spott had a night to remember Friday.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Duluth East senior was honored as homecoming king and played trombone in the band at halftime, then lined up on the offensive line and keyed the Greyhounds' new power running attack in a 18-14 victory over city rival Denfeld in the annual prep football showdown at Public Schools Stadium.
"Today was a very interesting day; I didn't get a lot of rest at halftime," Spott said.
There was no rest afterward either as East (3-4), sporting more of a power offense than its usual spread formation, drove 72 yards in 11 plays on the opening possession of the second half to score the clinching touchdown.
"We ran a power running attack, and that's every lineman's dream," Spott said. "We got to lean forward in our stances, and that's what we love to do."
The Greyhounds totaled 232 yards on 47 attempts, led by Dylan Boettcher's 17-carry, 106-yard effort. Boettcher, a
6-foot-0, 200-pound junior, tore four tendons in his right shoulder in the second week of the season, and had to leave the game after carrying three consecutive times to begin the final drive.
"I couldn't lift my arms or move my hands," Boettcher said. "But I had to get back in there and work for my team and not let them down."
Boettcher returned to run 11 yards on fourth-and-8 to seal the victory.
"I had a head full of steam," he said of the run over right tackle.
East coach Joe Hietala was glad to see Boettcher back in the game at the crucial moment.
"We rode him on that last drive and killed off the final (4:33)," he said. "A lot of the success on that drive belonged to him. He runs full speed and downhill."
Hietala said the Greyhounds failed to capitalize on opportunities the previous week against Grand Rapids, partially due to a lack of offensive options in the spread formation. That set the wheels in motion to add an offensive wrinkle.
"This week we put (more power running) in, and the kids were excited about it," he said. "And they executed it pretty well."
Denfeld coach Chris Vold said he expected the Greyhounds to utilize the run often, but that his team struggled when East used a bigger backfield with 6-foot, 225-pound linebacker-turned-fullback David Chrysler.
"We beat ourselves, too, in a lot of ways -- some turnovers, some silly mistakes, too many penalties," Vold said. "Everything we preach (against) every week is continuing. It's hard to watch."
The Hunters (2-4) gained 162 yards rushing, led by Connor Behm with 82 yards on 15 carries. Denfeld has struggled keeping running backs healthy this season, but Behm and fellow sophomore Kasey Bennett (14-48) gave the team a solid 1-2 punch.
"It's been a little frustrating to have merry-go-round in the backfield, but it's nice to know you have some depth," Vold said.
East is glad to know it can line up and win games at the line of scrimmage.
"From a football toughness standpoint, I thought we did an outstanding job," Hietala said. "We battled in the trenches ... and our backs ran hard. There's definitely room for improvement, but I was happy with the way we held it together."
Duluth East 12-0-6-0--18
Duluth Denfeld 0-8-0-6--14
DE -- Nick Toscano 8 run (kick failed)
DE -- Brolle Kane 21 pass from Toscano (kick failed)
DD -- Kasey Bennett 5 run (Connor Behm run)
DE -- Toscano 1 run (pass failed)
DD -- Bennett 2 run (pass failed)