The Crookston Pirate Football team scored the first touchdown of the game, but the West Central Area Knights scored three unanswered touchdowns on their way to a 24-6 win on a beautiful night in Barret, Minnesota.
Crookston won the toss and elected to receive to start the game. Crookston had excellent field position to start the game at their 45-yard yard line. Ethan Boll came out of the gates ready to play and ran for eight yards on the first play and followed up with a seven-yard carry for a Pirate first down. Three plays later, Crookston had another first down. The Pirates continued to move the ball down the field and recorded another first down, but the drive stalled at the West Central Area 16 yard line after 12 plays. “I thought we did a good job of moving the ball and I thought the kids got off the ball well,” said Pirate Coach Scott Butt. “It is nice to get those time-consuming drives and I thought we did a good job, but we needed to finish.”
Crookston’s defense forced a three-and-out, and West Central Area was forced to punt from their 17-yard line. The snap went over the punter’s head into the endzone, and Crookston’s DeLeon dove on the ball in the end zone and recovered the loose ball for a Pirate touchdown for a 6-0 lead with 3:29 left in the quarter. “Cade played well all night long,” said Coach Butt. “Cade came off the end hard and he got there and nice to see him jump on it and get the touchdown.” The Pirates weren’t able to convert the two-point conversion.
Crookston’s next drive was seven plays and only spanned 14 yards.
West Central Area started to figure out the Crookston defense at the start of the second quarter and started a drive at their 18-yard line. The Knights had back-to-back carries of six yards before Anthony Sykora broke loose down the Pirate sideline for a 54-yard run to bring his team into Pirate territory. “We didn’t keep our contain and they got a big play,” said Coach Butt. Three plays later, West Central Area’s Jaden Norby scored on a three-yard run to tie the game with 7:55 left in the first half. West Central Area elected to go for two, and Evan Paulson found Torin Olson in the endzone with a pass to take an 8-6 lead.
Crookston’s offense continued to sputter as they were forced into a three-and-out.
West Central Area started their next drive at their 34-yard line, and it looked like the drive was doomed with back-to-back holding penalties that set up a first down and 28 situation. The Knights had an incomplete pass, a three-yard run, and it looked like the drive was going to stall, but they handed the ball off to Jordan Lohse, and he scampered 35 yards for a huge first down to keep the drive going. Five plays later, West Central Area’s quarterback, Evan Paulson, found Tate Christensen down the middle of the field for a 23-yard reception down to the three-yard line. The Knights scored on the next play when Jaden Norby ran into the endzone for a three-yard touchdown and, after a two-point conversion, led 16-6 with 2:13 left in the half. “That is a big, physical team we were playing tonight,” said Coach Butt. “They were learning on us and they are a physical team and they showed it on that drive.”
The third quarter was a defensive battle as neither team could move the ball consistently. Crookston turned the ball over on downs their first two possessions, but Jaxon Wang recovered a fumble on the Knights second possession to stop one of their drives, and West Central Area led 16-6 after three quarters. “We were right there, but we couldn’t get on the same page. We were half a step behind all night,” said Coach Butt. “We would get something going and then have somebody go the wrong way, or something like that.”
West Central Area had another impressive drive in the fourth quarter. The drive started with 10:26 left in the game, and they put together a 14 play drive that covered 69 yards with 45 of those yards coming on two plays. Anthony Sykora had a 21-yard run, and Evan Paulson found Jaden Norby along the Knight sideline for a 24-yard passing play to set up their third touchdown of the game. Sykora scored from five yards out with 4:36 remaining to cap an almost six-minute drive, and after a two-point conversion, they led 24-6.
Crookston threw an interception trying to move the ball down the field on their next possession, and West Central Area won the game 24-6. “I was happy with how we played defensively. I told the team we left here as a better defensive team,” said Coach Butt. “Offensively we have to get better. We took a step at getting better and our younger guys are learning the veer offense and now we will have two weeks to work on it and get better before our next game.”
Crookston drops to 1-1 on the year and will be off next week. The Pirates will be back in action on Friday, October 23, when they host Ottertail Central (0-2) at 6:00 p.m.
|West Central Area||0||16||0||8||24|
3:29 – Crookston – Cade DeLeon fumble recovery in end zone (run failed)
7:55 – WCA – Jaden Norby 3 yard run (Torin Olson pass from Evan Paulson)
2:13 – WCA – Jaden Norby 3 yard run (Jaden Norby pass from Evan Paulson)
4:36 – WCA – Anthony Sykora 5 yard run (Ryder Staples pass from Evan Paulson)
|TEAM STATS||CROOKSTON||West Central|
|Rushing Yards||35 – 120||38 – 253|
|CROOKSTON||West Central Area|
|Easton Tangquist 15 – 30||Anthony Sykora 15 – 134|
|Ethan Boll 14 – 72||Jaden Norby 13 – 56|
|Jaxon Wang 4 – 19||Jordan Lohse 5 – 44|
|Greg Gonzalez 1 – (-1)||Nate Kisgin 4 – 12|
|Jacob Hesby 1 – 0||Hunter Norby 1 – 7|
|Easton Tangquist 1-5-1 18 yards||Evan Paulson 3-9-0 50 yards|
|Zach Brown 1 – 18 yards||Jaden Norby 1 – 24|
|Tate Christianson 1 -23|
|Jordan Lohse 1 – 5|