The Crookston Pirate Football team came up short in their regular-season finale against Mahnomen-Waubun, falling to the Thunderbirds 34-12 on Wednesday night at the UMC football field.
FIRST QUARTER –
Crookston started the game with the ball and Ethan Boll ran for five yards in the first two plays of the game. The Pirates had a five-yard penalty followed by an incomplete pass to set up a fourth down play. Crookston elected to punt the ball and the snap was high and Jaxon Wang grabbed the ball and ran for the first down, but was stopped short at the Pirate 41 yard line.
Mahnomen-Waubun ran for three yards before Tanner Pazdernick ran for 10 and 8 yards and two plays later he ran for a 15-yard touchdown and after the two-point conversion, the Thunderbirds led 8-0.
Crookston was looking to answer on the next offensive drive, but they fumbled on the first play and Mahnomen-Waubun’s Sam Bellanger recovered the ball at the Pirate 44 yard line.
Mahnomen-Waubun used an eight-play 44-yard drive that was capped by a Will Starkey 14 yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead with 3:11 left in the opening quarter.
15 seconds later, Crookston responded in a big way when Ethan Boll 60 yard run for a touchdown to bring Crookston within a 14-6 deficit. “That was huge,” Coach Butt said. “We needed a spark. We needed life, and Ethan ran hard. He broke some tackles and did a nice job tonight. That 60-yarder was nice to see.”
Neither team had much success in their first offensive possessions of the second quarter, but Mahnomen-Waubun with under nine minutes to go put an 11-play 55-yard drive together that was capped by a Tanner Pazdernick five-yard touchdown run. The drive took over five minutes and with 3:12 left in the half, the Thunderbirds led 22-6, and led by that margin at the break. The Thunderbirds had another opportunity to score before the end of the half, taking over at their own 44 with 1:30 left. They got all the way down to the Pirate 25, but Tanner Pazdernik was sacked on a fourth-down play, and the Pirates came up with a big stop to end the first half. “That was a big play for our defense,” Coach Butt said. “I thought our defense really stepped up at that juncture in the game, and we needed them to step up. We’re not the biggest group out there, and (Mahnomen-Waubun) kept leaning on us. We did a good job of stopping them on that drive.”
Mahnomen-Waubun got the ball to start the second half, but fumbled on the second play of the quarter, giving the ball to the Pirates at the Thunderbird 45-yard line. The Pirates were able to move the ball some, but ended up turning it over on downs. Starting at their own 35, Mahnomen-Waubun strung together a seven-play, 65-yard drive which ended with a 29-yard touchdown run by Tanner Pazdernik. The two-point try failed, but the Thunderbirds led 28-6 with 3:12 left in the third quarter, and led by that same margin at the start of the fourth.
After a short, 15-yard punt by Crookston, Mahnomen-Waubun took over at their own 40 with 11:00 left to play. The Thunderbirds kept the ball on the ground for the first plays of the drive. Then, faced with a third down, Pazdernik threw deep down the field and found a wide-open Cooper Houdek for a 44-yard touchdown pass. The two-point try failed, but that all but sealed the Pirates’ fate as Mahnomen-Waubun led 34-6 with 7:59 to go. The Pirates went three-and-out on their following drive, and Jaxon Wang punted away. The punt however bounced off the back of Mahnomen-Waubun’s Dustin Rock, and Ashton Larson dived on the ball, giving the Pirates a first down at the Thunderbirds’ 26. Six plays later, Ethan Boll ran the ball into the end zone on a six-yard touchdown. The two-point try failed, as Boll’s run made the score 34-12 with 2:42 left. The Thunderbirds tried to run out the remaining time, but fumbled the ball and Crookston recovered. So, the Pirates took over at the Mahnomen-Waubun 44 with 1:00 to go. The Pirates made it into the red zone, and Brooks Butt tossed it into the end zone on the final play looking for Zach Brown, but the pass fell incomplete and the game ended. “I like the fact that we never gave up,” Coach Butt said. “I like that we didn’t just lay an egg. We played a pretty good football team tonight. I thought we did some very good things, and obviously did things we have to improve on.”
The Pirates end the regular season at 1-5, while Mahnomen-Waubun improves to 5-0 on the season. In a season filled with ups and downs and uncertainty for everyone involved, Coach Butt is optimistic about the progress the Pirates made in the regular season. “I’m pretty happy about the fact that we just got to play,” Butt said. “Are we getting better? Yeah, I think we are as a team. Some kids are definitely getting better. At least we’re playing. We’re coming together as a group and now we have to get ready for the playoffs.”
7:06 – MW – Tanner Pazdernick 15 yard run (Dennis Ashley run)
3:11 – MW – Will Starkey 14 yard run (pass failed)
2:56 – Crookston – Ethan Boll 60 yards (run failed)
3:12 – MW – Tanner Pazdernick 5 yard run (Tanner Pazdernick run)
3:12 – MW – Tanner Pazdernick 28 yard run (run failed)
7:59 – MW- Cooper Houdek 44 yard pass from Tanner Pazdernick (run failed)
2:42 – Crookston – Ethan Boll 6 yard run (run failed)
|Ethan Boll – 26-129||Tanner Pazdernik 22-136|
|Gunnar Gunderson 2-6||Will Starkey 8-33|
|Hunter Knutson 1-2||Dennis Ashley 5-13|
|Tony Swalef 5-9|
|Houston Short 3-11|
|Brooks Butt 6-14-1 58 yds||Tanner Pazdernik 3-5-0 88 yds|
|Zach Brown 4-20||Payton Keezer 2-43|
|Alex Longoria 1-25||Cooper Hoedeck 1-44|
|Ethan Boll 1-13|