Football: Pequot Lakes' defense dominates in win over Park Rapids
The Panthers were held to 43 yards in offense in a 50-0 loss.
PEQUOT LAKES – In the first three games of the season, Pequot Lakes quarterback Grant Loge completed 51 of 85 passes for 795 yards and 11 touchdowns as the Patriots defeated East Grand Forks 28-5 and Fergus Falls 34-7 and lost to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 36-34.
In a rainy Week 4 Midwest Red District game, Park Rapids’ defense held Loge to only 61 yards through the air. However, the Patriots relied on a running attack that compiled 239 yards with five TDs to go along with a pair of passing scores and a defense that forced five turnovers and six punts while holding Park Rapids to only 43 yards in a 50-0 victory on Friday, Sept. 23.
Pequot Lakes’ defense dominated the entire game, tallying 15 tackles behind the line of scrimmage in addition to recovering three fumbles and intercepting two passes.
It was Park Rapids’ defense that produced the first turnover when Noah Larson recovered a fumble at the Patriots’ 32-yard line on the fifth play of the game. The Panthers couldn’t capitalize and lost possession at the Pequot Lakes 29.
The Panthers forced another turnover when Lucas Kritzeck recovered a fumble at the Pequot Lakes 43. But on the next play, Riley Larson intercepted a pass at the Patriots’ 16 to end that threat.
After both teams exchanged punts, Pequot Lakes put together a five-play, 53-yard drive to open the scoring. Larson’s 25-yard reception set up a 23-yard TD run by Clay Wolf as the Patriots led 6-0 with 2:36 to play in the first quarter.
The Patriots put this game away by scoring four more TDs in the second quarter.
Bryer Nordby’s interception at the Pequot Lakes 48 set up a 14-yard TD reception by Nordby. That eight-play, 52-yard drive gave the Patriots a 14-0 lead with 9:20 to play before the intermission.
Cullen Kratochvil’s fumble recovery at the Park Rapids 17 led to a 15-yard TD reception by Nordby on fourth-and-8 for a 22-0 advantage at the 6:36 mark.
Park Rapids was forced to punt again, but a fumbled snap gave Pequot Lakes possession at the 10. On the next play, John Elsenpeter rushed in for a TD and the Patriots held a 30-0 cushion with 5:22 left in the first half.
The Panthers lost possession on downs at their own 25 on the ensuing series and Pequot Lakes capitalized when Darby Boelter followed a 17-yard run by Nordby with a 6-yard TD run. That score, at the 2:02 mark, gave the Patriots a 36-0 lead.
“I really thought defensively we came out in the first quarter with some great energy. We made a couple stops and created turnovers. This put our offense in a couple of good situations with field position, but unfortunately we were unable to convert on a fourth down and also had a couple turnovers of our own,” said Park Rapids head coach Jeremy Nordick. “After they scored I really thought we'd be OK if we could put a drive together. We just were unable to sustain anything against their pressure. Then things unraveled on us with some crucial turnovers backed up in our own territory. You could feel the energy get sucked out of our guys after that.”
Park Rapids’ offense was also shut down in the second half. On their five possessions, the Panthers were forced to punt on the first four series and lost a fumble on the fifth.
Both teams traded punts to start the second half before Park Rapids was pinned on its own 2-yard line. A short punt gave the Patriots possession at the 19. Six plays later, Kamrin Hulke scored on a 6-yard TD run for a 42-0 advantage with 9:32 to play.
After forcing another punt, Pequot Lakes concluded the scoring on a 21-yard TD run by Hulke. That five-play, 44-yard drive made it 50-0 with 2:17 remaining.
Park Rapids’ offense, which managed only one first down in the game, was led by Noah Morris, who completed 2 of 9 passes for 17 yards and rushed seven times for 14 yards. Defensively, Larson and Ryan Carroll were in on six tackles each. The loss dropped the Panthers’ record to 0-4.
Wolf rushed nine times for 74 yards and Caden Nelson added 46 yards on 11 attempts as the Patriots improved to 3-1.
In the other Week 4 Midwest Red District and Section 8AAA games, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton defeated East Grand Forks 22-12, Thief River Falls shut out Fergus Falls 34-0, Detroit Lakes defeated Perham 49-6 and Roseau lost to Ottertail Central 27-8. D-G-F tops the section standings at 4-0 with Perham sitting at 2-2. Thief River Falls, Fergus Falls, East Grand Forks and Roseau are all 1-3. Detroit Lakes is also 4-0 in the district standings.
Park Rapids travels to D-G-F for a 7 p.m. kickoff this Friday night (Sept. 30). The Rebels were rated No. 5 in the latest state Class AAA poll.
“I know our coaches and kids are all frustrated. We did have a solid week of practice and we were excited to play in Pequot,” said Nordick. “We have four games left to get better. The boys will come back ready to go back to work and get ready for a very physical D-G-F team on Friday.”