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Early deficit again too much, but offense does get something going

Early deficit again too much, but offense does get something going Early deficit again too much, but offense does get something going




For the first time since week three, the Rib Lake-Prentice Hawks got something going in the running game and put points on the scoreboard Friday night.

It still wasn’t enough to put a notch in the win column, however, in a 53-8 nonconference loss at Hurley.

Wind and field position played a major role in allowing the Northstars to build a 40-8 halftime lead, including a 27-0 edge after one quarter. But late in the first quarter and into the second quarter, the Hawks showed some life offensively and finally found the end zone.

“It felt good offensively, once we got started, that hey, we can put points up and move the ball,” Hawks’ co-head coach Jonah Campbell said. “We just had some trouble finishing drives.”

Rib Lake-Prentice finished with 138 rushing yards, its second-highest total of the season and 162 total yards, also its second-highest mark of the season. The Hawks ran for 162 and had 275 total yards in a 62-14 loss to Northland Pines.

Unfortunately, it took a little too long to get going against the strong winds Friday’s cold front produced.

The Hawks opened the game with an onside kick attempt that Hurley recovered. Four plays later, the Northstars’ Cade Huotari was in the end zone on a 14-yard touchdown run. A botched punt gave Hurley the ball inside the five and quarterback Jack Santini scored from a yard out to make it 14-0.

The Hawks then failed to gain first downs on two rushing attempts out of punt formations. Kodey Henning capped those two short Hurley drives with touchdown runs to make it 27-0 with 2:48 still left in the quarter.

“We didn’t punt early in the first half and that was part of the reason why they were able to score so often,” Campbell said. “We had that 20 mph headwind, so we had a couple of punt plays and, since we run that rugby style, I think coach (Brian) Abel called it where if we have the edge, you can take it. Both times we tried to run it, we just didn’t execute our blocks.”

On the ensuing drive, the offense showed life with a 38-yard run by Logan Severson that put Rib Lake-Prentice on Hurley’s 30. A lost fumble on the first play of the second quarter killed that scoring chance and the Northstars drove 75 yards in eight plays to score again on a 6-yard touchdown run by Santini.

“We had a trap play that we’ve been running all year,” Campbell said. “Logan hasn’t quite hit the right crease, but here he was able to slip through and hit the right hole at the right time and was able to bust it. He got behind the defenders and was just tripped up at the end. Had the guy missed when he dove or if he could’ve kept his balance he probably could’ve taken that one to the house.”

The Hawks’ recovered Hurley’s onside kick into the wind at their 45 and, on second and nine, got a big run from Josh Jast that covered 39 yards and put the ball on the 15. On second down, Campbell called Jast’s number again and he got 14 yards down to the one, where, two plays later, quarterback Ashton Keiser scored. Sam Gumz ran in the two-point try to make it 34-8 with 4:47 left in the half.

“Josh ran pretty hard,” Campbell said. “He actually ran just an off-tackle run and he had that 39-yarder. We came back to it and he actually rolled into the end zone, but hey called him down. The defender kept him off the ground. It was on the one, so we were able to punch it in in a couple plays and we came back to that same play, that off-tackle play, with Sam Gumz and he scored (the conversion) on it.”

Hurley recovered another onside kick and scored with 2:44 left in the half on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Santini to Max Blamey.

After Hurley (6-2) scored on its first possession of the second half, Rib Lake-Prentice had a nice drive going. Keiser completed a 24-yard pass to Gumz and Jast broke off a 15-yard run. But a bad snap lost yardage and the drive stalled at the Hurley 25 when Severson got 10 yards on a fourth-and-15 draw play.

Jast finished with 67 yards on just seven carries and Severson had 59 yards in 12 attempts.

“Both of those guys had good nights running the ball,” Campbell said. “Jast has been running super hard so we’ve been giving him a lot of opportunities. When we don’t have quite the experience up front it takes a little bit of grit just to hit a hole and trust that it’s going to be there, otherwise just lower your shoulder and get what you can.

“To have a few big plays in one game it felt like we had momentum and were doing stuff, even though we didn’t get on the board more than that one time,” Campbell said. “It rose the spirits a lot more just getting that one score, no matter what they had on the scoreboard. You could tell the guys felt like we were in it, even though we were down 30 points at halftime or whatever it ended up being. It was a big morale boost.”

Hurley piled up 357 rushing yards on just 37 carries and finished with 377 yards while sealing up a spot in the WIAA postseason tournament.

“They actually had to drive a few times and then they just kinda wore us out with that four-play offense that they have where they just come at you dive, dive, counter,” Campbell said. “If you get caught looking in the backfield, you’re going to be out of position and they’re going to run right around you. They ended up having some success there.”

Rib Lake-Prentice, now 0-8, will finish its regular season in Prentice Friday against Auburndale (2-2, 6-2), a solid Marawood Conference team looking to wrap up its own playoff berth.

“Defensively it’s going to be tough,” Campbell said. “We haven’t really gone against a team that likes to air it out. Looking at them they have about 1,000 yards passing and 1,100 yards rushing. They’re balanced, but more importantly they execute at both very well.”

Josh Jast

Logan Severson