Pirate senior running back Josh Edlund rushed for two touchdowns.
Pequot Lakes junior running back Tyler Tappe had 197 rushing yards on 24 carries and three rushing touchdowns, including a 92-yard score in the first quarter, to lead the Patriots 34-20 over Crookston Friday in Pine River, Minn. in a significant Section 8AAA and Heart O' Lakes North Conference contest.
Pirate senior running back Josh Edlund rushed for 115 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. Senior Alex Boone had 42 yards rushing on six carries and 84 receiving yards on six receptions. Senior quarterback Dylan Klatt was 10 for 18 passing with 151 yards. Sophomore Aaron Hollcraft had three catches for 64 yards.
"I could see it in the kids' eyes when we left the field, we knew we let one get away tonight," Pirate Head Coach Scott Butt said after the loss. "We were a tired football team. Playing from behind takes a lot out of you. You're in hurry up, go-go-go mode. It came back to bite us in the rear end."
The Pirates trailed 14-7 after the first quarter and let their second quarter scoring opportunities slip away. In the second half the Pirate defense couldn't get the big stop when it needed it.
"This one's hard," Coach Butt said. "It's hard because we didn't play to our potential. It feels like we gave it to them. Our kids played hard; we just didn't play smart. We had too many mistakes that we just couldn't overcome."
The 6-foot-1, 172-pound Tappe was elusive most of the night.
"Tappe was very dynamic," said Coach Butt. "He did some things that created issues for us. Don't take anything away from him but we lost this game. As many good things as he did for them I thought we were a better football team."
The Pirate offense was effective at times but other times it made crucial mistakes and stalled.
"We moved the ball pretty well," said Butt. "Our issues came when we would get ourselves in a second and short situation, which is pretty manageable and a great position to be in, but we would snap the ball too low or take a penalty and fall to third and long. You can't do that and expect to maintain drives. When we put ourselves in an obvious passing situation they were able to bring the heat and make things difficult on us."
Edlund recorded another game of over 100 yards rushing but couldn't find that explosive run as he so often does.
"Josh ran hard between the tackles tonight," Coach Butt said. "We ran him up the middle a lot. They did a nice job of hitting him with a lot of people. We just couldn't get him out in the open. One thing that helps for Josh is when Dylan [Klatt] is able to run the option. It opens things up. We are becoming more multidimensional but at times teams can play half the field because of [Dylan's] wrist. Josh ran hard but just never got that big break away run tonight."
The Pirate defense had some key stops in the red zone but couldn't hold down Tappe.
"The defense at times looked like it was really incredible," said Butt. "We had two goal line stops that were really, really great. At times we got lackadaisical and didn't wrap up. We are young on defense and we have to get instilled that we have to play all 100 yards of the field."
Crookston's only lead of the night came after answering Pequot Lakes' opening drive touchdown, a one-yard run by quarterback Jordan Redmond, with a 16-yard touchdown run by Edlund and senior Brett Delage hitting the extra point to make it 7-6 with 4:49 left in the first quarter.
After stopping the Patriots on their next possession, the Pirates had first and goal on the nine-yard line but couldn't capitalize. Pequot Lakes answered with a three-play 99-yard drive with Tappe scoring on his 92-yard home run as time ran out in the first quarter. A two-point conversion made it 14-7 Patriots.
Three times in the second quarter the Patriots had the ball inside the Pirate ten-yard line but were held without any points as the teams went into halftime at 14-7.
Following a three and out by Crookston to start the second half, Tappe scored on a 21-yard run with 8:02 left in the third quarter. The failed two-point conversion left the score at 20-7 Patriots.
After more than 22 minutes without any points, the Pirates scored with a 51-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Dylan Klatt to Boone. The Delage extra point was good and with 5:29 left in the third quarter the Pequot Lakes lead was cut to 20-14.
The Patriots continued to move the ball on the Pirate defense, though, and capitalized on a Crookston fumble at the seven with a six-yard touchdown run by Tappe with 9:40 left in the fourth quarter. The successful two-point conversion put the Patriots up 28-14.
A five-yard touchdown run by Edlund with 6:14 remaining, capping an 80-yard drive, gave the Pirates life with a 28-20 deficit.
Pequot Lakes, however, would seal its victory with an enormous 25-yard reception by tight end Travis Jacobson from Redmond on fourth and seven at the 28. Redmond and Jacobson would connect again with a three-yard touchdown pass with 2:47 remaining.
The Pirates suffered a few concerning injuries.
"Blake Bergeron has an ankle sprain and we're not sure about him," explained Coach Butt. "He's a big difference on D. Ryan Schear went down in the first half, but I'm not sure what it is. The doctors don't think it's too serious. A.J. Biermaier cut his lip, chin cut wide open but he will be back. We are pretty beat up after this one. Losing offensive lineman is not something we can withstand. We'll get some younger guys ready to go in case Ryan can't go."
The win snaps a four-game losing streak for Pequot Lakes. The Patriots are now 2-4 on the season.
The Pirates fall to 3-3 on the season and will host Thief River Falls Friday, Oct. 12.
"It doesn't get any easier," said Coach Butt. "This Heart O' Lakes Conference is a battle every week. We'll get ourselves to regroup. We need to do things a lot better than tonight. With Thief River Falls you're talking about a football team that's young, good and physical. We're going to have to match up with them.