Cade Salentine rushed for three touchdowns and threw one touchdown and the Crookston Pirates defeated The East Grand Forks Green Wave to open the 2017 season.

    Cade Salentine rushed for three touchdowns and threw one touchdown and the Crookston Pirates defeated The East Grand Forks Green Wave to open the 2017 season.        

    In a game that offered drama, intensity and eventual joy, the Pirates often played from behind, but made plays when it mattered on both sides of the ball.    

    East Grand Forks was first to get on the board on a short run for a touchdown. The Green Wave were unable to convert on the extra point. Extra points would be a problem for both teams throughout the night.    

    Near the end of the first quarter, Salentine made his presence known punching the ball in the endzone to tie the game. Crookston could not take the lead, however, as the PAT was no good.            

    The Pirates forced East Grand Forks to punt on the ensuing drive and eventually took the lead on another Salentine rushing touchdown. A blocked extra point gave Crookston a 12-6 lead.    

    With under eight minutes to go in the second quarter, Mason Wang broke free and ran down the sideline for a 74 yard touchdown. The successful PAT gave Crookston a 19-6 lead.    

    With the first half winding down, the Green Wave managed to inch closer with another rushing touchdown and the game went into halftime with Crookston leading 19-13.    

    East Grand Forks continued their run of 21 unanswered points scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter to give them a 27-19 lead heading into the fourth quarter.    

    Trailing by eight with 10 minutes left, the Pirates dialed up a little trickery. Salentine, the usual runningback, threw a pass to his brother Leyton Salentine for 36 yards and a Crookston touchdown.    

    “That was supposed to be our second play [of the game],” Cade Salentine said. “Once Leyton was lined up out there, I thought this has to happen and this is the right time.”   

    Still trailing by two, the Pirates were forced to attempt the two point conversion, but were unsuccessful in their run attempt.    

    Crookston forced the Green Wave to punt and benefitted from a lackluster punt that traveled only 13 yards.    

    The Pirates continued to feed the ball to Salentine who worked his way into the East Grand Forks redzone. Soon after, Salentine found the endzone again for the third time on the ground to give Crookston the go-ahead points.    

    Leading 31-27, the Pirates attempted to make it a six point game with a two point conversion. The first attempt was successful, but called back for a holding penalty. Now trying again 10 yards further back, the attempt failed, but a roughing the passer penalty on East Grand Forks gave the Pirates another chance. The third time was not the charm as Crookston was stopped again.    

    With only 4:50 left in the game, East Grand Forks needed a touchdown to win. A big play set them up in the Pirates redzone and got as far as the Crookston 13 yard line.    

    East Grand Forks needed to convert on a 4th and 7 to continue their drive. The Green Wave elected to run the ball and the Pirates stopped them short to seal the victory.    

    After the hard-fought win, Coach Scott Butt spoke on the fight he saw from his team.    

    “We played a full game,” Butt said. “They were down and didn’t hang their heads and kept going. There isn’t a guy on this team I’m not proud of. There wasn’t a guy  out there that didn’t give it everything they had.”   

    Next week, the Pirates will take on Staples Motley on the road and Butt knows there is room for improvement.    

    “We have to improve our interior run defense and we have to throw the ball a little bit better,” Butt said. “But overall I was pretty darn happy.”    

    One player who was exceptionally happy was the man who put four scores and 164 yards of rushing on his resume, Cade Salentine.    

    “My head is just spinning right now; I am super happy,” Salentine said. “Today came down to the big plays and we were able to make more of them.”   

    Crookston next plays Staples Motley on September 8 on the road
at 7 p.m.