Crookston stayed with Barnesville for nearly the entire game before a couple of late Trojan touchdowns sealed the win.
The Crookston Pirates welcomed the No. 2 Barnesville Trojans Friday,, October 6. The Pirates came into the game with a 4-1 record looking to improve on an impressive start. In a back and forth game, Crookston hung with the ranked Trojans until late in the fourth quarter and eventually fell 40-20.
The Pirates recovered a fumble early, but later threw an interception that led to the Trojans’ first points of the game.
After a pair of punts, Ben Trostad found Mason Wang for a touchdown on a fourth down play. An unsuccessful PAT kept Crookston down 7-6.
Barnesville quickly retaliated with their second rushing touchdown of the game to increase their lead to 14-6.
In the following drive, the Pirates displayed some acrobatics when Cade Salentine leapt over a Trojan defender en route to a 41 yard run. Leyton Salentine capped off the drive with an 18 yard run. The Pirates were unable to convert on the two point conversion and trailed 14-12 with 2:22 left in the first half.
The Trojans made use of the little time left and scored their third touchdown with 28 seconds left. The score at halftime was 21-12.
The third quarter offered less offense from both sides. Crookston inched closer on a Cade Salentine rushing touchdown after a pair of touchdowns were negated by penalties. Salentine also caught the two point conversion to put the Pirates down 21-20 with 4:35 remaining in the third quarter.
With Salentine held to 102 yards on the ground, Head Coach Scott Butt was forced to make an adjustment offensively.
“We got to some stuff that they hadn’t seen before,” Butt said. “When we went to double fullbacks, they didn’t have an answer. We were able to run the ball where we hadn’t been able to run it earlier.”
Barnesville scored to increase their lead to 27-20 and was driving at the beginning of the fourth quarter. With 11 minutes left in the game, a Barnesville pass sailed over the receiver’s head and into the hands of Salentine who was standing near the Crookston goal line. The Pirates were unable to capitalize from the turnover and were forced to punt.
The Trojans responded by taking plenty of time off the clock and finished the drive with a touchdown for a 33-20 lead with 1:51 remaining.
An interception return for a touchdown with 1:37 remaining removed all doubt as Barnesville led 40-20, the eventual final.
Despite the misleading score, Butt commented on the effort from his team and thinks they will be fine moving forward.
“I saw a heck of a lot of heart,” Butt said. “The kids gave everything they had and believed they could win the game. This is a proud group. They’re down from losing, but they really believe they can come back and play them again.”
With a record of 4-2, the Pirates will go on the road to Pelican Rapids. Game time is Friday, October 13 at 7 p.m.