The Pirate junior varsity football team lost 34-22 in Devils Lake Tuesday. With three games under their belt, one more than Crookston, Coach Gary Stegman said Devils Lake was sharper in their execution, and they played with speed in the first half that the Pirates couldn’t match. They also capitalized on some offensive opportunities against inexperienced freshmen Pirate defenders, he noted.

    The Pirates had their two top tailbacks go down with ankle and groin injuries in the first half, meaning receiver Andrew Rocha, a sophomore, had to step into the backfield to give tailback duties a try, Stegman said.

    The Pirate defense made some adjustments as the game went along, he explained, and went to a “heavy” formation on offense.

    Eventually, the adjustments meant Devils Lake couldn’t throw on the Pirates, and the Pirates could have some success of their own through the air.

    “Our guys were much more stout in the second half, and we played even with them,” he said, noting that both teams crossed the goal line twice in the second half.

    Freshman Alex Longoria really stood out in the game, Stegman said. “He ran great routes and caught some nice balls,” he said. “He played lights-out on special teams, and also played great pass defense.”