Things don’t get any easier, as Pirates travel to #2 Barnesville this Friday

    The Crookston Pirate football team went nose-to-nose Friday night on a cold, muddy Ed Widseth Field with the #9 team in Class AA in the state, and lost a heartbreaker in the closing seconds when the West Central Area Knights scored from one yard out and went on to beat the Pirates on Senior Night, 14-6.

    WCA had routed Wadena-Deer Creek and Thief River Falls in its first two wins, outscoring its opponents by a whopping margin of 109-0. But Friday, the Pirate defense forced two early turnovers and converted them into a 6-0 lead. The Knights eventually tied the contest and the score remained that way as both teams battled back and forth and played a field position game, and battled penalties.

    “The kids did a great job of preparing for this game and they played extremely well,” Pirate Head Coach Scott Butt said. “The turnovers early were big plays that also helped with confidence.”    

    In one key stretch in the third quarter, the Knights stopped the Pirates on a fourth-and-goal Leyton Salentine quarterback sneak from the one-yard line. The Knights then put a long, productive drive together, but the Pirate defense turned the tables on them, stopping WCA on downs in Pirate territory at the end of the quarter.

    “The stop on the goal (line) was a huge play, but I also thought we would be in good shape with them being on the one-yard line,” Butt said.

    Perhaps the biggest turn of events that hurt the Pirates the most occurred on their ensuing drive to start the fourth quarter. Three first downs were followed by two, back-to-back penalties, one for holding and one for an illegal block. They lost yardage on a couple of runs and when it was all said and done they punted on a 4th and 38. WCA got the ball back with around five minutes left in the game and drove down the field before punching it into the end zone with 15.6 seconds left.

    “Penalties hurt us as always,” Butt noted. “...We gave ourselves a chance to win the game. Now, we have to work to get the win.”

    The Pirates, now 0-3 on the season, hit the road next Friday, Sept. 20, to take on Barnesville, ranked #2 in the state.

    “This week will be even tougher, so we have to keep improving in practice this week,” Butt said.