The Pequot Lakes Patriots played even with the visiting Hawley Nuggets almost the entire first half before eventually losing 20-0 in Heart ‘O Lakes Conference action on Friday, Oct. 11.
Hawley, which has been ranked as high as third in the Class AA polls, assumed the lead on a key series that lasted almost eight minutes and led to a touchdown for a 7-0 halftime lead.
“We played well defensively and probably could have had the lead at the half,” said Patriots coach Chip Lohmiller. “We had recovered a fumble and were trying to get in field goal range for C.J. (Borleis) when we threw a pick in the end zone, and (Hawley) came back with a long drive to score with 24 seconds left in the half.”
On Hawley’s first play on offense at its 34-yard line, the Nuggets fumbled and Joel Ebnet recovered for the Patriots. However Pequot Lakes turned it over on downs. The teams traded possessions for the remainder of the first quarter.
The Patriots had another chance to score in the second quarter after a turnover as Justin Mackenthun recovered a fumble at the Hawley 24. Three runs by Tyler Tappe got the ball to the Nuggets’ 15, and a fourth-and-two run by Tappe moved the ball to the 12. But two plays later, Jordan Harms intercepted Borleis’ pass in the end zone with eight minutes left in the opening half.
Behind the running of Dillon Olmberg, who had carries of 17, 11 and 14 yards, Hawley had moved to the PL 21 with 1:36 left before intermission. Chris Buttke got 16 yards for a first-and-goal at the five, and then Harms ran a keeper for the game’s first score with 24.1 seconds on the clock.
The Nuggets controlled play and the clock in second half as they scored on their first two possessions and controlled the game with an admirable defensive effort in a steady rain.
The first touchdown came after a drive, which took nearly six minutes off the clock. Behind the running of Dillon Olmberg and Buttke, and a fourth-and-nine pass from Harms to Aaron Regnier at the Patriots’ 21 helped the visitors get in position to score. On third down, Harms found tight end Ben Ellefson in the end zone, and he made a leaping catch to make it 14-0 with 6:01 left in the third.
The Patriots went three-and-out and Hawley started at midfield. Two plays later, Olmberg broke loose down the sideline virtually untouched for a 46-yard touchdown with 3:31 remaining in the third.
“(Olmberg) guy has really got some wheels, but they have two or three strong runners that are hard to stop,” Lohmiller said.
Early in the fourth quarter a Hawley punt sent the Patriots back to their 2-yard lione, and that’s not a good situation to be in when a team is trying to rally. A couple of runs by Tappe picked up two first downs to the PL 31, but they eventually had to punt with 6:18 left in the game.
Hawley did fumble with 2:02 left as Chad Christianson recovered at the PL 23. Borleis made a nice run to the H-42 for a first down, but on the next play Parker Hanson intercepted a pass to preserve a 20-0 win.
“We really played them tough the first half and we had several chances but they are real tough to run against and have a great running game themselves.” said Lohmiller. “The time of possession was really big in their favor, and they were really able to eat up the clock. But I think we’re playing much better now, and we cut our turnovers and that’s nice to see with the playoffs coming up soon.”
Pequot Lakes’ defensive coach Nick Grunzke agree that the Patriots played well in the first half.
“I thought we played pretty well in early with guys like Justin Mackenthun and Henry Leidl doing well, but we did have a couple of mistakes that cost us,” he said. “They are a real good team that’s hard to defend.”
The Patriots, 2-4 in the conference and 3-4 overall, were scheduled to host Detroit Lakes in the final regular season game at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Hawley 0 7 13 0 - 20
Pequot Lakes 0 0 0 0 – 0
H-Jordan Harms 1 run (Gary Althoff kick), 11:36
H-Ben Ellefson 24 pass from Harms (Althoff kick), 5:59
H-Dillon Omberg 47 run (kick missed), 8:29
Rushing: Hawley 181, PL 114
Passing: Hawley 74, PL 5
Total yards: Hawley 255, PL 119
Rushing: PL-Tyler Tappe 13-51, C.J. Borleis 7-28, Justin Mackenthun 4-12
Passing: PL-Borleis 2-9-5
Receiving: Mackenthun 2-5