On Sept. 11, the Blackduck Drakes football team hosted the Lake of the Woods Bears at Sonnek Field. It was a beautiful night for football and the spectators had a great time visiting as they watched the contest.
The visitors opened a 20-0 lead in the first quarter and controlled play for most of the game to claim a 47-8 victory.
The Drakes only points came near the end of the first half with Baudette leading, 34-0.
Todd Kallroos broke free on a 65-yard race down the sideline to score. Mike Dexter scored the two-point conversion on a quarterback keeper after a penalty moved the ball inside the two yard line.
Midway through the third quarter, the Drakes picked up a first down inside of the Bears five yard line but came up inches short of the goal line on fourth down. The Bears responded by driving the length of the field to score with just over 2 minutes left in the quarter. They added another touchdown with 5½ minutes remaining in the game to make the final score 47-8.
The Drakes had a nice return of the opening kickoff but could not muster a first down.
The Bears returned the punt inside the Drakes 30 yard line but on second down Nick Liapis pounced on a fumbled pitch and the Blackduck offense tried again. This time the blocking of tackles Tim Butterfield and Garrett Roberts, guards Liapis and Logan Oelke and center Alex Goodwin was more effective.
The Drakes moved the ball out near midfield before a penalty pushed them back. The longest play of the drive was a nine yard pass from Dexter to Lucas Krabbenhoft.
The Bears returned the punt almost to midfield and on third down senior Chad Reed broke through the middle on an inside counter, cut to the sideline and out raced the Drake defenders to the goal line. The extra point kick was wide so the Bears settled for a 6-0 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
They wasted very little time in returning to the end zone as Shae Pepera rumbled 34 yards on another misdirection play with just over three minutes on the clock. He reached pay dirt again about two minutes later on a 74 yard scamper where he broke several tackles. Both extra point kicks were true and the visitors had a 20-0 lead as the quarter ended.
The young Drakes defense continued to have difficulty in the second quarter and Pepera found Adam Nelson open for a 33-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the quarter.
The Drakes picked up a couple first downs on the next drive as Krabbenhoft and Jake Olafson hauled in passes and Alex Lossing ran the ball. Though forced to punt Nick Andreas covered a Baudette fumble to put the Drakes back on offense.
With the front line of Butch Strand, Doug Palmer, Peter Fraley, Goodwin, Oelke and Liapis giving Dexter time to throw, he completed passes to Kallroos and Olafson to move the ball to midfield. A penalty again pushed the Drakes back and they were forced to punt.
Lake of the Woods got a huge punt return all the way to the twelve yard line and they used that position to tally another 6-pointer with four and a half minutes remaining in the half. The kick put the Bears up 34-0.
The home team started their scoring drive by plowing fullback Andreas into the line for three plays in a row. The fourth time they faked another dive and send Kallroos outside. He responded by weaving his way through several potential tacklers and then outrunning the pursuit to the end zone on a 65 yard jaunt. A pass interference penalty on the conversion attempt moved the ball to the one and one half yard line and Dexter snuck behind Liapis and Goodwin for the extra points to give the Drakes 8 points.
The Drakes defense led by Andreas, Liapis, Galen Martin, Strand and Kallroos forced the Bears to punt for the first time in the game.
An unusual sequence of plays occurred after a short run and a pair of incomplete passes.
On fourth down, Kallroos' pass was intercepted, on the Bears first play he intercepted a Baudette aerial and then on the Drakes first down his pass attempt was intercepted. Three straight interceptions on three consecutive plays. The half ended with the Drakes defense successfully defending their goal line with Kallroos knocking away a pass in the end zone.
Olafson recovered his own kickoff to open the second half and the rested blockers responded by opening holes. Andreas has the longest run of the drive with a 21 yard burst up the middle behind Oelke, Strand, Krabbenhoft, Olafson, Liapis, Palmer, Fraley and Goodwin. Lossing, Dexter and Kallroos also picked up yardage on a drive that saw the Drakes pick up a first down near the four yard line but come up inches short of the end zone on fourth down.
That drive took up the first half of the third quarter and Lake of the Woods used up most of the remainder of the quarter driving 99 yards to score on a ten yard ramble by sophomore Joe Kraft.
In the waning moments of the quarter, the Bears intercepted a pass but Olafson recovered a fumble to return the ball to the Drakes.
An unlucky roll on a punt gave the Drakes the ball inside their own one yard line and the Bears used that impetus to add another touchdown and extra point to tally 47 points with 5:47 remaining in the game.
Bears coach Mark Nohner rotated a couple dozen players onto the field for most of the game giving all of his upper classmen ample playing time. He cleared his bench toward the end of the game as did Blackduck coach Jesse Hickman. The youngsters played the remainder of the game showing their inexperience as fog rolled onto the field.
The longest play for either team during this stretch was an eight yard pass from Krabbenhoft to Fraley. Drakes unmentioned earlier getting some playing time were freshmen Kip Solberg, Brady Gross and Zack Jones.
The highlight for the Drakes was again their kick return unit with six returns of over 15 yards from Kallroos, Lossing and Olafson.
Coach Hickman had special praise for Nick Andreas for his efforts on both sides of the ball. "He was the work horse on offense toting the ball twice as often as anyone else and led the team in tackles on defense," said Hickman. He was also pleased with the play of his sophomore crew which has stepped it up against older, more experienced, players. He complemented first year player Peter Fraley for his rapid development as a football player.
Though only 17 players were dressed for the game Friday, there were 22 students at practice Monday. Especially noticed were wrestling stalwart Zach Preston, who is sure to help with his hard nosed attitude and Cameron Notsch who was a mainstay on the junior varsity two years ago. These and other additions will bolster the squad when they get in their obligatory practices.
The Drakes host the Walker Wolves for homecoming Sept. 25 and then travel to Pine River and Bagley before closing the regular season at home against Hawley and Frazee.