Football: Northland Pines powers past Predators

Northland Pines’ Foster Hakes is hit by Northern Elite’s Brent Dumke on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, in Niagara, Wis. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News)

NIAGARA, Wis. — Northern Elite got off to a slow start and never found rhythm in a 48-20 loss to Northland Pines on Friday.

The Predators (1-1) fell to a 32-0 deficit in the first quarter. Their first five drives ended with a turnover on downs, two fumbles and two punts.

“We talk about fight and fundamentals. That’s how we want to characterize our team and I thought we were pretty terrible on both,” Northern Elite head coach Ben Laarman said. “I just didn’t feel like we fought for it very hard. I don’t know why but we’ll have to figure that out. I thought our fundamentals were pretty poor. Just one of those rough nights where we gave up some early touchdowns, fumbled the ball and things snowballed in the first half.”

The Predators crossed midfield offensively for the first time when Landen Kaldor ran 16 yards on a third-and-12 to the Eagles’ 45. They gained five more yards before punting.

Meanwhile, the Eagles (1-1) rolled offensively, scoring on all five of their drives in the first half.

With a running clock to start the second half, the Predators gained some ground in the third quarter against the Eagles’ backups.

“It was sloppy, but it was a good win for us,” Northland Pines head coach AJ Zayla said. “Our varsity played well for us in the first half and then we were able to get some JV guys in for some reps in the second half. Definitely some coaching points for our JV guys when all is said and done.”

Senior quarterback Brent Dumke thwarted the shutout with a 65-yard kickoff return with 9:30 left in the third quarter.

The Predators tipped a punt and Landen Kaldor found the end zone soon after on a 4-yard run.

The Eagles fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Predators gained possession. Kaldor scored on another 4-yard run soon after.

“Obviously it was their second group but yeah our guys kept playing,” Laarman said of the Predators’ 20-point second half. “We started playing better, more aggressive. I thought we played faster and hit harder. Once the score got to that point, nothing to lose, so relax and play football. We did a lot better when we did that.”

Northern Elite had 79 total yards of offense, all on rushing. Kaldor led the Predators with 53 yards on 11 carries. Dumke had 29 yards on 10 carries.

Dumke was 0 for 1 passing.

Evan Metras had six total tackles to lead the Predators’ defense.

The Predators play at Coleman (1-1) next week, while Northland Pines plays at Marion/Tigerton (0-2).

Laarman said he hopes the loss to the Eagles is a wakeup call moving forward.

“I hope it’s an eye-opening experience. I hope they realize we have to do things better,” he said. “I just told them it’s not just doing things better Friday night, it’s doing things better Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. That’s what needs to come out of it. We need to make sure. We can believe in ourselves and think we can have a good season, but we need to do things better. Hopefully this is the wakeup call we needed to get us back on track for the season.”

Northland Pines 32 8 8 0 — 48

Northern Elite 0 0 20 0 — 20

First Quarter

NP — Ryan Peterson, 58-yard run (2-pt conversion), 11:05

NP — Landon Offerdahl, 23-yard run (2-pt conversion), 6:03

NP — Tyler Hunt, 4-yard run (2-pt conversion), 4:01

NP — Foster Hakes, 16-yard run (2-pt conversion), 0:00

Second Quarter

NP — Peterson, 24-yard run (2-pt conversion), 7:25

Third Quarter

NP — Hakes, 25-yard run (2-pt conversion), 9:45

NE — Brent Dumke, 65-yard kickoff return (Dumke kick), 9:30

NE — Landen Kaldor, 4-yard run (Dumke kick), 3:45

NE — Kaldor, 4-yard run (Kick failed), 3:31