Cloquet kicks its way past Proctor, into 7AAA football finalPlacekickers are thought of so highly in the Northland that high school football coaches often opt to go for two points after a touchdown — even in the first quarter.
By: Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune
Placekickers are thought of so highly in the Northland that high school football coaches often opt to go for two points after a touchdown — even in the first quarter.
But Cloquet coach Tom Lenarz had no second thoughts about sending Trent Moe out to try a 27-yard field goal Saturday with a berth in the Section 7AAA championship game at stake.
“I told him when he came over to the sideline, ‘There’s no one else I’d rather have the game on the line with,’” Lenarz said. “He’s been our leader all year long. Pressure doesn’t get to him like it does some other kids, so I knew he was going to make it.”
Moe split the uprights as time ran out in a 23-20 victory over Proctor at Terry Egerdahl Memorial Field. Moe ran backward downfield until he was mobbed by teammates.
“Coach talked to me and said he wouldn’t want anyone else,” said Moe, who had made only one other field goal all season. “I told him, ‘Coach, it’s going in. I have no problem with this, it’s a piece of cake.’”
The win sends the seventh-seeded Lumberjacks (5-5) on to a meeting with top-seeded Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin (8-2), a 28-24 winner over Virginia, in the section final Friday at Malosky Stadium.
Third-seeded Proctor finished 6-4.
The kick spoiled the Rails’ comeback from a 20-6 deficit in the fourth quarter. Touchdown runs by Kaz Anderson and Ian Scherber and extra points by Tyler Schubert tied the game, akin to the Rails’ fourth-quarter rally in a 28-23 regular-season victory over Cloquet.
But facing third-and-12 at his own 9, Cloquet quarterback Kellin Lamirande ran 46 yards to keep the ball out of Proctor’s hands.
“We lost the opportunity to keep the momentum on the third-and-long, where (Lamirande) ran for (46 yards),” Proctor coach Derek Parendo said. “That was a big play. A couple of our kids lost their composure and didn’t keep their assignments. Credit to Cloquet, they put the ball in their best player’s hands and he made a big play.”
The Rails forced a punt with 1:37 left, when the game’s biggest play — and most controversial — occurred. Ian Scherber was stopped for a 2-yard loss as whistles blew to signal either Scherber was out of bounds or his forward progress was stopped. Moments later, Cloquet emerged with the ball at the Proctor 13 and officials pointed the Lumberjacks’ way for the Rails’ fifth turnover of the game.
“He was out of bounds,” Parendo said. “The chain crew got kicked out of the way and dropped the chains; that’s what I saw. I heard a whistle also. It’s a disappointing ending for us and it’s unfortunate, but that’s a part of high school athletics.”
Even Moe, the team’s leading tackler at linebacker, didn’t think his team had the ball.
“It was a sweep outside, and I guess it was a fumble inbounds. I thought he went out of bounds,” Moe said. “All of a sudden (officials) pointed our way so I said, ‘I’ll take it.’”
Lenarz then put the game on Moe’s right foot, even though the senior had missed an extra point earlier in the quarter.
“We have all the faith in the world in Trent and our (field-goal team),” the coach said. “We know he’s good from 30 yards and in. So for us, that was just a long extra point.”
Cloquet now turns its attention to the Titans, who won the regular-season matchup 30-22, the start of a three-game losing streak for the Lumberjacks. That’s since turned into a three-game winning streak.
“Our offense is starting to click,” said Lamirande, who rushed for a game-high 109 yards on 12 carries. “We’re starting to score touchdowns on our first drives, which we weren’t able to do early in the season. And our defense is doing phenomenal, stopping teams when we need them to.”
And don’t forget the kicking game.
C — Trent Moe 7 pass from Kellin Lamirande (Moe kick)
P — Billy Ciesielski 6 pass from Ian Scherber (kick failed)
C — Kaleb Kadelbach 2 run (Moe kick)
C — Kadelbach 1 run (kick failed)
P — Kaz Anderson 3 run (Tyler Schubert kick)
P — Ian Scherber 6 run (Schubert kick)
C — Moe 27 field goal