FDLTCC football wins with Carlton County playersThe Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Thunder football team finally got a close game to go its way. Playing a home game in Barnum last weekend, the Thunder used a stout defensive performance and just enough offense to earn a 16-9 win over Itasca in its first divisional contest of the season.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
The Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Thunder football team finally got a close game to go its way.
Playing a home game in Barnum last weekend, the Thunder used a stout defensive performance and just enough offense to earn a 16-9 win over Itasca in its first divisional contest of the season.
The Thunder (2-3 overall) is 1-0 in conference play and that’s what matters most.
“We’re tied for first in the conference and if we can win against Northland on Saturday we can get some separation between ourselves and the other teams,” Coach Keith Turner said.
Fond du Lac opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 5-yard pass from quarterback Mike Davis to Terrence Crawley, and made it 13-0 before half when Davis hooked up with John Brown on a 34-yard strike.
Davis finished his day 13-for-27 for 152 yards and two scores through the air.
Anthony Wood of Cloquet kicked a 30-yard field goal in the second half but the Thunder survived a scare when their punter accidentally stepped out of the end zone on a late kick for a safety.
“The kids played hard and again the defense played well,” Turner said. “Offensively, though, we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. We get great field position and take two penalties and a sack so we’re punting. We haven’t figured out yet that we have to be patient with good field position.”
The game marked a homecoming of sorts for several Thunder players. Barnum graduates Josh Hogan and Andy Youngren both played – and played well.
“Josh had a great game,” Turner said. “He had an interception and three passes defended, and he had 11 tackles, including four solos. Andy had five assisted tackles and was around the ball the whole time.”
Defensive end Darnell Colvin also had a big day for the Thunder, with 14 tackles including two solos and two sacks.
Moose Lake-Willow River players Nick Kenemore and Cody Schmidt played as well, with Peter Jusczak and Brandon Good also locals on the Thunder roster.
Joe Bohaty, Dan Anderson, Beau Abrahamson and Austin Jacobson of Moose Lake-Willow River are all on Itasca’s roster.
“You could tell there was still a bit of the rivalry flavor there,” Turner said. “We had a really nice crowd, one of the best I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”
For the game, Brandon Peterson had two catches for 88 yards for Fond du Lac and barely missed connecting with Davis on what would have been an 80-yard touchdown on the game’s first possession.
The Thunder have played well all season, losing in their three defeats by a combined total of 11 points.
“The kids have been competitive in every game,” Turner said. “They understand that we have a chance to win the conference and along with that to be the first team in history of the school to reach the playoffs. They are working their butts off.”
“The kids want to get better and they want to win,” he added. “We get better every week and we will be successful eventually. The linemen are all freshmen and are learning how to play together, which is huge.”
The team’s next game is Saturday at Northland.
“Northland is a little scary,” Turner said. “They were down 28-7 to Minnesota West last week and came back to beat them 39-36. They can put up points, but our defense has the opportunity now to step up to the challenge.”
Saturday’s game will mark the second of three times this season the Thunder will be another school’s homecoming opponent.
“We were Rochester’s homecoming, we will be Northland’s homecoming, and we will be Mesabi Range’s homecoming on a Thursday,” Turner said. “I tell the kids we are taking our show on the road.”