Wrenshall wins, plays for teammateJack Dolter may know Derek Duncan as well as anyone. Friends, classmates and running back teammates on the football team over the years, the pair of Wrenshall seniors are much the same.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Jack Dolter may know Derek Duncan as well as anyone. Friends, classmates and running back teammates on the football team over the years, the pair of Wrenshall seniors are much the same.
That is, until Dolter takes the field and Duncan can only watch.
It was Duncan who earlier contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare condition, which attacks the peripheral nervous system. Dolter said Duncan attends practice around therapy sessions and is still involved.
“It hurts not having him, but he warms up, stretches and runs sprints with us,” Dolter said of Duncan, a team captain. “He loves the game. At the end of every practice, we break it down saying his name.”
Wrenshall broke down Northland-Remer 27-12 in a Great Northern Conference 9-Man matchup in their home opener last Friday. And although it wasn’t their best game, it was the Wrens’ first victory of the fall and second since returning to varsity status last year.
Dolter, a sturdy 6-foot, 215-pounder, rushed for a game-leading 111 yards on eight carries and added two touchdowns, while Caleb O’Conner scored twice en route to collecting 94 yards on 10 attempts.
“For the most part, we’re more of a run-first team,” said fifth-year Wrenshall Coach Jeremy Zywicki. “We made some mistakes against Remer, but we’re looking to come out and play much better this week.”
The Wrens (1-1) were shutout in their opener at Nevis 36-0. Zywicki noted Dolter, O’Conner and Dustin Shelton are mainstays in the backfield without Duncan. Zywicki, who was quarterback at Proctor for six seasons, said his team looked better in their defeat by Nevis, but is patient in making small strides of progress.
“We’re looking to improve on last year,” said Zywicki, whose team will host Hill City Friday. “We’re looking to win more games.”
Especially for Duncan, for whom they play every day.
“Every day he’s not at therapy, he’s practicing with us,” Zywicki said, noting Duncan is making positive progress with the condition.
Carlton, which dropped Class A football last year due to a lack of numbers, played Monday at McGregor as a part of a new season under Coach Erik Hanson. The Bulldogs will take part in a three-game regular season, in order to compete in the Section 5 9-Man postseason.
Cromwell-Wright (1-1) bounced back from its opening week loss to Kelliher-Northome to drub host Hill City 35-6 in a Great Northern Conference contest, without running back Tyler Hakamaki.
Esko (2-0) remained unbeaten this fall, as they squeaked out a 36-28 victory over Eveleth-Gilbert in a Great Polar Blue Conference game in Eveleth. Wyatt Begay rushed and caught a touchdown from quarterback Marc Peterson, while Ryan Holte, Riley Mudek and Garrett Iverson all added rushing scores on the ground in the win.
Moose Lake-Willow River (2-0) picked up a 32-14 win over host Duluth Marshall in a hard fought Great Polar Blue Conference bout. Jake Disterhaupt rushed for 170 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown, while backfield mates Michael Pender and Michael Gassert each ran for over 70 yards and two scores apiece in the Rebels’ 34th straight road win.
FDLTCC (1-2) had all sorts of problems with two-time defending Minnesota College Athletic Conference state champion Rochester, as the Yellowjackets dumped the Thunder 32-0