Esko wins tough 7AAA contest over ProctorThe Eskomos (8-2) look good heading into their Class AAA state quarterfinal against fifth-ranked Perham Saturday at 3 p.m. at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Bill Hudspith has plenty of diagrams in his football play book, but, with a trip to the state tournament resting on quarterback Marc Peterson, the Esko coach took a page from his predecessor’s book.
After Peterson plunged in for a 1-yard game-tying touchdown in the closing minutes last week, Hudspith called a two-point conversion play he learned from quarterbacking for Marc’s grandfather, Bob, a longtime eminent Esko coach who passed away two years ago.
Moments later, Marc Peterson perfectly placed a pass to tight end Brock Carlson to complete the conversion as the Eskomos held on to a thrilling 28-26 victory over Proctor in the Section 7AAA championship game last Thursday at Malosky Stadium in Duluth.
“I learned that play in 1974; it was the first time we used it this year,” Hudspith said. “I’m sure [Bob] was smiling at that one.”
The elder Peterson, who drew up multitudes of plays for Marc until the day of his death, would have had a lot to smile at last week. In addition to the game-winning heave, Marc Peterson was a perfect 15-for-15 passing for 183 yards and three
“That was the best game I’ve ever played, by far. I can’t complain about that,” Peterson told the Duluth News Tribune. “I don’t care if it was 15-for-15 or 16-for-16. Whatever it was, I’ll take it. I had no idea it was that good, but credit our receivers. I just throw it up to them and they go get it. Those guys make me look good.”
The Eskomos (8-2) look good heading into their Class AAA state quarterfinal against fifth-ranked Perham Saturday at 3 p.m. at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth. It’s Esko’s first state appearance since 2005.
“We had a little slump, but now we’re back,” said Hudspith, who watched his Eskomos build an early lead against the Rails and later trail before Peterson passed them back. “Proctor has some nice boys up front. We played well to come back from behind, but I think we can play a little better. Hopefully [Saturday] we’ll be guns-blazing.”
Esko senior Ryan Holte was blazing most off of Peterson’s right arm last week, as the 6-foot wide receiver caught seven passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns as Esko formed a 20-6 lead before allowing 20 straight Proctor points and finally finding the win late.
“Our routes were working well and Marc was on the money,” Holte said. “He put it in there. I just had to catch it and run with our blockers downfield. There wasn’t a dull moment in that game.”
Proctor finished 8-2, but not without a fight. Alex Greene ran for 159 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns, as the Rails drove into Esko territory in the final seconds. Not until a fumble at midfield – recovered by Esko’s Wyatt Begay with 8.2 seconds left – was the game over. All in all, the busy evening featured four lead changes.
“We felt like we were tiring them down with our inside rushing attack, but we just ran out of time,” Proctor Coach Derek Parendo told the News Tribune after the game. “We didn’t do a good job of containing their passing game, but credit their quarterback. He was spot on. We come from a running league and don’t see a lot of that. We knew we needed to score some points but just couldn’t keep up with them.”
“Marc makes the calls, the throws and the adjustments at the line of scrimmage,” Hudspith added. “He’s our gun-fighter up front.”