PREP FOOTBALL: Homecoming advantage for Cloquet, EskoBoth Cloquet and Esko won their homecoming games ... and a Lumberjack lineman even got crowned Homecoming King at halftime plus Esko debuted its new state-of-the-art turf football field.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
CLOQUET — Perhaps the only thing bigger than Cloquet’s football win last week was Mario Lozoya’s smile.
Lozoya helped lead the Lumberjacks to a 42-6 thrashing of Hibbing at Bromberg Field, but the smile got even brighter when the lineman was crowned homecoming king at halftime.
“Words can’t describe it — I’ll remember this for a long time,” said Lozoya, a 5-foot-9, 230-pound senior who had five tackles against the Bluejackets. “I’m just very grateful.”
King Lozoya, in his third season of high school football, and Queen Leah Boedigheimer brought a rousing applause to the standing-room-only crowd.
“We were all really excited for Mario,” said quarterback Maxx Brenner, also one of the 20 candidates and one who let out a loud cheer for his teammate. “He’s just a great kid.”
Brenner was just as great on the field last Friday, as the senior left-hander was 10-of-12 passing for 104 yards and a rushing touchdown, while running back Henry Backus added two scores for Cloquet (4-1) in the lopsided Sea-Range game.
“We came out flying on all ends,” Brenner said afterward.
“The kids played tremendous football,” added 11th-year Cloquet Coach Tom Lenarz, following a busy week of school spirit, community engagement and Friday’s tailgate party. “And to go out tonight and see all of the kids with their faces painted and their purple wigs on — it’s a blast.”
Meanwhile, Esko blasted fourth-ranked Two Harbors 28-14 in a Great Polar White whipping where the Eskomos (3-2) exploded for the game’s first 28 points in unveiling their new stadium.
With festivities featuring a homecoming parade and coronation, a skydiver landing on the field with the ceremonial game ball, five members of Esko’s inaugural 1946 team directing the coin toss and an estimated 2,000 fans in attendance, quarterback Marc Peterson said the night was one he’ll remember forever.
“It was so surreal, taking it all in,” said Peterson, who was 9-of-11 passing for 170 yards. “It was the finishing touches to all of the work the community put in to make this a reality.”
“It was absolutely amazing,” Esko Pride club’s Holly Olson told the News Tribune. “Great just to see everything pay off. We spent a lot of time putting everything together. And actually seeing it come to fruition — the turf, the people, the community, everything — it was very emotional.”
“Looking around, you just want to thank everyone who helped,” Esko Activities Director Chad Stoskopf added.
Esko’s homecoming queen was Emily Osborne, while King Reid Borchardt watched every play on the special night. “I think I lost my voice a bit (from cheering)!” said Borchardt. “It was a great night. Everyone couldn’t wait until Friday.”
AREA ROU NDUP:
Barnum (5-0) buried Mesabi East 36-8 in a Great Polar Red rout last Friday on homecoming night in Barnum. The Bombers, rated third in Class A, totaled 437 yards, as Brandon Newman scored twice and Tommy Ziegler had a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Carlton (0-5) came up short again in a 34-12 Great Northern nine-man loss to visiting Floodwood last Friday. Dominic Bennett and Nick Lee rushed in the only scores of the evening for the winless Bulldogs.
Cromwell-Wright (3-2) was edged in a 44-41 shootout against Great Northern nine-man rival McGregor last Friday. The Cards’ Zion Smith, Austin Pfisthner and Tyler Hakamaki all scored twice in defeat.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe opened their junior varsity-only football season Monday hosting Silver Bay in Cloquet. The Ogichidaa — made of 21 players — next welcomes in Carlton today, Thursday, Oct. 3.
Moose Lake-Willow River (5-0) ran by Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin 56-14 last Friday in Willow River. Josh Petterson rushed 139 yards on just 10 carries and scored three TDs, as the Class AA second-ranked Rebels stretched their torrid regular season win streak to 59.
South Ridge (4-1) ripped past Northeast Range 48-14 in a Great North nine-man mauling last Friday in Babbitt. The Panthers produced 233 yards rushing, including 84 yards and a score from Bill Redding.
Wrenshall (2-3) waxed host Isle 28-0 last Friday in a Great Northern nine-man shutout where Justin O’Connor carded a 57-yard TD run to go with two from Luke Zine and another added by Jared Kittel.
FDLTCC (1-4) fell to Northland 28-7 Saturday in Thief River Falls. The one-win Thunder next welcome in Ridgewater Saturday in Superior.