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Thunder looking for redemption

FDLTCC's Artis Fountain (1), Jeff Andrew (middle) and Isaiah Martinez combine to take down Northland quarterback Shannon Patrick during Saturday's MCAC football game at Duluth's Public Schools Stadium. Dave Harwig/Pine Journal1 / 2
FDLTCC's Javon Rodgers carries the ball past Northland's D'Artagnan Paulsen during Saturday's MCAC football game at Duluth's Public Schools Stadium. Northland defeated the Thunder 44-6. Dave Harwig/Pine Journal2 / 2



The good news is, it's all correctable. The bad news is, unfortunately for the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College football team, it showed up on the scoreboard.

After a narrow 13-6 loss in its opener to Ridgewater, the Thunder took one right on the chin in a 44-6 loss last Saturday to Northland at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth.

"We did some things better," coach Terry Fawcett said, "but Saturday everything that could go wrong did."

The Thunder were penalized 13 times, including four major fouls, in the loss to Ridgewater, which was decided on a punt return. That number dropped to five against Northland, but there were other issues.

Neither of the team's top two quarterbacks have been able to play in the first two games due to transcript issues and coach's decisions, and as a result the Thunder have been able to manage only 14 net passing yards total in their first two games.

Running back Lorine Parker has been magnificent, though, rushing for 198 yards against Ridgewater and 150 more against Northland, winning MCAC player of the week honors in the process.

"Lorine might be one of the two or three best backs we've ever had here," Fawcett said, comparing Parker to James "Victor" Griffin, who led the MCAC in rushing in his first season in Cloquet. "We haven't been able to throw the ball much, though, and that hasn't helped. We will have the quarterback situation figured out for this weekend, though. Our offensive line has played very well and when we are able to run all the offense, we hope for better."

Northland led 37-0 at halftime and was led by quarterback Shannon Patrick, who completed 23 of 42 passes for 354 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers.

"We can't use the quarterback position as an excuse," Fawcett said, lauding Eric Grant for his role in learning the offense on very short notice. "You can't break in a new guy on Thursday and expect him to run everything perfectly. He's been great, though, but we need to find a way to get the job done."

The Thunder have outrushed both their opponents and outgained Ridgewater in net offense in the first game. What's been lacking is the breakthrough.

Fond du Lac faces its ultimate test on Saturday, traveling to Rochester to face the Yellowjackets at the Regional Sports Facility.

Rochester was upset 23-12 by Northland in its first game but rebounded to defeat Dakota College 24-21 last Saturday to enter their contest with the Thunder at 1-1.