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Esko succombs to Proctor's pressure in section final

DULUTH -- The Esko-Proctor Section 7AAA championship game is long over. For those who participated it'll be a Halloween 2013 classic, remembered for Esko pitting its 300-yard aerial assault against Proctor and its unrelenting 400-yard rushing att...

Tackle by Turner
Esko sophomore Jaxson Turner brings down Proctor's Brodie Nordquist in Thursday's Section 7AAA title game. The Rails beat the Eskomos 37-21. Steve Kuchera/skuchera@duluthnews.com

DULUTH -- The Esko-Proctor Section 7AAA championship game is long over. For those who participated it'll be a Halloween 2013 classic, remembered for Esko pitting its 300-yard aerial assault against Proctor and its unrelenting 400-yard rushing attack that was too much for the Eskomos in a 37-21 heartbreaker at Duluth's Malosky Stadium.

At one point in the game Esko had 30 passes and no rush yards, while Proctor was pinballing school record rushing totals against having zero throws. The clash in styles was stark.

Esko quarterback Marc Peterson, the rare accomplished passer in the Northland, played his final game. He went 30-of-45 for 331 yards and three touchdowns in what looks like a graceful note for a stat line. But the reality was the game was a punisher that saw Peterson peppered with body blows, blasts out of bounds and after-the-release tree falls.

"We changed up the coverages from play to play," said Proctor Coach Derek Parendo. "We tried not to give the same look two times in a row."

Parendo went on to credit "the constant pressure and hits we had on Peterson" for the quarterback's two interceptions, both coming in scoring territory.

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Days after the game, after having had time to consider his and the seniors' last and valiant effort, Peterson recalled the game's physicality in a brief call.

"I remember it exactly that way," he said. "I was trying to do everything I could to help my team get a victory. Sometimes it was hard getting back off the ground, but my teammates were getting pounded as hard as I was."

After a 90-yard Esko TD drive to take a first-half lead, Parendo said he was thinking "here we go again," recalling Peterson's 15-for-15 filleting of Proctor in a section win for Esko last season.

"We told the kids to be physical with them and wear them down," Parendo said.

The line score of this game says it all about the back-and-forth, like stylistically opposing boxers trading rounds:

Esko (7-4): 6-0-15-0--21

Proctor (8-2): 3-21-0-13--37

For Esko, familiarity may have been a foe, too.

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"Playing against a player like Peterson [again and again] gives the defense an advantage," Parendo said. "The more we see him, the more ideas we come up with to slow him down."

Peterson's chemistry with Aaron Olson, Nick Emanuel and others was part of what made the game so worthy of its championship credibility.

"Our coaches work us every day getting our timing down," Peterson said. "We did what we practiced and were taught to do."

Esko went down hard. But it went down gunning.

Peterson punts
Esko senior Marc Peterson punts in the Section 7AAA final. Steve Kuchera/ skuchera@duluthnews.com

Related Topics: ESKOFOOTBALL
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