Football Roundup...'Dogs downed, but not out

A point guard for his school's basketball team and pitcher come baseball season, Carlton's Erik Adams has good hands. Quarterbacking the Bulldogs' varsity football program, the senior has a nice touch; at linebacker, his mitts remain dependable. ...

A point guard for his school's basketball team and pitcher come baseball season, Carlton's Erik Adams has good hands.

Quarterbacking the Bulldogs' varsity football program, the senior has a nice touch; at linebacker, his mitts remain dependable.

Adams ripped, recovered and ran a fumble recovery for a 43-yard touchdown to highlight Carlton's 28-14 loss to West Lutheran in a 9-Man football feature last Friday night at Jim Erickson Field in Carlton.

Although a defeat, Adams' scoop and score was a meaningful one.

"When Erik picked it up, it was a big momentum swing for us and allowed us to finish strong," said first-year Bulldogs Coach Erik Hanson of the play midway through the fourth quarter. "[Erik] is a great athlete who plays the game hard. He doesn't take a play off."


That never-say-quit attitude has helped return the Bulldogs program to the varsity field this fall, moving from Class A to 9-Man. Following last season's cancelled season, as well as one shortened in 2010 due to a lack of players, Carlton (1-2) has played three varsity games this year, along with three junior varsity contests.

The first-year quarterback, who stands at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, said he enjoys the position.

"The last time that I played was in ninth grade," Adams said. "But we feel really good this year. It's a lot fun to play with these guys."

Last week, the Bulldogs trailed 28-0 in the fourth quarter before Mike Moralez ran in a 1-yard touchdown followed by Adams' fumble recovery. Moralez finished with 89 yards rushing, while Dominic Bennett marched for 83 more in the two-score defeat on Parents Night.

Hanson said his team was plagued when a pair of fumbles in the red zone turned into momentum for West Lutheran.

"If we could have punched those in, it would have been a different game, I think," Hanson said, "but that's football. It's a strange game."

The Bulldogs had their final regular season contest Wednesday at Red Lake - a varsity team they defeated 61-38 Sept. 14 - as this edition of the Pine Journal went to press. Playing four varsity games should allow Carlton to compete in the Section 5 playoffs.

"It's just another chance for our kids to play football," said Hanson, not certain of how the postseason rankings work for his team's shortened schedule. "We're healthy, so that may work in our favor."


Adams and Moralez lead the Bulldogs with five touchdowns each, closely followed by Bennett with three. The trio of playmakers each has over 200 yards of offense in just three games and are all high in tackles.

For a program in their rebirth, though, effort is more than statistics.

"We had a good practice today," said Adams Monday. "We didn't have a team last year and we haven't been the best in the past, but we always play hard and don't give up. We never quit."


Barnum (5-2) blitzed East Central 58-16 in a Great Polar Alliance Red Conference rout Friday in Barnum. The Bombers, winners of five straight, gathered 477 total yards, including multiple touchdowns by Danny Warpula and Brandon Newman. Colton Selix added 116 yards rushing and a score, while Zac Carlson was 3-for-6 passing for 103 yards and a touchdown as Barnum clinched a share of the league title.

Cloquet (4-3) couldn't overcome Hermantown in a 28-14 Sea-Range Conference defeat Friday at Bromberg Field. The Lumberjacks, which have lost back-to-back games, were led by Kaleb Kadelbach's pair of 20- and 36-yard receiving touchdowns from Sean Kedrowski and Ryan Lind. Mitch Hiner scored twice on nine attempts as a part of the Hawks' 285 yards on the ground en route to the conference crown.

Cromwell-Wright (3-4) was tipped by rival Floodwood 24-21 in a Great Northern Conference 9-Man meeting Friday in Floodwood. The neighboring Cardinals and Polar Bears battled, as Cromwell-Wright was paced by rushing scores from Joe Couture and Jared Hutar, as well as Hutar and Austin Pfistner's 57-yard touchdown connection in the air.

Esko (6-1) edged Aitkin 16-14 in a Great Polar Alliance Blue Conference victory Friday in Aitkin. The state-recognized Eskomos, winners of four consecutive, amassed 292 yards rushing as Riley Mudek and Garrett Iverson both scored on the ground. Quarterback Marc Peterson added 125 yards on 10-for-21 passing on the Gobblers.


Moose Lake-Willow River (7-0) remained unbeaten with a 49-20 pounding of Pine City in a Great Polar Alliance Blue Conference victory last Thursday in Willow River. The Rebels, ranked second in Class AA, relied on Michael Pender, who rushed for 142 yards and four touchdowns, while Jerry Young added 119 yards and a score in ML-WR's 53rd consecutive regular season win and 37th straight at home.

Wrenshall (1-6) was worn down by McGregor 43-19 in a Great Northern Conference 9-Man matchup Friday in Wrenshall. The lopsided loss was the fifth straight for the Wrens, which were guided offensively by rushing touchdowns from Dustin Shelton and Dakota Spry, while Dominic Pavlich caught a scoring heave from Jack Dolter.

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