Cloquet’s Damian Diver racked up 119 yards on three carries — all three touchdown runs — to lead the Lumberjacks to a 76-22 home win over Hibbing Friday, Oct. 16.

As a team, the Lumberjacks piled up 379 yards rushing and four different players had runs of 45 yards or more, something coach Tom Lenarz credited to Cloquet’s offensive line. Alex Petersen had a 51-yard touchdown run and Leith Lockling added a 49-yard strike late in the game.

Cloquet running back Leith Lockling (5) avoids a tackle by Hibbing defensive lineman Vincent Marchetti (53) in the first half Friday, Oct. 16, at Bromberg Field in Cloquet. (Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com)
Cloquet running back Leith Lockling (5) avoids a tackle by Hibbing defensive lineman Vincent Marchetti (53) in the first half Friday, Oct. 16, at Bromberg Field in Cloquet. (Tyler Schank / tschank@duluthnews.com)

“We came in with the plan to simplify things a little bit this week,” Lenarz said. “We felt like we needed to get back to basics and we did that. I thought, offensively, we controlled the line of scrimmage and we were pretty much able to do whatever we wanted the entire game, which is what you hope when you come in, and you're able to establish yourself that way.”

As dominant as the Cloquet run game was, the defense was even better in the first half. The Lumberjacks built a 54-0 lead, which included two interception returns for touchdowns, before allowing the Bluejackets a first down late in the first half.

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Cloquet intercepted Hibbing quarterback Bryson Larabee seven times in the game.

“Defensively, we were lights out,” Lenarz said. “I thought the kids played really, really well defensively, especially against the multiple things that Hibbing tried to do.”

The game wasn’t without some miscues for Cloquet. The Lumberjacks had trouble holding on to the ball, particularly as reserves started coming into the game in the second half. Cloquet lost five fumbles in the game, two that led to Bluejacket touchdowns.

“We’ve got some young guys who have not carried the football in a varsity game that got a chance tonight, Lenarz said. “Which is kind of a fun thing about a game like this, but at the end of the day you’ve still got to take care of the football. I think that’s one thing we’ll focus on this week is ball security.”

Larabee threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Hayden Verhel in the third quarter and Josh Kivela ran a kickoff back 83 yards for a score late in the game for Hibbing.

Cloquet (2-0) is scheduled to play at Proctor at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23.

Hibbing 0-0-8-14—22

Cloquet 22-32-14-8—76

C — Deekin Fjeld 15 interception return (Marshall Hayes run)

C — Damian Diver 17 run (run failed)

C — Reese Sheldon 55 pass from Alec Turnbull (Hayes run)

C — Will Turnbull 16 interception return (Sheldon run)

C — Diver 32 run (Fjeld run)

C — Hayes 18 run (Hayes run)

C — Diver 70 run (Hayes run)

C — Sean Sarkela 8 run (run failed)

H — Josh Kivela 12 run (Bryson Larabee run)

C — Alex Petersen 51 run (Leith Lockling run)

H — Hayden Verhel 50 pass from Larabee (run failed)

C — Lockling 49 run (Sarkela run)

H — Kivela 83 kick return (Kivela run)