Prep football: Late TD by Kollin Bonneville gives Cloquet win over Greyhounds
The Lumberjacks’ “relentless pursuit” of Duluth East running back Austan Orvedahl was key to the win, according to Cloquet coach Jeff Ojanen.
DULUTH — Facing a fourth-and-2 play at the Duluth East 13-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Cloquet’s Kollin Bonneville got the handoff and not only got the first down, but went in for a touchdown to give the Lumberjacks a six-point lead.
Bonneville’s score not only gave Cloquet the lead, but it would ensure the Lumberjacks got a 14-8 win over the Greyhounds Friday at Ordean Stadium.
“Alex Omenge, our fullback, he said, ‘Run outside and follow my butt,” Bonneville said. “I did that and the hole was right there.”
Without a reliable placekicker, there was little choice for head coach Jeff Ojanen whether to go for the fourth down conversion, but it also fits with the first-year head coach’s philosophy he discussed with his staff over the winter.
“My message to our coaches was we’re going to be aggressive and we’re going to continue to be aggressive,” Ojanen said. “I’m a math guy and there’s a reason you go for it on fourth down in certain situations. I might not always get them right, but we’re going to be aggressive.”
Bonneville finished the game with 105 yards on 19 carries, but he’s been a surprising part of the Cloquet offense all season. Through four games this season, he has 429 yards rushing and is averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
“We lost Kollin last year last year to an ankle injury in camp,” Ojanen said. “He didn’t get his junior year, but we always thought that he could be a special player for us and he’s shown that through these first four games this year.”
The Cloquet defense was also able to hold Greyhound running back Austan Orvedahl in check for much of the game. Orvedahl finished with 90 yards on 22 attempts and a second-quarter touchdown that tied the score, but didn’t dominate the game like he did in the Greyhounds' two wins this season.
“To be honest it was nothing special, it was just a matter of relentless pursuit,” Ojanen said. “That’s all we talked about all week, that he’s going to make guys miss. He’s going to make the first or second guy miss, but he’s not going to make three, four, five, six guys miss.”
The Cloquet offense and special teams didn’t make it easy on the defense in the fourth quarter. After stopping the Greyhounds on the drive after Bonneville’s score, Duluth East blocked a punt that set them up with good field position.
The Lumberjacks stopped them on a fourth-down conversion, but Bonneville fumbled and set the Greyhounds up in Cloquet territory. Yet again, the Lumberjack defense went out and stopped Duluth East on four consecutive plays in the closing minutes to ensure the win.
“Our coaches talk all the time, myself included, about turn the page and how do we respond,” Ojanen said. “Our kids did, there are many times where they, as high school kids, could have hung their heads, but they just kept responding positively and getting after it. It was fun to watch.”
Duluth East coach Joe Hietala could only compliment the Lumberjacks on their gameplan and execution.
“I tip my cap to Cloquet, they played a great game,” Hietala said.
Cloquet (3-1) will host Hermantown at 7 p.m. Friday.
Duluth East (2-2) will play at Rock Ridge at 7 p.m. Friday.