By Chad Koenen
New York Mills was able to control its game against Wadena-Deer Creek with a dominating running attack and tough defensive pressure on Friday night. As a result, the Eagles were able to outlast their Highway 10 rival from just down the road by a score of 20-12.
“A great game between two rivals. We had a big crowd for both sides and a beautiful evening to play a high school football game,” said head coach Matt Radniecki. “It was an exciting game from start to finish as both teams did what they did well.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Bren Salo put the Eagles on the scoreboard for the first time in the second quarter when he scored on a 2-yard run. The point after kick failed to leave the score at 6-0 at halftime.
In the second half, the Wolverines tied the game at 6-6 on a 10-yard pass. The two-point conversion failed to leave the score tied. Salo answered right back when he dashed down the field for a 77-yard touchdown run to make the score 12-6. He would also score the two-point conversion to give the Eagles a 14-6 lead.
Not wanting to go down without a fight, Wadena-Deer Creek answered that score with a 52-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-12. The two-point conversion failed.
The back-and-forth contest continued in the fourth quarter as Salo scored his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run. The two-point conversion failed to leave the score at 20-12. While the Eagles were able to keep the Wolverines off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, WDC had a chance to tie the game but had a pass intercepted in the end zone by Eathan Ruther to keep the Eagles in front.
“I was extremely proud of our team for not hanging their heads and making play after play, especially in the fourth quarter. We made some big plays in the fourth quarter to seal the win,” said Radniecki. “We suffered some injuries before the game and during the game, but others came in and stepped up and helped lead to the victory.”
Salo finished the game with a team high 176 yards rushing as the offensive line was able to create spacing for the Eagle backs all night long.
“Our line and rushing attack was outstanding all night long and pass defense came up in the fourth quarter with a big interception by Eathan Ruther in the end zone to stop a WDC drive,” said Radniecki. “We had 350 yards of rushing with Bren Salo leading the way with 176 and Dane Niemi with 67 and Eathan Ruther with 103. Great job by all and the line did a very good job.”
This week the Eagles, who are 2-0 on the season, will travel to undefeated Pine River-Backus. The Tigers come into the game with a 44-0 win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, a 58-14 win over Bagley and a 33-6 win over Menahga. They come into the game averaging 45 points per game on offense, while giving up just 6.7 points per game on defense.
NY Mills, on the other hand, is averaging 31.5 points per game on offense and are giving up just 6 points per game on defense.
In addition to the varsity game on Friday night, the NY Mills JV team defeated Otter Tail Central by a score of 12-6 on Monday night. Jonah Ruther scored the winning touchdown with just 45 seconds to go in the game.