Lakes Area tops 'Jacks by playing ironman football
With all four defensive linemen absent from the Lakes Area football lineup Saturday in Brainerd, the Screaming Eagles were forced to implement their ironman scheme.
The Eagles' offensive line ended up playing both ways, resulting in each line battle being won decisively in a 24-10 victory over the Lumberjacks.
The line play was anchored by such players as John Lubitz, Mark Racine and Robbie Bohn, who opened big rushing lanes for Eagles' running backs, while closing them down on the Lumberjack rushers.
Lakes Area moved the ball for most of the game, picking up a total of 440 yards, while stuffing Brainerd to just 202 total yards.
"We had all four of our defensive linemen gone for some reason or another, so we had to rotate our offensive line in," said Lakes Area quarterback and head coach Jason McCloskey. "But these guys have proven they can play defense and it's been working for us so far."
Lakes Area running back Kyler Wegner has also solidified himself as one of the Northern Power League's elite rushers, as Brainerd found out to the tune of 129 yards on 15 carries.
Wegner also scored three times, including a pair of 25-yard rushes, as well as a 20-yard pass from McCloskey.
"We were able to mix the run and pass up well, and Kyler had a lot of big holes to run through," McCloskey said. "He's starting to turn into that double threat. Kyler can pick up the blitz, go out for passes and run the ball between the tackles."
His 8.6 yards per carry average also loosened up the Lumberjack secondary, as McCloskey threw for 286 yards on an 18-30 completion rate.
Two interceptions inside the Brainerd red zone could have made the score that much worse, but between the 20 yard lines, the Screaming Eagles kept moving the ball.
"We had three drives inside their 10 and didn't score, so that wasn't good," McCloskey said. "But it is showing we are starting to move the ball well. We just haven't had enough good practices to find a good rhythm yet."
McCloskey added a four-yard touchdown pass to Bert Smith in the first quarter to put Lakes Area up 12-0.
A 50-yard pass play from Brainerd QB Tom Hice to Geoff Niemi pulled the 'Jacks to within 12-8, but a couple of Wegner touchdowns put the Eagles back up 24-8 by the fourth quarter.
Eagle wideout James Singer led all receivers with 108 yards on seven catches, while Smith finished with 93 yards on seven grabs.
The Screaming Eagles (2-2) will host the Menomonie (Wis.) Thunderhawks Saturday at the Frazee High School Field, starting at 5 p.m.