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Balanced attack keys Screaming Eagles' win

Screaming Eagles quarterback Jason McCloskey (12) heads a rushing play against the Northern Terror in the team's 41-7 season opening win in Frazee. The Lakes Area offense has featured a balanced attack to key their 2-0 start to the season. The Screaming Eagles will host Northern Wisconsin Saturday, May 23, in the NPFL opener.

Lakes Area quarterback Jason McCloskey is starting to establish a connection with his wide receivers and that can only bode well for the Screaming Eagles' 2009 season.

After tossing three touchdown passes in the season opening 41-7 victory over the Northern Terror, McCloskey matched that number Saturday in Brainerd as the Screaming Eagles ground out a 27-23 victory to start the season 2-0.

The aerial attack by the Eagles has more than complimented their rushing game, which has created a very balanced offense to go along with an already stingy defense.

"We just have a lot more balance," McCloskey said. "We can play against eight guys in the box (to stop the rushing game)."

The Screaming Eagles had 173 yards through the air and 112 on the ground against the Lumberjacks.

The offense was able to withstand the Lumberjacks' ball-control game, in which Brainerd had a heavy advantage in plays from scrimmage by a 66-40 margin.

In the second quarter alone, Brainerd took advantage of a pair of Screaming Eagle turnovers and ran 24 plays to keep the score close at 7-6 at halftime.

A fumble by Lakes Area on their own 25 led to the Lumberjacks' first touchdown, which came on a Karson Pike 15-yard pass to Luke Nelson.

The only difference at halftime was a Todd White extra-point kick.

"Brainerd really grounded it out in the first half, especially in the second quarter," McCloskey said. "Their quarterback (Pike) made a lot of plays scrambling. Almost all their first downs which came by a pass was a result of Pike scrambling away from our defenders."

But the Screaming Eagles' offense was up to the task of going toe-to-toe with the Lumberjacks.

Already with one touchdown pass in his pocket (to James Singer on a 7-yard toss), McCloskey hit a flaring Terrel Flanigan to open the third-quarter scoring for a 35-yard score to put Lakes Area up 13-6.

A 31-yard field goal by Brainerd pulled the home team to 13-9, but Lakes Area again drove the distance of the field and capped the drive with a McCloskey 3-yard dive.

The scoring kept flip-flopping, as Brainerd scored on a 15-yard pass from Pike, which was proceeded by Flanigan's second score of the contest -- this coming on a 32-yard pass from McCloskey.

Brainerd made one more push, scoring on a 25-yard TD pass from Pike to close the deficit to 27-23.

The Lumberjacks had a golden opportunity to take their first lead of the game after a Screaming Eagles' punt, but a familiar face in Nick Kiphuth -- who's a starting linebacker for Central Lakes College in Brainerd -- stripped the ball on a blitz of Pike to virtually end the game.

Brainerd was productive on offense, outgaining L.A. by a 327-285 margin, including 228 yards passing by Pike.

But the connection McCloskey has been forming with Flanigan and James Singer has helped the rushing game, which is headed by Dave Moll and Kyler Wegner.

"Brainerd decided to matchup James Singer with their best cornerback with one-on-one coverage and James was open all day," McCloskey said of Singer, who finished with five catches for 81 yards.

Singer and McCloskey were teammates on the Willmar semi-pro football team several years back and they are already getting their "rhythm" in-sync already this season.

Moll paced the Eagles on the ground with 64 yards on nine carries for an impressive 7.1 yards per carry average.

The offensive line played well despite not having their leader in D.J. Stone, McCloskey added.

"Scott Hermanson filled in for D.J. and he played out of his gourd," said McCloskey, who also serves as the team's head coach/owner. "The O-line has been outstanding. They haven't given up a sack and have opened up some big lanes for the running backs."

The Screaming Eagles (2-0) have a bye week, then prepare for the Northern Power League schedule by hosting the Northern Wisconsin Thunderhawks on Saturday, May 23, starting at 3 p.m. on the Frazee High School field.

Lakes Area results

Lakes Area Screaming Eagles at Brainerd, Saturday, May 9.

Screaming Eagles 27, Lumberjacks 23

Lakes Area - 7 0 13 7 -- 27

Lumberjacks - 0 6 3 14 -- 23

LA - James Singer 7-yard pass from Jason McCloskey; Todd White kick.

Brnd - Luke Nelson 15-yard pass from Karson Pike; kick failed.

LA - Terrel Flanigan 35-yard pass from McCloskey; PAT failed.

Brnd - No. 52 31-yard field.

LA - McCloskey 3-yard run; White kick.

Brnd - No. 23 15-yard from Pike; Pike run.

LA - Flanigan 32-yard pass from McCloskey; White kick.

Brnd - Nelson 25-yard pass from Pike; PAT failed.

LA Brd

First Downs 11 17

By Rushing 5 7

By passing 6 10

By penalty 0 0

Net Yards Rushing 112 99

No. rushes 23 38

Rushing avg. 4.9 2.6

Net Yards Passing 173 228

No. passes 17 28

Completed 10 17

Incomplete 7 10

Had intercepted 0 1

Total Offensive Plays 40 66


Kickoffs 5 4

Yards 205 115

Ave. kickoff 41 28.8

Kickoffs Returned 4 5

Yards 44 76

Ave. return 11 15.2

Fumbles 1 1

Fumbles lost 1 1

Penalties 4 2

Yards 50 10

* * *

Individual Rushing

LA --

Player NR YG Avg TD

Dave Moll 9 64 7.1 0

Kyler Wegner 5 26 5.2 0

Cinque Chapman 5 13 2.6 0

Jason McCloskey 4 9 2.3 1

* * *

Individual Passing

Player No Comp Inc Int Yds TD

LA --

McCloskey 17 10 7 0 173 3

* * *

Pass Receiving

Player No. Yds. TD

LA --

James Singer 5 81 1

Terrel Flanigan 3 79 2

Wegner 1 8 0

Moll 1 5 0

* * *


Player No. Yds. Ave.

LA --

Todd White 5 205 41

* * *

Kickoffs Returned

Player No. Yds. Ave.

LA --

Singer 1 35 35

Flanigan 2 9 4.5

Hector Rosa Vega 1 0 0

* * *

Punts Returned

Player No. Yds. Ave.

LA --

Billy Quitsdorf 1 17 17

Singer 1 12 12

* * *

Pass Interceptions

Player No. Yds.

LA -

Quincy Jones 1 35

* * *


Player No. Yds. lost

LA -

Dave Olson 2 21

Rosa Vega 1 0.