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Will the Screaming Eagles fly again?

EAGLE RB KYLER WEGNER led the team in rushing for the 2010 season.

If the 2010 season was the last one for the Lakes Area Screaming Eagles, it's not a bad way to end their three-year run.

The Screaming Eagles wrapped up a 7-3 season in which they put together a dominating seven-game winning streak, before falling in the Northern Football Power League championship to Menomonie, Wis.

In Lakes Area's previous two seasons, the Eagles lost in the first round of the playoffs after petering out towards the end of the regular schedule.

"At the start of the season, I said it was key to have at least 27 guys playing in the right spots," said Eagles' quarterback/owner Jason McCloskey. "At the end of the season, we were right at 27 guys playing in their right positions.

"Chemistry was key the entire season."

A long 48-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter by the Thunderhawks, along with a late interception on a McCloskey pass, prevented Lakes Area from winning its first championship.

But the odds were stacked against the semi-pro football team, which played its home games on the Frazee High School field.

With the team's players spread out in a vast region -- from Fargo to Brainerd to St. Cloud -- practice time was limited.

No, not limited, it was actually nonexistent.

"We had one practice and I think if we could have had that practice time, we would have been able to make up those points (34-32 loss in the championship game)," McCloskey said. "To be able to travel five hours with 27 guys, to play a team with 50 players who practiced twice a week -- and then challenge them as well as we did, it's quite phenomenal."

Now with the team's most successful season in the books, the next question is, will there be a next season?

McCloskey's first goal when he started the NFPL was to make it at least three years.

"If you can have a team for three years, it's a legit operation," he said.

But with the NFPL shrinking from six teams the first year, to five the second and three this past season, is the league still viable?

McCloskey said there are up to five teams who want to join the league from Duluth, Granite City (St. Cloud), Northern Wisconsin, Brainerd and another team which plays its games at St. John's University.

"There is interest out there for teams to join," McCloskey said. "And I know Frazee wants us back next year. But, it's been taxing on me and my family (the last three years)."

McCloskey is still leaning towards the side of keeping the Screaming Eagles aloft for the 2011 season, especially if he can get solid commitments from his teammates.

"We'll need more exposure and income financially," McCloskey said. "We need to do a better job fundraising, too. But I always just wanted to promote the sport of football to the youth, and would like to see more community involvement."

The Eagles will be holding a youth football camp in Frazee Wednesday, Aug. 11, to promote the sport as well.

But McCloskey also wants to step back as a player, possibly, and maybe just coach and own the team.

McCloskey was MVP of the NFPL for the second consecutive year, after throwing for a league high 2,217 yards for 25 touchdowns on a 144-243 performance. He also had 17 interceptions.

The Eagles' defense was as dominating as it could have been.

It allowed just 439 yards rushing in nine games (excluding the championship game) for a paltry 1.7 yards per rush.

Kyler Wegner also led the Eagles' in rushing, with 615 yards for a 5.2 yards per carry average and eighth touchdowns.

The receiving duo of Bert Smith and James Singer burnt opponents down the field on the other end of McCloskey's passes.

Singer had 912 yards on 43 grabs for 11 touchdowns, while Smith hauled in 56 receptions for 688 yards and four TD's.

Overall, Lakes Area outscored its opponents by a hefty 287-113 margin.

McCloskey should know by February of 2011 what teams are committed to join the NFPL and if the Screaming Eagles will be flying once again.

But after three years of good football filling the summer months, the Screaming Eagles have soared longer than most observers thought they had a chance to.

Screaming Eagles stats

The 2010 Lakes Area Screaming Eagles season stats -- Record: 7-3.

(Stats are for 9 games, excluding championship game.)

Screaming Eagles 287, Opponents 113

DL Opp

First Downs 155 90

By Rushing 55 42

By passing 100 48

By penalty 0 0

Net Yards Rushing 1056 439

No. rushes 247 264

Average per rush 4.3 1.7

Average per game 117.3 48.8

Net Yards Passing 2227 1262

No. passes 247 225

Completed 145 84

Average yards per game 247.4 140.2

Had intercepted 18 20

Total Offensive Plays 494 489


Kickoffs Returned 27 43

Yards 442 628

Ave. return 16.4 14.6

Fumbles 14 14

Fumbles lost 7 8

Penalties 52 44

Yards 548 410

* * *

Individual Rushing

Lakes Area --

Player NR Yds Avg TD

Kyler Wegner 118 615 5.2 8

Shawn Peoples 31 138 4.5 0

James Olson 26 91 3.5 3

Josh Derby 28 89 3.2 0

Bert Smith 7 54 7.7 1

Jason McCloskey 24 41 1.7 2

Dave Moll 4 22 5.5 0

Jacob Ledding 2 12 6.0 1

Casey Gibson 2 3 1.5 1

Ed Perrault 1 (-2) (-2.0) 0

Phil Olson 1 (-2) (-2.0) 0

Hector Rosa-Vega 2 (-2) (-1.0) 0

James Singer 1 (-3) (-3.0) 0

* * *

Individual Passing

Player No Comp Int Yds TD

Lakes Area --

McCloskey 243 144 17 2217 25

Perrault 4 1 10 1 0

* * *

Pass Receiving

Player No. Yds. TD

Lakes Area --

Smith 56 688 4

Singer 43 912 11

Tarrel Flanigan 22 369 8

Wegner 20 200 2

Derby 2 43 0

John Lubitz 2 15 0

* * *

Pass Interceptions

Player No. Yds.

Lakes Area -

Brandon Hall 4 13

Dante Mathis 3 24

Rodney Springs 3 11

Jeremiah Duval 2 31

Ledding 1 28

Stephen Stone 1 22

Smith 1 0

Rosa-Vega 1 0

Singer 1 0

P. Olson 1 0

Dan Meyer 1 0

* * *


Player No. Yds. lost

Lakes Area -

Ledding 4.5 25

Rosa-Vega 4.5 18

Wegner 9 60

Jordan Brown 5 42

P. Olson 1 4

M. Olson 2 14

Lubitz 1.5 7

Mark Racine 4 7

Mathis .5 4

Robbie Bohn 3.5 7

Jim Jacobson 3 13

Brian Gillespie 5 43

Perrault 1 12

Casey Gibson .5 4

Josh Cheney 1 2.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.