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Pillager uses big second half to pull away from Wadena-DC

Wadena-Deer Creek's Hunter Hawkins and Max Phillips combine to bring down Pillager's Dylan Loftis. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal

The Pillager Huskies used a dominant ground attack and wore down the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines, handing them a 40-0 defeat in Pillager on Oct. 6 in Midwest District Blue Division football action.

Dylan Loftis rushed for a pair of touchdowns and eclipsed the 100-yard mark when he finished with 128 yards on 16 carries. The Huskies finished with 298 yards on the ground, while amassing 404 yards of total offense.

The Wolverines played a strong first half, stopping limiting the Huskies on offense. However, their inability to sustain a drive came back to haunt them again. The Wolverines did not convert a third down in nine tries and converted just one fourth down in sixth tries.

Jake Dykhoff finished with 108 yards passing on 13 completions. He completed 13 of 30 attempts. He was the leading rusher as well, finishing with 39 yards on the ground.

Preston Warren

Max Phillips and Preston Warren were the main targets for the Wolverines. Phillips hauled in five receptions for 63 yards, including a 40-yard catch and run. Warren finished with five receptions for 17 yards.

The Huskies jumped ahead on their first possession when Loftis found room through the middle of the defense and broke free for a 44-yard score, making it 6-0 after the failed conversion. The Huskies gambled on their second possession of the game and it didn’t pay off. Deep in their own territory, they elected to go for it on fourth down and got stopped, giving the Wolverines excellent field position.

However, the faith in the defense paid off for the Huskies. The Wolverines were unable to convert on fourth down, falling two yards short, turning the ball over on downs.

The Wolverines had a good scoring opportunity in the second quarter as well. Trailing 6-0, Dykhoff connected with Phillips for a 40-yard gain down the middle of the field. It put the Wolverines in great field position, however, on the very next play, they fumbled and Pillager pounced.

Seven plays later, the Huskies found the end zone, turning the fumble into six points when Logan Gjovik plunged into the end zone from two yards out, making it 12-0.

The Wolverines moved the ball on the next drive, but stalled deep in Pillager territory. Dykhoff connected with Warren for three receptions on the drive and hit Ryan Anderson on the drive. However, three straight incompletions ended the drive.

The half ended with a key play by Phillips. He stepped in front of a pass by Joshua Doss, intercepting, keeping the Wadena-DC deficit at 12.

However, it all unraveled in the second half. The Huskies rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another. Eli Horn, Nathan Rooney and Loftis all rushed for touchdowns, while Erik Peterson connected with Spencer Schaefer for the final score of the game.

The Wolverines fall to 0-6 overall and are now 0-4 in games against Midwest District Blue Division opponents. The Wolverines return home on Oct. 13 when they take on Staples-Motley at 7 p.m.

WDC 0 0 0 0--0

PIL 6 6 14 14--40

First Quarter

PIL-Dylan Loftis 44-yard run (kick failed)

Second Quarter

PIL-Logan Gjovik 1-yard run (conversion failed)

Third Quarter

PIL-Eli Horn 1-yard run (conversion failed)

PIL-Nathan Rooney 10-yard run (Joshua Doss pass to Isaac Thomsen)

Fourth Quarter

PIL-Loftis 34-yard run (Doss to Luke Woidyla)

PIL-Erik Peterson 24-yard pass to Spencer Schaefer (conversion failed)

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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