The long trip to Eveleth to square off in the Section 7AA Championship quarterfinal with Eveleth-Gilbert ended in a 34-6 loss for the Rush City football team last week.
Senior running back Johnathan Mielke turned in an impressive effort, carrying the ball 26 times for 178 yards in his final high school game.
Junior quarterback Brandon Koehnle rushed for 27 yards, and a touchdown, while freshman defenseman Isaiah Johnson recorded one sack on the Golden Bears quarterback.
“Our first round game against Eveleth-Gilbert was a tale of two halves,” said Coach Paul Kirby. “We stunk up the place in the first half. We didn’t tackle. We didn’t block. I think we only ran 16 plays on offense in the entire half, going three and out twice. But after a great halftime heart-to-heart talk from many of the coaches, the players responded by returning to typical Tiger football. Heavy pass rush, hard-hitting team tackling and groundwork that establishes ball control.
He added, “We wound up running over 40 plays on offense, recovered a onside kick and essentially ‘won’ the second half. However, we dug ourselves too deep of a hole and couldn’t climb out.”
Kirby lauded his team for how their play during the second half.
“I am proud of the effort displayed in the second part of this game,” he said. “We showed the fans that traveled a long way that we knew we were capable of playing better football.”
Looking ahead, Kirby thinks the squad should have a good season next year.
“The seniors have laid the groundwork for a successful future,” he said. “As freshmen, they were part of a long run in the section playoffs only to go winless in their middle years. Discipline and dedication helped them establish a positive senior football season and showed their teammates just how hard work and loyalty can pay off. The coaching staff would like to thank the players, their supportive parents, the school district and the entire Rush City community for their continued support of Tiger football.”
The Rush City football team finished the 2012 season tied for sixth place in the Great Polar Blue Alliance Conference with a 2-4 conference record. The team was 3-6 overall.