Tigers defeat East Central at home
In its second home game of the season, the Rush City football team earned its first win with a 14-12 victory over East Central.
Following an Eagle turnover in the first quarter, the Tigers marched downfield to set up junior Eric Erdman for his first varsity touchdown off an 8-yard pass from senior Brandon Koehnle. The quarterback connected on a pass again, this time to sophomore Ben Wolf for a two-point conversion and 8-0 lead.
Though the Tigers forced two more East Central turnovers in the second quarter, the Eagles found the end zone to make it a 8-6 game heading into the half.
As Rush City head coach Paul Kirby said, the third quarter proved to be a game of field position and defense as both teams put points on the board despite pinning each other deep in its own territory off strong punts, including a long kick from senior Dan Johnson.
The Tigers earned its winning points after Koehnle put his squad in scoring position by calling an audible to Johnson for a long run just short of the goal line.
Senior running back Danny Myers punched it in moments later on a power run to the left behind the blocking of juniors Braxton Wolf and Kyle Nelson to add another six points on the scoreboard. The score was Myers’ third touchdown in three games. Johnson helped the offensive effort with 59 yards in eight carries on the night.
Kirby said the depth of his team is starting to show.
“It was a pretty good win for us,” Kirby said. “We had six guys who rushed the ball, so it’s nice to have a balanced attack. There’s no one in particular that is piling on a ton of individual stats, but we’re getting the job done as a team.”
The head coach also mentioned strong efforts on defense by sophomore Isaiah Johnson, Wolf and junior Blaine Blazek who, along with the rest of the defensive line, forced four turnovers while committing just one themselves.
“Defense is definitely a strength of ours,” Kirby said. “We had a number of tackles for loss and forced a number of fumbles that (East Central) was able to recover for loss of yardage.”
The Tigers’ win puts the team at 1-3 on the season heading into two games at home. Rush City next faces Aitkin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27. The Gobblers are 3-1 this fall, but Kirby said the Tigers are only building confidence as the season progresses.
“We’re going into a nice little home stretch here, so it’s good to be back on the winning side,” Kirby said. “We just need to believe in ourselves and believe that we do have a good football team. That will definitely help our momentum.”