EVELETH — The Eveleth-Gilbert football team’s Friday night game with Crosby-Ironton started out about as well as it could for the Golden Bears.
Two poor snaps on what would have been Ranger punts sailed over the punter’s head, giving the Bears a safety on the first mishandle and had the ball at the C-I one yard line on the second.
With one win and one loss to their name, Eveleth-Gilbert quickly scored from the one to go up 10-0 on C-I, but it was all Rangers for the rest of the game as Crosby-Ironton scored 38 unanswered points on Eveleth-Gilbert to take the 38-10 win and move to 3-0 on the season.
Things looked to be going strong for the Golden Bears right from word go. The first play from scrimmage was sniffed out and the Rangers only grabbed two yards. Crosby-Ironton quarterback Dakota Mitchell then fumbled the ball and recovered it himself for a loss of two yards. An incomplete pass on third down set up the first punt of the game.
A bad snap sailed the ball deeper into Ranger territory and was picked up by the punter who was taken down in his own end zone by the Golden Bears defense, giving E-G a safety, a 2-0 lead and the ball following the free kick.
The Bears started their first offensive drive from their own 46 and got decent runs, one each from Marshal Sortedahl, Tommy Schlotec and Jake Sickel to grab a first down and move the chains. Another run from Sickel followed by a C-I penalty gave Eveleth-Gilbert a first and 10 from the Ranger 33 but the drive would stall out there and the Bears punted after losing some ground on a penalty.
Crosby-Ironton took over from their own 20-yard line and got an 11-yard run immediately from Ben Edmundson to give the Rangers some more breathing room but they stalled out on the next three plays and were forced to punt for the second time in two drives.
Again, the snap on the play sailed over the punter’s head, who was able to recover it on his own one-yard line. The Bears took over on downs and, after a failed quarterback keeper from Nick Beaudette, scored on a Beaudette pass to Carter Flannigan.
Beaudette connected with Hunter Pederson on the two-point conversion to make it a 10-0 ball game in favor of Eveleth-Gilbert.
“We were fired up after that safety right off the bat,” Bears head coach Sean Streier said after the game. They gave us another gift right away and we took advantage of it but the wheels definitely came off after that.”
The Rangers wasted no time mounting their comeback as they scored on their very next possession.
On the Bears’ 39-yard line, Mitchell aired it out to Anthony Hudrlik for a 39-yard score to make it 10-6. After the two-point pass to Kale Dugan was completed, the gap was shortened to just two with C-I trailing 10-8.
A quick three-and-out for the Rangers defense gave them the ball back with under a minute to play in the first quarter. Crosby-Ironton continued to successfully march down the field before pulling up at the E-G 30-yard line to allow Mitchell to air it out to Hudrlik one more time for his second receiving touchdown of the game.
Following the two-point conversion, Crosby-Ironton led Eveleth-Gilbert 14-10 early in the second quarter.
A pair of runs from Sortedahl and Beaudette gave the Bears a quick first down on their next drive, but they puttered out at their own 30 and were forced to punt it back to the Rangers.
At their own 46, C-I was able to push forward for a first down in three plays to get themselves a first down inside Bears territory. From there, Mitchell handed the ball off to Edmundson who broke through the Bears defense for a 46-yard touchdown run to make it 24-10 after the two point conversion.
That would be the last score in the first half as the two teams traded a pair of possessions to wind down the clock in the second frame.
Hoping to come out with a strong second half showing after giving up 24 unanswered points, the Bears looked much the same as they did after quickly scoring the first 10 points.
Crosby-Ironton moved the ball efficiently and, even when they couldn’t score, gave the ball back to the Bears with terrible field position. The Rangers scored two more times in the contest with Mitchell hitting Carter Decent for a five-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter followed by Edmundson hitting pay dirt one more time from 22 yards out.
When all was said and done, the Bears took a tough loss to a still undefeated Crosby-Ironton team, 38-10.
“We weren’t there mentally tonight,” Streier said after the game. “I give credit to Crosby. They’re definitely a very good, well disciplined. We’re still learning quite a bit of new stuff out there and we got a few kids back this week that were out the first two games so they’re trying to fit into their roles as well.
“We’re coming along but we’re young and it’s not moving as quickly as we hoped it would.”
Now 1-2 on the season, Eveleth-Gilbert will be in action next Friday at Mesabi East.
CI 8 16 6 8 — 38
EG 10 0 0 0 — 10
EG: Carter Flannigan 1 pass from Nick Beaudette (Pederson pass from Beaudette)
CI: Anthony Hudrlik 39 pass from Dakota Mitchell (Kale Dugan pass from Mitchell)
CI: Hudrlik 30 pass from Mitchell (Dugan run)
CI: Ben Edmundson 46 run (Mitchell run)
CI: Carter Decent 5 pass from Mitchell (run fail)
CI: Edmundson 22 run (Dietrich Winegarner pass from Mitchell)