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Football: Tigers roll past W-H-A in season opener

Pine River-Backus Football

090821.PEJ.PRBFootball2.JPG
PR-B's Connor Tulenchik celebrates after recovering a fumble and returning it for a touchdown in the Tigers' win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley on Thursday, Sept. 2. Lena Richards / Echo Journal Correspondent

Connor Tulenchik and Ethan Lodge both scored twice to lead the Pine River-Backus Tigers football team past the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Wolves 44-0 in a Northwest Conference season opener Thursday, Sept. 2.

“It was a nice win for us as it was a district and section opponent,” said PR-B coach Tom Demars, whose team also defeated W-H-A 29-6 in the Section 6A playoffs last year. “We were returning nearly the entire lineup from last year's game. So I definitely think our win last year to end the season gave us some confidence.”

The Tigers assumed a 28-0 halftime lead as Tulenchik scored on a blocked punt return and Lodge talled on a 51-yard run in the first quarter. Tulenchik then scored on a short run and then Carson Travis hauled in a 20-yard scoring pass from Ivan Tulenchik in the second quarter.

Lodge then added a 59-yard punt return to score in the third quarter before Caleb Ruhl closed out the scoring with an 11-yard run in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers dominated the game with 325 yards compared to the Wolves’ 85. Individually, PR-B was led by Connor Tulenchik with 86 yards rushing while Lodge added 51. Ivan Tulenchik completed seven passes for 116 yards.

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“As coaches, we were happy to see all three phases play big roles in this game,” Demars said. “The offense was able to mix it up and move the ball running and passing, as well as limit turnovers on a wet night. The defense was able to force a bunch of turnovers (3 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions) and gave the offense good field position all night. And we scored twice on special teams.”

PR-B is scheduled to play another conference game at Bagley at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10.

“Because of covid we didn't get to see Bagley play last year, so we're really not sure what to expect,” Demars said. “(Bagley) has always put out a competitive, well coached team and I would expect that to be the same this year."

PRB 16 12 8 8 -- 44

WHA 0 0 0 0 -- 0

First quarter

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PRB-Connor Tulenchik blocked punt return (Reggie Ross run)

PRB-Ethan Lodge 51 run (C. Tulenchik run)

Second quarter

PRB-C. Tulenchik 4 run (kick failed)

PRB-Carson Travis 20 pass from Ivan Tulenchik (kick failed)

Third quarter

PRB-Lodge 59 punt return (C. Tulenchik run)

Fourth quarter

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PRB-Caleb Ruhl 11 run (two-point conversion)

Team statistics:

Rushes-yards: PRB 33-207, WHA 31-45

Pass comp-att-int-yds: PRB 7-13-1-116, WHA 5-9-1-40

Total yards: PRB 323, WHA 85

Individual statistics:

Rushing: PRB - C. Tulenchik 13-86, Lodge 6-51, C. Ruhl 2-31, B. Ruhl 2-22, C. Abraham 5-12

Passing: PRB - I. Tulenchik 7-13-136-1-1

Receiving: PRB - R. Struss 2-61, C. Travis 2-27, R. Ross 1-26, C. Abraham 2-22

090821.PEJ.PRBFootball1 - copy.jpg
PR-B running back Chance Abraham attempts to shake off a tackle in the Tigers' win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley on Thursday, Sept. 2. Lena Richards / Echo Journal Correspondent

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