PEQUOT LAKES—Who says you need an offense?
The Pequot Lakes Patriots didn't Friday, Sept. 7, as they used two interception returns for touchdowns and an 84-yard kickoff return for a score to defeat the Fergus Falls Otters 27-14 in a Midwest Red Subdistrict tilt.
Pequot's offense accumulated just 158 total yards, while Fergus Falls tallied 387 yards of offense. But it was a bend-but-don't-break defense that kept Pequot close long enough for those big plays to pop.
"We're young and we're not very big, but we have a lot of spirit," sophomore utility back Bode Magnuson said. "We just found ways to win. Big plays were key."
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Pequot Lakes 27, Fergus Falls 14
- Key: Two interception returns and a kickoff return for TD lead Pequot
- Sub: PL 1-0, FF 0-1
- Overall: PL 2-0, FF 0-2
- Next: Pequot Lakes at Perham 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14
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After Fergus put up 14 points on the board, Magnuson returned the next kickoff 84 yards for Pequot's first points.
It was Magnuson again, later in the second quarter, hauling in a short Cale Wolf pass and then sprinting most of the 71 yards for another score. Wolf hit Dylin Ackerman on a corner fade for the 2-point conversion and the halftime scoreboard read 14-14.
"I think we were a little concerned when they got up 14-0," said Pequot head coach Bill Magnuson. "That's your chance, though, for your seniors to step up or a sophomore like Bode Magnuson returns the kickoff to kind of ignite things. Then we make a big play when we get the ball back and score on one play. You're back in the game.
"Kids are kind of funny. If they believe they can do something, they'll find a way and they did tonight."
Ackerman's two first-half interceptions stalled two long Fergus Falls drives, but it was just the beginning as the Patriots collected six total interceptions. Pequot's secondary did allow 223 yards passing, but it was short passes. The Otters' longest pass in the second half was just 12 yards.
"We knew they were going to run their buck sweep," Bill Magnuson said. "We know they like the three-step game. We'll give up that short stuff and make you drive the field and sure enough, look what happens. They had some penalties that put them in long situations and then we have a shot. When we get up against teams that are just going to pound it, that will be tough for us. But we wanted to make them drive the field."
Fergus moved the ball to the Patriot 21-yard line on its first drive of the second half before James Brennan corralled his first pick and returned it 83 yards for a score to give Pequot a 20-14 edge.
"We knew what they were going to throw and so we had some coverage over the top and we were waiting for it," Bill Magnuson said. "We were able to make those breaks and I'm pretty proud of the guys."
Four plays later, Tyler Larson picked off Otters' QB Ethan Olson to end the Otters' next drive. Fergus Falls' third drive of the third quarter went 58 yards on 11 plays, but stalled at the Patriot 24.
While all that was going on, the Patriots offense managed just 4 yards in the third quarter and no first downs. Pequot's only first down of the second half came on with 5:01 left in the game. On a fourth and 2 play on the Fergus 40-yard line, Magnuson took a sweep, ran around a penetrating defender, and got exactly 2 yards to keep the drive alive and the clock ticking.
"We struggled offensively, but we are an all-junior line," Bill Magnuson said. "They were big. They were strong, but the good news is we have some athletes on our team. If we can get the ball in the right spot you can see what can happen. I'm extremely proud of our defense. It was a bend, but don't break, but I think we had six picks tonight. Guys were in the right spot. We were lining up right and then it was just a couple of great plays by some individuals."
The drive ended in a punt, but five plays later Bode Magnuson was taking his second interception to the house from 31 yards out for the game's final score.
"They had run that same play a couple of plays before so I recognized it and just jumped the route," Bode Magnuson said. "I caught the ball and it was just wide open. It was just awesome. Our defense came up big tonight."
For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2CwV95W.
Fergus Falls 6 8 0 0—14
Pequot Lakes 0 14 6 7—27
FF-Matthew Johnson 21 pass from Ethan Olson (kick failed) 27.1
FF-Robert Sewell 31 pass from Olson (Sewell pass from Olson) 6:12
PL-Bode Magnuson 84 kickoff return (run failed) 5:57
PL-Magnuson 71 pass from Cale Wolf (Dylin Ackerman pass from Wolf) 1:50
PL-James Brennan interception return (pass failed) 9:09
PL-Magnuson 31 interception return (Dalton Ackerman kick) 1:45
Rushes-yards: PL 26-23, FF 39-164
Pass comp-att-int-yds: PL 6-11-0-135, FF 22-39-6-223
Total offense: PL 39-158, FF 78-387
Rushing: PL-James Brennan 6-10, Cale Wolf 5-(-7), Bode Magnuson 5-20, Tim Ryan 2-0, Nic Kotaska 6-4, team 2-(-4)
Passing: PL-Wolf 6-11-135
Receiving: PL-Ryan 1-7, Dylin Ackerman 2-42, Brennan 1-5, Magnuson 2-81