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Football: Late score lifts Tigers past Raiders

Pine River-Backus Football

PRB Football 9-30 1-copy.jpg
PR-B's Rian Struss works through the Raider defense in the Tigers' homecoming win over Lake Park-Audubon on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.
Lena Richards / Echo Journal Correspondent
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PINE RIVER — A win/loss record can be deceiving for sports teams. The Pine River-Backus Tigers football team is 4-1 overall while their opponent Friday, Sept. 30, the Lake Park-Audubon Raiders, is 1-4. So you wouldn’t think the final score and statistics would be close.

But the total yards of offense were close, and the score was tied 24-24, until PR-B quarterback Irvin Tulenchik scored the winning points on a 10-yard touchdown run with 16 seconds remaining for a 30-24 homecoming victory.

“Even at 1-4 (LP-Audubon) is a very good team,” Tigers coach Tom Demars explained. “All of their losses were to good football teams, and they've been very competitive in all of them. So we expected a tough game and that's what it was.”

Tulenchik opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 1-yard plunge to give PR-B a 6-0 lead after one quarter.

The Raiders responded early in the second quarter with a touchdown and a two-point conversion to make it 8-6, but the Tigers ran off 18 points to lead 24-8 at the half. Tulenchik connected with Ethan Rugroden for the first two scores of the quarter and then found Ethan Lodge for a touchdown on the last play of the first half.

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After a scoreless third quarter, the Raiders tied the game at 24 with two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions.

The Tigers then had good field position to start their winning drive in the final minutes.

“The two big plays (on the drive) were a long run by Tulenchik, where he was able to keep the ball on an option play, and then his touchdown run where he was able to scramble on a pass play, and run it into the corner of the endzone,” Demars said.

Tulenchik finished with 168 passing yards and 52 yards on the ground. Lodge carried for 55 yards. Rian Struss had six catches for 84 yards.

PR-B is scheduled to play at Red Lake County Friday, Oct. 7. Red Lake Country is tied for second in the Northwest District, North Division while the Tigers are tied for second in the Northwest District, South division.

“Red Lake County is 4-1 overall, and is another tough team that will employ a physical, straightforward rushing attack,” Demars said.

What's on the schedule for PR-B sports?
Complete schedules

Lake Park-Audubon 0 8 0 16 - 24

Pine River-Backus 6 18 0 6 - 30

First quarter

PRB-Irvin Tulenchik 1 run (conversion failed) 3:59

Second quarter

LPA - Anton Wickenheiser 49 pass from Kaden Beske (Drew Harris run) 11:51

PRB - Ethan Rugroden 4 pass from Tulennchik (conversion failed) 5:08

PRB - Rugroden 29 pass from Tulenchik (conversion failed) 2:06

PRB - Ethan Lodge 20 pass from Tulenchik (conversion failed)

Fourth quarter

LPA - Harris 4 run (Harris run) 11:55

LPA - Wickenheiser 16 pass from Beske (Harris run) 2:08

PRB - Tulenchik 10 run (conversion failed) 0:16

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: PRB 33-142, LPA 37-186

Pass comp-att-int-yds: PRB 13-22-0-168, LPA 8-16-1-109

Total offense: PRB 310, LPA 295

Individual leaders

Rushing: PRB-Ethan Lodge 15-55, Irvin Tulenchik 10-52, Brady Ruhl 3-17, Chance Abraham 5-15

Passing: PRB-Irvin Tulenchik 13-22-0-168

Receiving: PRB-Rian Struss 6-84, Ethan Rugroden 2-33, Abraham 3-26, Lodge 1-20, Barron Milham 1-5

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