Football: Unbeaten Tigers rally past Menahga
Pine River-Backus Football
The Pine River-Backus Tigers football team improved to 3-0 after rallying in the fourth quarter to defeat the visiting Menahga Braves 30-22 Friday, Sept. 16.
PR-B trailed 22-18 going into the final period before Ethan Lodge scored on a pair of short touchdown runs to help the host team triumph.
“We got off to a slow start by allowing a long pass completion on the first play of the game for a score, and then we gave up another (touchdown) midway through the first period,” said Tigers head coach Tom Demars. “Our defense made a couple adjustments, and we were able to put more pressure on the quarterback and tighten up the coverage.”
Menahga grabbed a 14-0 lead after the first quarter before the Tigers rallied to cut the deficit to 14-12 at halftime after an 8-yard touchdown pass from Irvin Tulenchik to Carson Travis and a 66-yard bomb from Tulenchik to Ethan Rugroden.
PR-B assumed an 18-14 lead with 5:49 remaining in the third period with a 35-yard scoring pass from Tulenchik to Lodge. But Menahga answered late in the quarter when Brock Berttunen completed his third touchdown pass of the game - a 22-yard strike to Ryan Tolkkinen.
The Tigers answered on Lodge’s touchdown runs in the final quarter to stay unbeaten and drop Menahga to 1-2 overall.
“Offensively, we were able to mix it up with a pretty even balance of running and passing, with a bunch of big plays,” Demars said.
The Tigers used a balanced attack as they threw for 199 yards and rushed for 205 yards to amass 404 yards compared to Menhaga’s 254. Tulenchik passed for 199 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 99 yards. Lodge rushed for 86 yards.
Pine River-Backus is scheduled to play at New York Mills at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23.
“Our only two losses last year were to NYM - one in the regular season and then again in the playoffs,” Demars said. “They were in the state semifinals last year, so we'll have our work cut out for us. I'm expecting a tough physical competitive game.”