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Tigers top Rebels in season opener

Running backs Mitchell Wynn and Don Owen each scored two touchdowns as the Pine River-Backus Tigers football began their season with an emphatic 26-6 victory over the Red Lake County Rebels on Thursday, Sept. 1.

PR-B running back Mitchell Wynn barrels through the Red Lake County secondary on Thursday, Sept. 1. Photo by Lena Richards
PR-B running back Mitchell Wynn barrels through the Red Lake County secondary on Thursday, Sept. 1. Photo by Lena Richards

Running backs Mitchell Wynn and Don Owen each scored two touchdowns as the Pine River-Backus Tigers football began their season with an emphatic 26-6 victory over the Red Lake County Rebels on Thursday, Sept. 1.

"I thought we were pretty solid," coach Tom Demars said. "Our goal coming in from last year is to be better at stopping the run and run the ball better ourselves. I thought we made strides in doing that. We played physical ball, and except for one drive did a pretty good job of stopping the run."

Both teams saw their offenses stall in the first quarter, but the Tigers responded with an Owen touchdown from four yards out on the second play of the second quarter.

Owen scored again on a 34-yard run just six minutes laters and quarterback Spencer Richards found Trey Burgoyne in the endzone for two to give PR-B a two-score lead.

After a Rebel three-and-out and a 22-yard punt return from Burgoyne, the Tigers capitalized once again with a minute left in the half on a 27-yard touchdown on a screen play to Wynn, who flattened an opposing cornerback on the goal line to give the Tigers a 20-0 halftime lead.

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After a defense-centric third quarter, the Rebels answered three minutes into the fourth quarter with a 13-play drive capped off by a rushing touchdown from Connor Lambert. The Rebels controlled the ball for most of the quarter, but a fourth-and-seven sack by Bryce Wolske gave the Tigers the ball near midfield with fewer than five minutes left in the game.

Eight plays later, Wynn lumbered into the endzone from 1 yard out to score the final touchdown of the game.

Owen led the team on the ground, rushing 14 times for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Wynn had 10 carries for 47 yards while tallying 27 receiving yards as well, scoring both a rushing and receiving touchdown.

Richards was the leading passer, completing 6 passes for 80 yards and a score.

"You are going to have your ups and downs in a game," Demars said. "We were able to deliver the blows for the most part in the second quarter, had a battle in the third and fought back in the fourth. I'm happy they bounced back, and I think they played pretty well the whole game."

The Tigers will travel to New York Mills to face the Eagles on Friday, Sept. 9.

Red Lake County 0 0 0 6-6

PR-Backus 0 20 0 6-26

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Second quarter

PRB-Don Owen 4 run (pass fail) 11:49

PRB-Owen 35 run (Brenden Fenstermaker pass from Spencer Richards) 5:37

PRB-Mitchell Wynn 26 pass from Richards (run fail) 0:39

Fourth quarter

RL-Connor Lambert 9 run 8:53

PRB-Wynn 1 run (pass fail) 0:43

Team statistics

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Rushes-yards: RL 48-106, PRB 39-166

Pass comp-att-int-yds: RL 0-6-1-0, PRB 6-15-0-80

Total offense: RL 106, PRB 246

Individual leaders

Rushing: PRB-Owen 14-92, Wynn 10-47

Passing: PRB-Richards 6-15-0-80

Receiving: PRB-Fenstermaker 2-18, Wynn 1-26, Bryce Wolske 1-19, Owen 1-10, Devyn Richards 1-7

Overall: PRB 1-0. Next: Pine River-Backus at New York Mills 7 p.m. Sept. 9.

Defensive back Trey Burgoyne intercepts a pass in the team's season-opener against Red Lake County on Thursday, Sept. 1. Photo by Lena Richards
Defensive back Trey Burgoyne intercepts a pass in the team's season-opener against Red Lake County on Thursday, Sept. 1. Photo by Lena Richards

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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