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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Mariners sink Timberwolves

Jay Greeney
Posted 10/16/18

ELY – The Timberwolves had their chances to improve to 3-4 on the season during a bone-chilling homecoming tilt with the Mariners last Friday.

Both teams entered the game 2-4, but it was Silver …

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Mariners sink Timberwolves


ELY – The Timberwolves had their chances to improve to 3-4 on the season during a bone-chilling homecoming tilt with the Mariners last Friday.

Both teams entered the game 2-4, but it was Silver Bay that managed to fend off a last-minute scoring opportunity for the Wolves, leaving them up 34-30 as the final buzzer sounded.

The Mariners took the lead on their opening kickoff, after converting a fourth-and-goal from the Ely four yard-line. A kicked extra point put them up 7-0.

After a trade of possessions, the Wolves put their first points on the board. From the Silver Bay 14-yard line, senior fill-in quarterback Nick Mattila scrambled his way to the end zone for six. The Wolves followed up with the conversion giving Ely a much-needed confidence booster and an 8-7 lead.

The Wolves extended their lead, on the Mariners’ next possession, when junior Finn Leisching intercepted a Silver Bay passing, setting up an easy Ely score.

The Wolves didn’t enjoy their lead for long. The Mariners drove for six more later in the second quarter, but still trailed by a point after they failed on a two-point conversion.

But an Ely miscue on their next possession gave the Mariners the ball on the Ely side of midfield with 1:24 to go before the half. It took just one play for the Mariners to capitalize, and the two-point conversion put them up 21-14 at the break.

Ely got back on track early in the second half, when they recovered a Silver Bay onside kick attempt at their own 49 -yard-line. Their scoring drive took 3:27 off the clock and their two-point conversion staked Ely to a 22-21 lead.

The Wolves appeared to extend their momentum on their second pick-off of the night on the first play of the Mariners’ next possession. That left the Wolves on the Silver Bay 35-yard line, but penalties proved costly and they came away empty-handed.

The Mariners hit pay dirt on their next possession, taking a 27-22 lead.

The Mariners padded their margin after forcing an Ely punt, then added six points on their first play from scrimmage, on a spectucular 72-yard touchdown scamper. They added the extra point and took a 12-point lead with just 5:13 remaining in the game.

But the Wolves weren’t finished. On their next possession, they drove the ball 63 yards in just over a minute and scored on a broken play to trim the Mariners’ margin to six. They added the conversion to close the gap to 34-30.

Then, they recovered their own onside kick, giving them the ball and renewed momentum on the Silver Bay 40-yard line, with 3:51 to go. But Ely couldn’t capitalize and they gave the ball back to Silver Bay on their own 12-yard line with just over a minute remaining. The Mariners could have easily run out the clock, but Ely forced a fumble, giving the ball back to Ely on the Silver Bay 11-yard line.

The Wolves took it seven yards on first down, leaving them second and three on the four yard-line. The Mariners stuffed their next run, leaving Ely with a third down from the five yard-line. Ely appeared to score the go-ahead on the next play, but a 15-yard penalty brought them back all the way to the 20 -yard line. A pass attempt on the replay of third down fell short and the Mariners picked off Ely’s fourth-down Hail Mary in the end zone to end the game.

Despite the loss, Ely put up impressive offensive numbers. Nick Mattila was the workhorse, rushing for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries. Junior Dalton Schreffler was right behind, with 190 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Ely had 432 rushing yards for the game, but fell short in the air, completing just two of nine pass attempts for just 20 yards.

Ely fell to 2-5 with the loss. They were playing 2-5 North Woods in both teams’ regular season finale as the Timberjay went to press.


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