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Area Football: Big 3rd quarter leads Huskies to win

Pillager 22, United North Central 14 Key: Pillager scored 22 third-quarter points Conf: Pill 2-1, UNC 2-1 Overall: Pill 3-1, UNC 3-1 Next: Pillager vs. West Central at Barrett 3 p.m. Saturday PILLAGER--Tucker Peterson made a sophomore mistake ear...

Pillager’s Dylan Loftis (left) and Tucker Peterson (right) sack United North Central’s quarterback James Clark Friday. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch
Pillager’s Dylan Loftis (left) and Tucker Peterson (right) sack United North Central’s quarterback James Clark Friday. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch

Pillager 22, United North Central 14

Key: Pillager scored 22 third-quarter points

Conf: Pill 2-1, UNC 2-1

Overall: Pill 3-1, UNC 3-1

Next: Pillager vs. West Central at Barrett 3 p.m. Saturday

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PILLAGER-Tucker Peterson made a sophomore mistake early Friday night.

But by the end of the night, the Pillager Huskies may have wanted to crown him homecoming king.

Peterson picked off a fourth quarter pass to end United North Central's second-to-last drive at the Pillager 5. Then on the Warriors last drive he broke up a pass play on fourth and 13 on the Huskies 24 with 24.3 seconds left to seal Pillager's 22-14 victory.

"I just had to do it for our (football) family," said Tucker Peterson. "Close game. Fourth quarter. We had to step up and I made a play."

A play that will be remembered and will help Peterson forget his mistake on UNC's first touchdown in the second quarter.

On third and goal at the Pillager 5, Warrior quarterback James Clark ran wide left for the score. Peterson was in charge of containing the edge. It was the only score of the first half and gave UNC an 8-0 halftime lead.

"I had outside contain," Tucker Peterson said. "The interception brought me back to life. I was down after that touchdown. My teammates brought me back up, but when I got that pick I just knew it was my game."

The Huskies started believing at halftime.

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Pillager punted on its first possession of the second half, but on its first play of its next drive, Dylan Loftis ran right and then cut across the field and out-sprinted UNC's defense for a 68-yard touchdown.

UNC answered, however, when Clark busted off a 35-yard touchdown run. The Warriors missed the two-point conversion to make it 14-8 at the 5:19 mark.

Two plays later, senior Eli Horn burst through the line for a 37-yard score and capped the drive with the 2-point conversion and a 16-14 lead.

"Our halftime adjustment was we were just going to go back to what we know best," said Pillager head coach Paul Peterson. "We challenged a couple of kids and our offensive line and they got after it. We were able to do some pretty good things and Dylan Loftis is a pretty good football player so that helps.

"That was a huge play by him. He's been a sparkplug for us. He was making good plays on offense, defense and special teams. He just makes a lot of good plays."

On the ensuing kickoff, the Huskies caught a break when the Warriors muffed the short kickoff. Pillager recovered on the UNC 42. Eight plays later Horn scored again from 7 yards out.

"What that kickoff was was a substitution," Paul Peterson said. "Our kicker wasn't doing what we wanted him to do so we went to our next kicker and he didn't do what we wanted him to either, but it worked out for us. That was unintentional."

Then it was time for Tucker Peterson to shine in the Huskies defensive backfield. Although stopping Clark was a challenge. Clark rushed for 95 yards on 30 carries for Class 2A's ninth-ranked Warriors. He also threw for 159 yards on 11-of-23 passing. UNC didn't commit a turnover until Tucker Peterson stepped in front of what would have been a touchdown.

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"His play was awesome," Paul Peterson said. "It's a big thing. We're getting some young guys in the game and they're not as good as they're going to be and that's exciting. They've been asked to step up due to injury and they're filling in. Now it's going to be tough to take those guys off the field. That's good for us because it creates depth and it helps us in the future, too."

Loftis led Pillager's offense with 167 yards on 17 carries. Horn added 68 yards on eight carries and Logan Gjovik rushed 30 yards on nine carries. Josh Doss was an efficient 4-7 passing for 46 yards.

"I love this," Tucker Peterson said. "I did this for my football family. It was good to get the win on homecoming for our crowd. They showed much love to us."

United NC 0 8 6 0-14

Pillager 0 0 22 0-22

Second quarter

UNC-James Clark 5 run (Clark run) 8:43

Third quarter

Pill-Dylan Loftis 68 run (Logan Gjovik run) 7:35

UNC-Clark 35 run (run failed) 5:19

PIll-Eli Horn 37 run (Horn run) 4:45

Pill-Horn 7 run (run failed) 1:16

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: Pill 36-282, UNC 41-110

Pass comp-att-int-yds: Pill 4-7-0-46, UNC 11-23-1-159

Total offense: Pill 43-328, UNC 64-269

Individual leaders

Rushing: Pill-Dylan Loftis 17-167, Eli Horn 8-68, Logan Gjovik 7-39, Jack Bentson 2-7, Aaron Klein 1-(-1), Nathan Rooney 1-2; UNC-James Clark 30-95, Zach Floyd 7-0, Owen Anderson 4-15

Passing: Pill-Josh Doss 4-7-46; UNC-Clark 11-23-159

Receiving: Pill-Horn 1-18, Loftis 2-1, Jordan Hines 1-27; UNC-Mason Dailey 2-44, Anderson 2-6, Jack Lillquist 2-40, Floyd 1-(-4), Tristan Aho 4-73

Pillager’s Eli Horn runs the ball Friday against United North Central. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video
Pillager’s Eli Horn runs the ball Friday against United North Central. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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