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Area Football: Huskies hone in on perfect regular season

Pillager 46, PRB 12 Key: Pillager accumulated 404 yards of offense Conf: Pill 5-0, PRB 4-1 Overall: Pill 7-0, PRB 6-1 Next: Pillager at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 7 p.m. Wednesday; Pine River-Backus at Bagley 7 p.m. Wednesday PILLAGER--If there wer...

Pillager’s Ridge Hunstad catches a pass in the end zone for a 2-point conversion Friday against Pine River-Backus. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery
Pillager’s Ridge Hunstad catches a pass in the end zone for a 2-point conversion Friday against Pine River-Backus. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery

Pillager 46, PRB 12

Key: Pillager accumulated 404 yards of offense

Conf: Pill 5-0, PRB 4-1

Overall: Pill 7-0, PRB 6-1

Next: Pillager at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 7 p.m. Wednesday; Pine River-Backus at Bagley 7 p.m. Wednesday

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PILLAGER-If there were any questions of the Pillager Huskies legitimacy, they were answered Friday.

Class 2A's third-ranked Huskies racked up 404 yards of total offense, didn't turn the ball over, held Class 1A's seventh-ranked Pine River-Backus Tigers to just 148 yards of offense, including -1 yard of rushing, to improve to 7-0 with a 46-12 Northwest White Subdistrict victory.

From the very start Pillager was in control. It forced a PR-B three and out and then traveled 69 yards on seven plays to open up an 8-0 lead. After another Tiger punt, Pillager covered 65 yards on 13 plays and capped off its second drive with a Joshua Doss 5-yard TD pass to Ryan Foehrenbacher.

The Huskies scored on every possession they had in the first half, including back-to-back Ridge Hunstad TD runs. Hunstad, rushed for 111 yards in the first half alone. A 53-yard TD run to start the second half pushed his total to 178 yards on just 12 carries.

"We got a lot of good pushes from the offensive line," said Doss. "They moved the defense back pretty well and then our running backs ran the ball really well. They ran hard up the hole and used the blocks. It was a good team win.

"We knew we wanted to come out and just physically dominate the game on the line like we did. We knew they were athletic, but we just wanted to pound it in there and we got it done."

Doss finished 6-of-9 passing for 62 yards. Junior Logan Gjovik finished the scoring in the fourth with an 8-yard burst. He and Aaron Klein carried most of the second-half load. Gjovik rushed nine times for 44 yards and Klein added 37 yards on 10 carries to prevent Pillager from ever punting Friday.

"We wanted to do exactly what we did," said Pillager head coach Paul Peterson. "We wanted to be able to run our power play and our wedge play. It wasn't as good toward the end, but they knew it was coming and when you know it's coming it's not as effective. But the blocking up front was really nice."

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PR-B could have folded early when senior back Mitchell Wynn needed to be carried off the field. He was one of three Tigers who suffered a game-ending injury. That and the score forced PR-B to take to the air, which they did with some effectiveness. Spencer Richards was 10-of-18 for 133 yards in the first half. He scored both of the Tigers' touchdowns on 1-yard keepers. His second was set up by a heady Tim Bardeaux, who caught an out pass, was tackled by Hunstad, but never touched the ground. Bardeaux kept on running until he was finally brought down at the 1.

"I thought the guys that were out there competed pretty well overall," said PR-B head coach Tom Demars. "Before the first quarter was over, three of my best defensive players are over on the bench. Our two starting running backs were over there. The guys could have laid down, but I thought they just kept battling instead.

"We don't have the depth to lose three good players."

But the second half was all Pillager. Richards was sacked twice by Jaden Dumpprope and Isaac Thomsen and Andy Putnam picked off a screen pass. It was Richard's second interception thrown as Hunstad stole one in the first half.

"Defensively we just swam to the ball," Peterson said. "We stress pursuit and we have really athletic kids. Our linemen, on offense we pull and run around, so our big guys can run around and it's the same guys on defense so we can do the same thing. They work as a unit and they make plays."

Pillager's defense held PR-B to -14 yards rushing and Richards was just 1-of-8 passing in the second half. It was PR-B's first loss after an emotional victory last week against previously unbeaten Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.

"Pillager is physical and fast and we knew it was going to be a challenge to stop that running game," said Demars. "They throw the ball well and they have guys who can catch it and make plays. We knew it was going to be a challenge and it was for sure."

Pillager travels to Walker to attempt to close out the season unbeaten and secure the No. 1 seed in the Section 6-2A playoffs.

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"We're always confident that we can beat anyone, but we just need to take care of ourselves and just execute the next game and hopefully we can get a win," Doss said.

Pine River-B 0 12 0 0-12

Pillager 8 24 8 6-46

First quarter

Pill-Eli Horn 5 run (Joshua Doss run) 6:50

Second quarter

Pill-Ryan Foehrenbacher 5 pass from Doss (Ridge Hunstad pass from Doss) 10:47

PRB-Spencer Richards 1 run (pass failed) 5:53

Pill-Hunstad 7 run (Hunstad run) 4:28

PRB-Richards 1 run (pass failed) 2:48

Pill-Hunstad 9 run (Hunstad run) 59.1

Third quarter

Pill-Hunstad 53 run (Horn run) 10:17

Fourth quarter

Pill-Logan Gjovik (run failed) 10:29

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: Pill 58-342, PRB 19-(-1)

Pass comp-att-int-yds: Pill 6-9-62, PRB 11-26-2-149

Total offense: Pill 67-404, PRB 45-148

Individual leaders

Rushing: Pill-Ridge Hunstad 12-178, Damian Fink 5-19, Eli Horn 7-35, Joshua Doss 6-21, Logan Gjovik 9-44, Aaron Klein 10-37, Austin Berndt 3-7, Andy Putnam 3-5, Colton Hardy 2-(-3), Team 1-(-1); PRB-Mitchell Wynn 4-5, Brandon Wolske 5-(-1), Bryce Wolske 1-9, Spencer Richards 8-(-14), Don Owen 1-0

Passing: Pill-Dos 6-9-62 ; PRB-Richards 11-26-149

Receiving: Pill-Fink 1-18, Ryan Foehrenbacher 5-43, Horn 1-1; PRB-Tim Bardeaux 4-54, Kiel Struss 4-27, Trey Burgoyne 2-58, Devyn Richards 1-10

Related Topics: PINE RIVER-BACKUS TIGERS
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