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Hawks finish strong, upend Lumberjacks

The Cloquet football team hosted the Hermantown Hawks for homecoming on Friday, Sept. 30 - unfortunately it was the visitors who came out on top

28-14 after pulling away in the fourth quarter.

"It was a fun game with a good crowd," Cloquet coach Jeff Ojanen said. "Our guys played hard, but we didn't finish some drives and we had some untimely missed tackles."

Cloquet drove inside the 5-yard line on their opening drive of the game only to fall short of scoring and turning the ball over on downs. With 8 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the second quarter the 'Jacks got on the board when senior Reese Sheldon threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Dayne Painovich to give Cloquet a 6-0 lead. The Lumberjacks were unable to convert the two-point conversion run leaving the score at 6-0.

Before the half ended the Hawks answered back on a Alex Schott 1-yard touchdown plunge. The Hawks converted the extra point kick to give them a 7-6 halftime lead.

Kollin Bonneville gave the 'Jacks a 12-7 lead midway through the third quarter when he raced in from 18 yards out, and Carter Horvat rushed in the two-point conversion to give Cloquet a 14-7 edge.

The Hawks answered just a few minutes later on a Josh Muehlbauer 57-yard touchdown run, but the extra point kick was no good, leaving Cloquet ahead 14-13 on the scoreboard.

Muehlbauer finished with 128 rushing yards in the game.

"He's a tough, big kid, but I thought other than the one big run we did a good job on him," said Ojanen.

Cloquet had chances early in the fourth quarter, but were unable to convert deep in Hawks territory and that proved costly.

"We played very well offensively most of the game, but we just were unable to punch it in at certain times and it cost us," Ojanen said. "It was frustrating for the kids because they were executing so well and then not to have it pay off was tough. Our offensive line is getting better every game and that is fun to watch."

The Hawks scored the only points of the fourth quarter on a Schott pass to Peyton Menze of 38 yards and a 1-yard run by Schott for the final score of 28-14.

Bonneville and Sheldon led the 'Jacks rushing attack with 99 and 88 yards, respectively, while Warren Hietala chipped in with 34 yards.

"Warren did a good job of filling in at wing back for us," Ojanen said. "He made some good blocks and he ran the ball hard."

The loss dropped the Lumberjacks to 3-2 on the season with a home game Friday against Rock Ridge.

"It's tough, because I really feel with just a couple of small things this team could be 4-1 or 5-0," said Ojanen. "The good news is we know what to work on and I think we saw everything from Hermantown, so when the playoffs come if we get another chance at them I think we'll be right there."

Defensively, the Lumberjacks will need to shore up some sloppy tackling from Friday.

"There was some poor tackling at critical times and we have to be better than that and we will work hard on that," Ojanen said. "This is a good group of hard-working kids and we will improve and get better each game."

Game time is 7 p.m. Friday night at Rol Bromberg Field.

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