Sheldon 20, ELC 14: Opportunities missed
SHELDON – It could’ve been worse. It could’ve been better.
Estherville Lincoln Central had its chances to win in the season opener with Sheldon on Friday, but the Midgets couldn’t capitalize on enough opportunities in the 20-14 loss to the Orabs.
ELC’s offense struggled through most of the night ending with 127 yards on the ground and 12 through the air, unofficially.
Approximately 50 yards came on one play as quarterback Alex Arends found an opening to the 3-yard line. A couple plays later, Jake Lange took the ball in from 1-yard out. That cut a 13-0 deficit to 13-7.
Sheldon got on the board quickly in the first quarter.
After ELC went three plays and out on its first series, Evan Ascherl went 66 yards on Sheldon’s second play from scrimmage.
Both plays struggled to move the ball until late in the first quarter. With 11:11 left in the second quarter, Taylor Zeutenhorst connected with Ascherl on a 5-yard touchdown pass.
Lange’s touchdown came at 4:47 and the score was 13-7 heading into the break.
“In the first half, we never got the ball across the 50-yard line which made it tough for us,” said ELC coach Chuck Fandel. “We have a young offensive line, but in the second quarter and the second half, they started getting used to the varsity game.”
ELC’s defense spent a lot of time on the field in the third quarter as the Midgets ran just eight plays of offense.
Sheldon upped its lead to two scores again when Michael Lovan ran the ball in from 4 yards out at the 5:25 mark. The point-after had ELC down 20-7.
In the fourth quarter, ELC got a break when Arends punted deep into Orab territory and the ball bounced off a Sheldon player. Ty Wilson hopped on the ball at the Sheldon 6-yard line. Two players later Arends ran the ball in from the 3-yard line.
However, Sheldon quickly stole the momentum with a kickoff return to ELC’s 31-yard line.
The Orabs missed a field goal, giving ELC one last chance.
ELC was forced to punt with late in the game when Arends turned a blocked punt into a first down.
However, he fumbled on ELC’s final offensive play and Sheldon ran out the clock.
Arends ended with 89 yards on 15 carries. Lange had 24 yards on nine carries. Jeremy Hunt had seven yards on one carry and Marcus Christensen had 7 yards on eight carries.
Arends passed 15 times, but only had two completions for 12 yards.
Ascherl led Sheldon with 99 yards on 13 carries and Lovan had 85 yards on 18 carries. Zeutenhorst was 4-of-9 passing for 8 yards and a touchdown.
“As much as our defense was on the field, we did pretty well,” said Fandel.
ELC hosts Sibley-Ocheyedan for the Midgets’ first home game next Friday.