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Putting it all together

By Staff | Sep 13, 2020

Zack Anderson (30) and Seth Busch (15) wrap up an Okoboji ball carrier, as ELC’s defense did the job against the Pioneers on Friday. Photo by David Swartz

MILFORD – Offense, defense, special teams-Estherville Lincoln Central had all three phases working in dismantling Okoboji 46-0 on Friday.

ELC’s special teams started the night with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Daryl Jensen. Later in the first quarter, the Midget punt return team blocked an Okoboji punt in the Pioneers’ end zone with Lamont Whiting landing on the ball for a second special teams’ touchdown.

Meanwhile, the ELC offense racked up 399 yards, moving the ball most of the night at will.

The ELC defense gave up just 112 yards to the Pioneers, with about half of that coming on the hosts’ first play, but little else after that, as the Midgets recorded 20 tackles for a loss and three interceptions.

“These first three games were important, but it only gets tougher for us,” said ELC coach Ryan Rezac, whose team is now 3-0 heading into this Friday’s rivalry game against Spirit Lake.

Against Okoboji, Jensen’s opening touchdown return took just 12 seconds weaving back and cross the center of the field before bursting through and out-running the Pioneer players.

ELC’s Brandon Flores’ ensuing kickoff was near perfect, pinning Okoboji inside their 5-yard line.

However on the first Pioneer play, some misdirection on the handoff allowed quarterback Dawson Goecke to run 50-plus yards downfield. Okoboji’s second play took them inside the ELC 20-yard line, but the Midget defense eventually held, with Kevin Egeland intercepting a pass in the end zone on fourth down.

ELC needed just two plays to get back to the end zone. Quarterback Ryan Schiltz connected with Matt Christensen to get to midfield. Zavion McMurran then took a handoff up the middle and burst through on a 54-yard touchdown run, as ELC led 13-0 with 6:30 left in the opening quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, an illegal Pioneer block against pinned the hosts deep in their territory. That set up the blocked punt four plays later. With the Okoboji punter in the end zone, several Midgets burst through the Pioneer line to make the block with Whiting first to fall on the football for the touchdown. Flores’ extra point kick made the score 20-0 at the 3:06 mark of the period.

McMurran scored his second touchdown on a 5-yard run with 8:58 left in the half. Schiltz connected with Christensen on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 3:06 remaining, and ELC led 33-0 at the break.

ELC’s defense forced the Pioneers to punt their opening drive of the second half and then the Midgets promptly marched down field with McMurran scoring on a 1-yard run. That score was set up by a 42-yard pass play from Schiltz to Christensen that took ELC to that 1-yard line. Christensen ended the night with five catches for 145 yards.

With a 39-0 lead and a running clock via the 35-point rule, ELC’s bench got its chance on the field for much of the rest of the game.

In the fourth quarter, freshman Owen Larson came up with an interception on defense, and then he scored on an 11-yard run with 7:34 left in the game. Flores made the final extra point, as he finished 4-of-7 on PATs for the game.

Schiltz finished 8-of-13 passing for 177 yards with the one touchdown. Larson was 2-of-2 passing for 50 yards. Blake Ingvall caught one pass for 32 yards, Nick Leonard caught one pass for 18 yards, Jensen caught one pass for 12 yards and Egeland and Whiting each caught a pass for 10 yards.

ELC finished with 172 yards on the ground, led by McMurran, who had six carries for 88 yards. Garrett Paulson had four carries for 25 yards, Whiting had two carries for 16 yards, Jensen had two carries for 15 yards, Larson had two carries for 11 yards, Alex Sheridan had seven carries for 11 yards, Schiltz had six carries for 10 yards, and Kyle Quastad had a carry for minus 4 yards.

Paulson led the defense with seven tackles with six going for a loss including one sack. Seth Busch had five tackles, McMurran had four tackles with three for a loss including a sack. Egeland, Zack Anderson, and Leonard each had 3.5 tackles-Anderson with three tackles for a loss, Leonard with two and Anderson with one. Brody Waddell had two tackles for a loss with one of those a sack.

Anderson also had an interception.

ELC (3-0 overall, 1-0 in district play) hosts Spirit Lake (1-2, 1-0) this Friday at Hoyt Luithly Field in Estherville. The Indians earned their first win of the season with a 40-17 win over Algona on Friday.