Pioneers pick up where they left off

Sports 2 weeks ago TRF Sports 22

by Scott DCamp
Sports Editor

Two-time defending MCAC football champion Northland Community and Technical College won its fifth consecutive season-opener 42-21 at Vermilion Saturday, Aug. 24.

The win was also the first for new head coach Jeremy Richardson, who would like to see his team do a better job of taking care of the football.

“Both teams had a lot of turnovers,” Richardson said. “Our turnovers kept them in the game early. In the second half, we turned their turnovers into points.”

Each team had five possessions end on turnovers. Northland also stopped a pair of Vermilion drives with defensive stops on fourth down in the second half.

“It was a sloppy game on both ends,” Richardson added. “I’m just happy that we came out with less slop to get the win.”

Vermilion broke a scoreless tie early in the second quarter, as the teams traded scores for the remainder of the first half with the Ironmen leading 21-14. Both of Northland’s second quarter scores came in the air, as quarterback Zach Georges connected with Julien Durham for a 46-yard score, and Zayir Keen for a 34-yard touchdown reception.

Northland got to within a point of Vermilion on its first possession of the second half, as Trenod Desrosier scored the first of his two touchdowns on an eight-yard run.

On the ensuing possession, Northland’s Keidre Taylor scooped up a loose ball and scored on a 35-yard return following a bobbled long-snap by Vermilion. Georges added the two-point run to make it 28-21 in favor of the Pioneers.

Northland went up 36-26 following a seven-yard touchdown run by Desrosier and two-point run by Georges. A fourth quarter four-yard touchdown run by Samuel Dixon rounded out the scoring for the Pioneers.

“I give a lot of credit to the defense on how they played in the second half,” Richardson said. “We could have found ourselves in a shootout, but the defense stepped up and put the offense in a good spot to succeed.”

Up next for the Pioneers is the 2019 home opener against Mesabi Range College at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31. The visiting Norsemen enter the game with a 1-0 record after crushing the Rochester Yellowjackets 61-31 in their opener.

Northland has won the last three head-to-head meetings in the series against Mesabi Range, including a 68-35 MCAC championship game win in 2017, and a 53-7 MCAC playoff semifinal win in 2018. Saturday’s game is Northland’s Community Game. Free tickets to the game are available at area businesses.

Scoring           1  2  3  4   T
Northland……. 0 14 22 6  42
Vermilion……. 0 21  0  0   21
Northland scores
Second quarter – Julien Durham 46-yard pass from Zach Georges (Trenod Desrosier run); Zayir Keen 34-yard pass from Georges (run failed).
Third quarter – Desrosier 8-yard run (run failed); Keidre Taylor 35-yard fumble return (Georges run); Desrosier 7-yard run (Georges run).
Fourth quarter – Samuel Dixen 4-yard run (run failed)
Team Statistics
■ First downs – NCTC 11; Vermilion 8. n Fumbles (total-lost) – NCTC 2-2; Vermilion 5-3. n Punts (number-average) – NCTC 4-52.5; Vermilion 7-25.7.
■ Rushing (attempts-yards) – NCTC 34-148; Vermilion 21-103.
■ Passing – NCTC 11-for-18, 153 yards, 3 interceptions; Vermilion 14-for-36, 185 yards, 2 interception.
■ Total yards – NCTC 301; Vermilion 288.
Individuals
■ Rushing – (NCTC) Enrique Agnew 14-53, 2 TD; Zacharie Georges 4-29; (Vermilion) Murphy Theodore 4-68; Ty Williams 10-18.
■ Passing – (NCTC) Zacharie Georges 11-for-18, 153 yards, 2 TD, 3 Int.; (Vermilion) Goy Maijok 9-for-21, 150 yards, 3 TD, 1 Int.; Murphy Tehodore 5-for-15, 35 yards, 1 Int.
■ Receiving – (NCTC) Derrick Spencer 5-73; Zayir Keen 3-44, TD; Julian Durham 1-42, TD; (Vermilion) Alphonzo McClai 2-65; Davion Sanders 3-42, TD; Christopher Bel 2-39.
■ Tackles – (NCTC) Keidre Taylor 5; Enrique Agnew 4; Walter Williams 3; Quantay Person 3.
■ Sacks – (NCTC) Walter Williams 1; Darius Miller 1.
■ Interceptions – (NCTC) Keidre Taylor 1; Lamontez Moye 1.
MCAC Football
East div. all pts
1. Mesabi Range 0-0 1-0 1
2. Central Lakes 0-0 1-0 1
3. Fond du Lac 0-0 1-0 1
4. Itasca 0-0 1-0 1
5. Vermilion 0-0 0-1 0
6. Rochester 0-0 0-1 0

West div. all pts
1. Northland 0-0 1-0 1
2. NDSCS 0-0 0-0 0
3. Dakota College 0-0 0-1 0
4. M State-Fergus 0-0 0-1 0
5. Minnesota West 0-0 0-1 0
Results
■ Saturday, Oct. 24 – Central Lakes 12, Dakota College 0; Itasca 26, Minnesota West 0; Northland 42, Vermilion 21; Mesabi Range 61, Rochester 31; Fond du Lac 36, M State Fergus Falls 3.
Upcoming
■ Saturday, Aug. 31 – Rochester at Dakota College; Itasca at M State Fergus Falls; Vermilion at Central Lakes; Mesabi Range at Northland; Fond du Lac at North Dakota State College of Science.

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