Denfeld News

Aug. 30, 2008
Duluth News Tribune

Denfeld tips Hermantown in football opener
By Rick Weegman

Hermantown coach Daryl Illikainen had no hesitation about making the call. Hand the ball to his best player, score two points and start the season with a thrilling come-from-behind victory.

But Duluth Denfeld, one year after a disastrous 1-8 season, stuffed Branden Perrault on a two-point conversion with 1:22 left to secure a 14-13 victory in a high school football season opener Friday night at Public Schools Stadium.

“That was a step in the right direction,” Hunters coach Frank Huie said. “One big play at the end and it becomes a win instead of a loss.”

Perrault scored on a 1-yard run moments earlier to bring the Hawks to within one point, but was stopped short of the goal line on the go-ahead conversion try by senior linebacker Tim Vallie.

“With the momentum we had, there was no doubt in my mind we were going to score two points and win the football game,” Illikainen said. “I could see it in the offense’s eyes.

“We just have to have the desire to get in the end zone. But their player made a good play. You could have walked through that hole, but we didn’t get in.”

As in last season’s 12-10 loss to Hermantown, Denfeld took an early lead. Only this time, they held on.

Tyler Conito scored on a 3-yard run and Jimmy Waller hauled in a 27-yard fourth-down strike from Adam Scofield to build a 14-0 advantage in the second quarter.

But the Hawks put together a 15-play, 69-yard drive with Derek Engseth cradling a 9-yard floater by backup quarterback Michael Swartz with 6.6 seconds left in the first half.

Hermantown had other opportunities to score but failed to convert an interception or a recovery of a muffed punt return into points.

Drake Willis led the Hunters with 97 yards rushing on 14 carries. Ivan Dakovic added 62 yards on 12 attempts.

Hermantown ........... 0-7-0-6—13
Denfeld .................... 6-8-0-0—14

DD — Tyler Conito 3 run (run failed)
DD — Jimmy Waller 27 pass from Adam Scofield (Ivan Dakovic run)
H — Derek Engseth 9 pass from Michael Swartz (Chris Phillips kick)
H — Branden Perrault 1 run (run failed)

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