Aug. 30, 2008
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
“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
“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
H — Derek Engseth 9 pass from Michael Swartz (Chris Phillips
H — Branden Perrault 1 run (run failed)