September 21, 2018 at 11:21 a.m.

Vikings' offense continues to struggle in 15-8 loss to Duluth East

Vikings' offense continues to struggle in 15-8 loss to Duluth East
Vikings' offense continues to struggle in 15-8 loss to Duluth East

North Branch’s offense continued to sputter after their opening week when they failed to put up a point in week three against a Duluth East team that was allowing nearly 17 points per game.

The two teams squared off at Ordean Stadium at Duluth East High School on Friday, September 14. The Vikings have had the Greyhounds’ number in recent years, and it looked like they might again early in the game. Conner Hartmann took the opening kickoff 90 yards to paydirt to score for the Vikings giving them a 6-0 lead. Hartmann caught his breath in time to convert on the two point try, extending the Vikings’ lead to 8-0.

East answered right away, marching down the field for a 70 yard touchdown drive, capped by Elijah Leonard’s one-yard touchdown. The big back is nearly unstoppable in short yardage situations, as he goes 5’11” and 250 pounds. He also converted the two point conversion to tie the game at 8-8.

In the second quarter, East’s quarterback Caden Edwards hit Dekarri Davis for a nine yard touchdown to give the Greyhounds the lead. They booted an extra point to go up 15-8.

North Branch would threaten on offense later, turning two interceptions into redzone possessions, but they never could quite crack the East defense, leaving them down for the game and to their second straight loss after opening the season with a win.

North Branch will continue their road-heavy schedule this week as they travel to Cloquet to take on reigning district and section champion Cloquet.

The Lumberjacks dealt North Branch two of their three losses last year, including a win in the section championship game. Cloquet ended up finishing second in the state tournament.

Despite graduating their starting quarterback, Cloquet has plenty of talent back, and they’ve shown it this year. They’ve outscored their opponents 107-24 in three games and are rushing for nearly 350 yards per game.

North Branch can finally see a home game on the horizon as their stadium will be open for the September 28 home game against Hibbing.

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