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Ely routs Bigfork in playoff opener

Jay Greeney
Posted 10/25/17

BIGFORK – Ely will get a rematch with North Woods after easily outpacing Bigfork during the opening round of the Section 7 Nineman playoffs on Tuesday. The Wolves, who appear to have recovered from …

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Ely routs Bigfork in playoff opener

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BIGFORK – Ely will get a rematch with North Woods after easily outpacing Bigfork during the opening round of the Section 7 Nineman playoffs on Tuesday. The Wolves, who appear to have recovered from a mid-season slump, took care of business as they defeated the Huskies 44 – 18.

Bigfork scored first, capping a 65-yard opening drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion wasn’t good but the Huskies had delivered a statement with a 6 – 0 lead and took eight minutes off the clock.

The Wolves returned the kickoff to their 36-yard line, then drove the ball to the Huskies’ 10-yard line to set up first and goal. That became first and 20 after the refs tapped Ely for an illegal block. But Ely wasn’t to be denied, scoring two plays later on a 12-yard run by Matt Gerzin. The conversion failed, leaving the score knotted at six.

A series of turnovers stymied both teams for much the rest of the half. Ely’s Tjae Banks recovered a Bigfork fumble. But on their first play from offense, Ely quarterback Carter Gaulke’s first pass of the game was picked off. The Huskies fumbled again, giving the Wolves possession on Bigfork’s 29-yard line. A short drive ended with a Gaulke 12-yard keeper for a touchdown. This time, Ely made the conversion, anchoring them to a 14-6 lead.

The Huskies came back with a successful drive of their own, but a failed conversion left them trailing by two.

Gerzin took the ensuing kickoff and promptly returned it 65 yards for an Ely touchdown. Again the two-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the Wolves ahead 20 -12.

The Huskies drove deep on their next possession, but Ely’s defense held at their own six-yard line and the Wolves took over on downs.

Ely dominated the second half, as they added six more on the opening kickoff, on another touchdown care of Gerzin.

After Bigfork turned the ball over on downs on their 40-yard line on their next possession, Gerzin did it again, scoring his fourth touchdown of the game on a 33-yard run. After another unsuccessful two-point conversion the Wolves led 32 -12 and were in control of the game as the third quarter ended.

Ely added two more touchdowns in the final stanza, while Bigfork scored one of their own.

It was another strong outing for Ely’s offense, as they rushed for a combined 350 yards. Gerzin had a huge night, racking up 104 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries plus his kickoff return. Eli Conaway was the workhorse and the rushing leader with 24 carries for 171 yards. Quarterback Carter Gaulke chipped in with two rushing touchdowns.

The Wolves will travel to North Woods on Saturday for their quarterfinal match-up. Game time is 2 p.m.

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