ELY— A couple painful early turnovers may well have made the difference for the Timberwolves in a 25-18 season-opening loss to International Falls here last Thursday. The Wolves, who are back …
ELY— A couple painful early turnovers may well have made the difference for the Timberwolves in a 25-18 season-opening loss to International Falls here last Thursday.
The Wolves, who are back at the 11-man level after a stint as a nineman squad, had plenty of opportunity and played much of the game with excellent field position thanks to a strong performance from the kick-receive special team. But twice, as Ely entered the red zone, they let opportunity slip through their fingers, first on a fumble and later on an interception.
“Those hurt us,” said Ely Head Coach Louie Gerzin.
Freshman Sean Merriman, who went out for football for the first time this season, led the offense as quarterback. “He’s really smart and he’s an athlete,” said Gerzin. “Once he figured out the offense, he’s done well. He can throw the ball pretty well, too.”
For now, Gerzin said he expects his team will stick mostly to a ground game, although he said they’ll be able to pass when necessary.
Ely racked up a seemingly lackluster 170 yards of total offense, but great field position limited their total yardage noted Gerzin.
A new offensive strategy and an impressive front line should bode well for Ely in the weeks ahead. Gerzin said he liked what he saw in the season opener. “We were able to move the ball inside all night,” he said, and gave much of the credit to an impressive offensive line. “Really have to give them a shout-out,” said Gerzin. “That was the best I’ve seen our line play in three years. They really blocked well.”
On offense, senior Deegan Richards led the way for Ely with 86 yards rushing, while also passing for 31 yards. Sean Merriman rushed for 35 yards as quarterback, while Alex Merriman added 33 yards on the ground for Ely. Jesse Oelke added 31 receiving yards.
Gerzin gave strong marks to both Richards and Brady Eaton, who both had strong outings defensively at both cornerback and linebacker, while Gavin Marshall posted a good performance at nose tackle. Garrett Rohr led in tackles with seven, while Chase Anderson, Richards, and Alex Merriman posted six tackles apiece. Eaton added five, while Gavin Marshall added four tackles, including a sack.
The Wolves will be looking to even their 0-1 record on Friday when they hit the road to take on East Central.
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