Northland Sports Online

Esko Falls in at State


Dwight Cadwell – NSO

Brainerd- The Esko Eskomos saw their season come to an end Saturday afternoon at the hands of the Annandale Cardinals by a score of 33-13 in a snowy battle in which the Cardinals outgained Esko on the ground by a margin of 357 yards to Esko’s 74 yards which proved to be the difference in the contest.

After a fumble and a punt on Annandale’s first to drives of the game the Cardinals took over on the ground as the offensive line opened huge holes allowing Annandale to pick up huge chunks of yards as the finished the game averaging over 6 yards per carry.

“We couldn’t contain them on the line,” Head Coach Scott Arntson mentioned, “they did a nice job tying up our defensive line which forced our linebackers and backs to make the tackles and when that happens you know they are winning the battle in the trenches.”

After a scoreless first quarter Lucas Baschel scored the game’s first touchdown on a 7 yard touchdown run and with the extra point it was a 7-0 Cardinal lead. Annandale would score again with 5:59 remaining in the second quarter when quarterback Carson Gagnon scored on a quarterback keeper and ran it in from 19 yards out.

Esko scored late in the first half falling a short Cardinal punt deep from their own end Dylan Vinje hit Trevor Spindler on a 28 yard touchdown pass which cut the Cardinal lead to 13-7 at the break. Esko was hoping to use the momentum from the late touchdown as they received the second half kickoff but a three and out forced Esko to punt and it was the Cardinal’s who capitalized when Gagnon picked up the punt off the turf and raced down the sideline for the punt return for a touchdown form 55 yards out.

Rogan Kuser added the next two scores for Annandale both coming on runs of 11 and 13 yards which gave Annandale a 33-7 lead late in the fourth quarter. Esko added a late touchdown as Vinje scored on a 5 yard touchdown run to cut the final margin to 33-13 but it was too late for a Esko comeback as the Cardinals defeated the Eskomos to advance to the State semi-finals next Saturday at the US Bank Stadium. Annandale will face Dassel-Cokato at 2:00 pm.

As the emotional season came to an end Saturday for Esko, the Cardinals and the Eskomos players, coaches and others gathered at midfield to a moment of silence to remember the Eskomos Jackson Pfister who passed away late in the regular season. Matt Walter head coach of the Cardinals stated “it was an emotional ride for them and this was a way for all to come together and offer support”

Kuser led all rushers for Annandale as he finished with 193 yards on 27 carried in the win. Eli Blue finished with 5 reception for 60 yards for Esko while Vinje was 9-16 passing for 159 yards and one touchdown.

The Eskomos saw their season end with a 8-3 overall record




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