FULL STORY: Rush City snapped its 19-game loss streak and extremely delighted its hometown crowd by defeating rival Braham 27-12 in the Aug. 30 season-opener.
Braham led 6-0 late in the first quarter when freshman quarterback John Larson ran in a 4-yard touchdown after Shaun Hollenkamp pulled in a 48-yard bomb, spraining his ankle on the play. The Tigers answered with a 12-yard scoring run early in the second quarter, then Zach Dahlman hauled in a 7-yard scoring fade from Larson to put Braham ahead 12-7. RC led 14-12 at the half when they drove and scored on an 8-yard run.
On Braham’s opening possession of the second half, Larson broke off a long 55-yard sweep for a 1st-and-goal at the 10. But a Johnathan Mielke sack set the Bombers back, then Matt Mallinger picked off a 4th-down pass in the end zone to thwart that scoring attempt.
From that point, the Tigers wore down the third quarter with a long drive which ended with Mielke bulling in from 5 yards out to make it 20-12 just into the fourth quarter. QB Brandon Koehle snuck outside for 8 yards to convert a crucial 4th-and-5 play to keep the march alive.
Late in the quarter, it looked like the Tigers added a clinching TD on a great Dalton Folkema catch, but that play was nullified by a lineman downfield.
The Bombers got the ball back at the BR 8 with 3:26 to play. Larson broke off one more long run to near midfield, but that play was called back with an unwise holding penalty way downfield. Trying desperation bombs, Larson was sacked twice, the Tigers took over at the BR 1, and Mallinger punched in the icing-on-the-cake TD with 1:29 to go as the RC crowd celebrated.
Rush City out-rushed Braham 254 – 68 and never attempted a pass. Larson finished with 204 passing yards on 11 completions and gained 66 yards on the ground. He absorbed several big hits.
“Tough to win when we can’t stop the run or run the football,” succinctly noted Bomber Coach Shawn Kuhnke.
Next up: The Bombers’ home-opener Friday, Sept. 7 (7 p.m.) vs. Deer River in the Great Polar Football Alliance Red Conference opener. The Warriors fell 22-12 to Esko in their first game.
Rush City 27, Braham 12
First Downs 13 19
Rushing 26/68 51/254
Passing 18/11/1 0/0/0
Passing Yds 204 0
Total Yds 272 254
Bomber Individual Stats
Rushing: Larson 22/66, TD; Arispe 4/2. Passing: Larson 18/11/1- 204 yds, TD. Receiving: Grell 4/88; Hollenkamp 2/60; Altendorf 1/21; Dahlman 2/19, TD; Richmond 2/16. Tackles: Lanhart 14, Dahlman 14, Richmond 8, Sutton 8, Arispe 8.
Great Polar Football Alliance Red
Cook Co. 1-0; Braham 0-1; Barnum 0-1; Deer River 0-1; East Central 0-1, Ogilvie 0-1; Mesabi East 0-2.