RED WING — On a night that was meant to celebrate homecoming, Red Wing was left with little to cheer for as Lake City came away with a dominant 45-8 victory.
For the Wingers, it extends an agonizing losing streak to 22 games. With two teams ranked towards the top of Class AAA remaining on the schedule, it’s looking increasingly likely that Red Wing’s streak will continue into next fall.
On Friday night, there was optimism early on that this would be the night that Red Wing broke through. After receiving the opening kickoff, Lake City quarterback Justin Wohlers threw an interception on their second play of the game. Red Wing marched down to the Tigers’ 21-yard line but a holding penalty pushed the ball back and the drive stalled, forcing a punt.
Lake City moved the ball well but their drive also stalled out at the Red Wing 15-yard line after a failed fourth down conversion. On Red Wing’s first play of its second possession however, a failed pitch attempt provided an opportunity for Lake City to recover the fumble and score a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead as the first quarter ended.
Red Wing proceeded to go three-and-out in their next possession, after which Lake City marched 53 yards down the field for a touchdown and successful two-point attempt to build a 15-0 lead.
The Wingers and Tigers swapped three-and-out possessions in their next attempts before Cooper Chandler threw an interception and two plays later Lake City scored their third touchdown of the game, giving them a 22-0 lead that remained until the end of the first half.
The third quarter is when things began to unravel for the Wingers. Red Wing began the half with two three-and-outs. After the first possession, Lake City responded with a field goal. After Red Wing’s second three-and-out, their punt was blocked and recovered in the endzone for another Lake City touchdown.
The Tigers now up 32-0, didn’t stop there. During Red Wing’s third possession of the half, Antonio Finley fumbled on the first play, which the Tigers recovered. Lake City got into field-goal range but their attempt was blocked. It was no matter though, because the very next play Red Wing fumbled once again and Lake City recovered. This time the Tigers turned the recovery into points and now led 38-0.
A quarterback change for Red Wing was made prior to their ensuing drive, and it worked as far as getting the offense out of first gear. However, Abe Reinitz threw an interception on the drive’s sixth play.
Lake City again made Red Wing pay for the turnover by scoring another touchdown to extend their lead to 45-0 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“The problem is we are a power running team and we are having a difficult time running the ball right now, and we just aren’t completing passes,” Red Wing head football coach Nate Freier said. “We changed quarterbacks out and there was a difference. We saw some bright sparks in there today.”
With just over one minute remaining in the game, Red Wing scored its first points — a 16-yard completion to Wyatt Gonsior from Reinitz. The two-point conversion was also successful to help give the Wingers a chance at some momentum going into next week’s matchup.
Red Wing’s remaining games loom large in that their opponents will be heavy favorites in both matchups. So what is Freier’s goal for the remainder of the season?
Commitment, discipline and effort.
“I generally don’t have a lot of questions about their effort,” Freier said. “What I tell them is that when they walk across those white lines, they have to be committed to the outcome. You have to sell out as they say on the field.
“And we need to do all three of these things on every down and every play. If any one of us falls short in one of them, well, this is a team sport so we all fall short.”
Abe Reinitz (RW) 4-of-7 for 81 yards, one TD and one INT.
Cooper Chandler (RW) 3-of-9 for 19 yards and one INT.
Justin Wohlers (LC) 7-of-19 for 94 yards, one TD and one INT
Antonio Finley (RW) nine carries for 44 yards
Kaleb Hove (RW) 11 carries for 36 yards
Carter Hagedorn (LC) 23 carries for 94 yards and one TD
Ben Nutt (LC) four carries for 59 yards and one TD
Wyatt Gonsior (RW) three catches for 58 yards and one TD
Mitchell Seeley (RW) one catch for 28 yards
Ben Nutt (LC) four catches for 43 yards and one TD
Carson Matzke (LC) two catches for 27 yards