A fast start by the Red Wing offense gave Lourdes a scare early in the game Friday night, but the Eagles maintained their composure to fend off the Wingers and secure the win. For Red Wing, the 39-12 loss was another notch added to their losing streak despite some positive performances. Although Red Wing has shown the ability to compete at a high level in many areas throughout the season, they have yet to have them click at the same time, resulting in the pile of losses.

In Rochester on Friday, Red Wing scored points on its opening possession for the first time all season. Unfortunately for the Wingers, their first drive came after a three-play touchdown drive by Lourdes that was capped off by a 57-yard Abe Gapinski run to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead.

Red Wing responded to that initial touchdown with an eight-play scoring drive that was heavily reliant on Kaleb Hove and Cooper Chandler.

Hove ran the ball four times for 21 yards on Red Wing’s opening possession, while Chandler completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt Gonsior to tie the game at 6-6. Lourdes scored on its ensuing possession after marching 90 yards down the field in eight plays to retake the lead 12-6.

Once again Red Wing had an answer as Chandler threw his second touchdown of the night to Gonsior, this time from 8 yards out to tie the game back up at 12-12.

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“We had a plan for this year on how we were going to adapt the offense and then COVID interrupted that. We didn’t want to do a bunch of stuff the kids didn’t know,” Red Wing head football coach Nate Freier said. “We were having so much trouble generating opportunities for the team to score. So we figured let’s give it a shot.”

Continuing in the back-and-forth nature of the game in the opening half, Lourdes went 62 yard in seven plays to get their third touchdown in as many possessions to reclaim the lead, 19-12. After a quick three-and-out by Red Wing, there was still more than five minutes in the second quarter for Lourdes to work with. Another long drive spanning nine plays and 43 yards ended in the endzone for Lourdes and they went into halftime with a 26-12 lead.

“What did us in on defense was the big plays,” Freier said. “When we made them work, we made them work to move the ball but some big plays got us a bit.”

The second half began much like the first half ended — Lourdes scored touchdowns in each of its first two drives to extend its lead to 39-12. Neither team could mount a sustaining drive in the fourth quarter and Lourdes ran out the clock to end the game.

“We should be really happy with what we saw tonight. The kids saw a glimmer of what we can be,” Freier said. “We didn’t tear up the stat sheet, but it’s a system that will excite kids to play in.”

Red Wing, 0-5, wraps up its regular season on Wednesday when it hosts Stewartville.

Individual statistics

Chandler went 6-of-18 for 46 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 41 yards on 14 carries. Gonsior caught four passes for 31 yards and two touchdowns. Reese Tripp also had two receptions for 15 yards.

On the ground, Kaleb Hove led the rushing attack with 57 yards on 19 carries. Nick Knie had four carries for six yards and Antonio Finley had five yards on three carries.