Irish can’t slow No. 2 Holdingford, lose 46-0


by Gabe Licht
What started out as a mismatch turned into a blowout Friday night, as the Maple Lake Irish traveled to take on the No. 2 Holdingford Huskers.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” coach Tim Knudsen said. “There were some mismatches up front.”
Initially, despite the mismatches, the Irish were able to move the ball, even with the wind in their face. Unfortunately for the visitors, their drive was stuffed on the 30-yard line and they turned the ball over on downs.
On Holdingford’s second play, quarterback Mitch Messman took it to the house for a 7-0 lead.
“It kind of spiraled down from there,” Knudsen said.
Both the running and the passing game were ineffective, forcing the visitors to punt, which allowed the home team to score for a 14-0 lead with 3 minutes left in the first quarter.
The Irish were once again held in their own territory.
“We were forced to punt again,” Knudsen said. “We had a low snap and got the ball, Charlie (Stejskal) took two steps and kicked it. At the same time, he was crushed. There was no flag. The kick went five yards.”
Though Knudsen argued for a flag, he said they were hard to come by for the home team all night, with just two penalties, compared to 12 for the Irish.
Instead of the Irish keeping the ball on a penalty, Holdingford took advantage of the short field for a 20-0 lead.
“We gave them two short fields,” Knudsen said. “We can’t afford to do that with teams like that.”
With the wind at their back, the green and black had a little more success throwing the ball, but the drive still ended with a punt. After a successful onside kick, the Huskers kept it on the ground and scored again for a 26-0 halftime advantage.
Rain and lightning moved into the area during intermission to delay the game more than an hour. While the Huskers were indoors, the Irish were left outside though the second half did not begin until after 9 p.m.
The third quarter remained uneventful for the Irish offense. Holdingford, however, pushed the score up to 40-0 in the quarter and unsuccessfully attempted a two-point conversion to stretch the lead further.
With the Irish playing much of their second string for most of the second half, Holdingford finally followed suit halfway through the fourth quarter and scored their final touchdown shortly thereafter to put the score at 46-0.
Hunter Malachek and Austin Becker finally got the Irish on the board, as Malachek broke a 76-yard run and Becker scored from two yards out.
Despite the loss, Knudsen was proud of his young players, who were given more playing time.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.