The defending Section 5, 9-man football champion Ogilvie Lions, opened their 2022 campaign last Thursday, Sept. 1, hosting a strong Cherry Tigers team and lost in a close game 24-22.
The first half was completely dominated by Ogilvie. The Lions defense allowed just two first downs and the offense moved the ball methodically and successfully. However, the Lions turned the ball over twice in the half and that kept the Tigers in the game.
Cherry appeared to be a different team in the second half. On the opening drive of the second half, they moved the ball on the ground effectively, something they couldn’t do in the first half. The drive culminated with a touchdown, and after the two-point conversion the Tigers were back in the game at 14-8.
The Ogilvie defense had trouble slowing the Cherry running game in the second half. A 29-yard touchdown run tied the game at 14-14. The Tigers were once again able to convert the two-point play and they took their first lead of the game 16-14.
The Lions offense continued to shoot themselves in the foot on the next drive. This time penalties were the culprit. It appeared Ogilvie had taken the lead on a 33-yard touchdown pass, but a critical penalty on the play negated the touchdown.
After having to eventually punt the ball back to Cherry, the Tigers struck quickly. A 77-yard touchdown run put the Tigers up 24-14 in the fourth quarter with all the momentum.
Ogilvie was able to take advantage of good field position late in the game. A big third down conversion led to another Colby Milbradt quarterback sneak. Milbradt also ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 24-22. Head coach Dave Halvorson stated, “It was good to see them come back after getting down and not giving up.”
The Ogilvie defense got the ball back for the offense in good field position with 3:46 left in the game. The Cherry defense forced loss of yardage plays on the first two plays. A desperate third and 16 play was incomplete and Ogilvie had to punt.
The Lions got the ball back with 27 seconds left, but it was not enough time to put together a drive and the game ended with a disappointing loss.
Ogilvie outgained Cherry for the game, had more first downs (18 to seven), but turnovers and penalties were the Achilles heel on this night. Hunter Kenyon led the way on the ground with 18 carries for 95 yards. Colby Milbradt had 13 carries for 73 yards. He also passed for 52 yards.
On his team’s performance Coach Halvorson said, “The boys played hard in the intense heat and may have been tired in the second half when cramping became a problem. Mistakes and penalties cost us the game and we must clean them up in the future.”
Things won’t get easier for the Lions as they hit the road to take on Mt. Iron – Buhl on Friday night. The Rangers were in the state quarter-finals last year and return a potent offense. Mt. Iron – Buhl won their opener over Hill City/Northland 78-0.
On their upcoming game Coach Halvorson said, “We will have to play mistake free to compete with them.”