Unleashed, unstoppable: Wolves finally get on the field, blow out Northeast Range

by Tom Coombe
The Northeast Range Nighthawks were in a tough spot on Friday night.
Not only were they visiting defending section champion Ely on the Timberwolves’ home turf, they were facing a powerful, state-ranked team that was hungry for action after nearly four weeks of practice.
Within minutes of the opening kickoff, the Timberwolves unleashed their fury, scoring three touchdowns in the first eight minutes and 44 points in the first half en route to a 52-0 thrashing before a packed house at Ely School Stadium.
Idled an extra week because of a forfeit win in the season-opener, the Wolves were downright rabid prior to kickoff and once the game got underway.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a team so fired up to play a game,” said Ely Head Coach Brian Lamppa. “In the warm-ups, in the locker room before we went out. There was just a lot of excitement.”
The Wolves converted that excitement into an impressive performance all-around, keeping the Nighthawks off the scoreboard, scoring at will early on and staying almost entirely free of early-season mistakes.
“I thought we played very well considering it was our first game,” said Lamppa. “We really had no mistakes. We were happy.”
One of the only highlights for the Nighthawks was an opening kickoff returned to the Ely 30 yard line, but the Timberwolves quickly bottled up the Northeast Range offense and the rout was on.
Senior standout Josh Heiman raced 65 yards for a touchdown on his second carry, and last year’s subdistrict back of the year finished with 197 yards and four scores, all in the opening half.
A defense led by Augie Richter (11 tackles) and Blaise Lah (nine) stifled the Northeast Range running attack led by twin brothers Joe and Jon Wenzel, and the Nighthawks fell to 0-2.
The Ely defense recorded several shutouts a year ago and picked up where it left off with an array of new starters on that side of the ball, including Richter, part of a revamped linebacker corps.
“I thought Augie played very well moving into a new spot at linebacker,” said Lamppa. “And Spencer McEntyre on both sides of the ball. Kids like them and Zach Dean and Izaak Nosbich didn’t play much defense last year but they stepped right in.”
Ely amassed over 380 yards on the ground and went to the air once for a score, with Carter Gaulke completing a 32-yard touchdown strike to Adam Porthan.
It was 44-0 by halftime and the final quarter was played in running time, with Ely’s reserves getting in on the action.
Matt Gerzin added two touchdowns for Ely, who improved to 2-0 but made their 2016 on-field debut.
Heiman twisted an ankle in the opening half and didn’t play during the final two quarters, but he practiced at full strength Wednesday and is expected to be ready for Friday night’s contest at Silver Bay, a 2016 state tournament participant.
Following that is a Sept. 23 Fall Homecoming showdown with Cook County - in a 7 p.m. rematch of last year’s section championship tilt.