Wolves work to stay unbeaten

Cook County puts up a game fight, but Gerzin scores twice and defense holds firm in 26-6, Fall Homecoming triumph

by Tom Coombe-

The scoreboard told only part of the story Sept. 23 at Ely School Stadium.
While the Timberwolves celebrated Fall Homecoming with a 26-6 high school football victory over Cook County - their fourth straight win was a battle in every respect.
Ely’s defense came up with a goal-line stand and an interception in its own territory to hold off the pesky Vikings, and the Wolves had to work for their 26 points.
“For being a young team they came ready to play,” Ely Head Coach Brian Lamppa said of the 1-3 Vikings. “How physical they were was the biggest thing. They didn’t surprise us with what they tried to do offensively, but how hard and physical they were on defense was a surprise.”
Senior Josh Heiman electrified a crowd of more than 700 people with a 48-yard scoring run in the opening quarter, but that was the only scoring in the first 12 minutes.
Junior Carter Gaulke capped a scoring drive with a one-yard plunge, but the Wolves were backed up against their own end zone in the second period before stopping the Vikings just shy of paydirt.
“That was huge,” said Lamppa. “You don’t see that very often when you can stop a team like that two or three times down there.”
Senior linebacker Adam Porthan paced the Wolves with 12 tackles and freshman Eli Conaway added 11 for a defense that had to deal with the Vikings’ passing game.
While Heiman ran for a game-high 151 yards on 28 carries, Ely also got a decided boost from the running of junior Matt Gerzin, who had a pair of highlight reel touchdown runs.
The first came just prior to halftime, as Gerzin picked up a head of steam, broke away from Cook County tacklers and wouldn’t be denied on a 37-yard sprint to the end zone.
The hard-charging Gerzin added a 24-yard scoring burst in the third quarter and the Wolves were on their way, leading 26-0 after three quarters.
“He made a couple of good runs,” Lamppa said of Gerzin. “I think we surprised them with that draw play to him. We had Josh out there at flanker and they probably expected us to throw to him, but we got it to Matt and he spun out and had a nice run. He runs with determination.”
Senior Evan Omerza added 53 yards rushing for the Wolves, and other top tacklers were Augie Richter with nine, followed by Gerzin (eight), Blaise Lah (six), Braxton Casey (five) and Spencer McEntyre (five).
Cook County got on the board in the fourth quarter when signal-caller Josh Prom hooked up with Andrew Miller on a six-yard passing play.
The Wolves traveled to Remer Friday, taking on Northland-Hill City (2-2) in the first of two long road trips.
The longest regular season journey comes on Friday, Oct. 7, when the Wolves go all the way to Siren, Wis.
Located east of Hinckley and across the border, Siren was a late addition to the schedule after Lake of the Woods forfeited the season-opener to the Wolves.
The date was open when another Ely opponent, Mesabi Academy, closed last spring and left a void on the schedule.
Siren plays 8-Man football in Wisconsin but agreed to play the Wolves in a 9-Man game.
“They’re 4-1 so they must be a good football team,” said Lamppa. “I haven’t watched them on film yet. Right now I’m just worried about Remer-Hill City and trying to get healthy. We have to get through that game first.”