Wolves’ streak snapped at 19

by Tom Coombe
For the first time since 2014, Ely has lost a regular season high school football game.
Host South Ridge weathered a third-quarter storm from the visiting Timberwolves and turned it on in the fourth, scoring 22 unanswered points in a 38-14 victory.
The loss was the first in four games this fall for the Wolves, and it ended a regular season 19-game winning streak that dated back to Oct. 15, 2014, and a 12-0 defeat, also to South Ridge.
Bedeviled by injuries and humid conditions, the Wolves wilted in the final frame under the onslaught of the Panthers.
Twice in a matter of minutes, South Ridge capitalized on Ely turnovers to put the game away.
Clinging to a 16-14 lead after three quarters, the Panthers pounced on an Ely fumble at the Wolves’ 37 and soon turned it into six points as quarterback Nick Carlson found Connor Bushbaum on a 33-yard bomb.
The two-point conversion made it a two-possession game at 24-14, but the Wolves fumbled the ensuing kickoff and South Ridge took advantage of the short field.
This time Carlson scampered 15 yards to paydirt.
A 27-yard run by Logan Young capped off the scoring barrage with five minutes left and sealed the Wolves’ fate.
Ely was outgained 352-133 by the hard-hitting Panthers but trailed only 8-0 at the half.
Senior Carter Gaulke gave the Wolves a jolt early in the third quarter, racing down the left sideline 68 yards and scoring a touchdown on a punt return for the second time in as many weeks.
Carlson marched the Panthers down field and ran it in from 14 yards out for the first of his two touchdowns, but Ely answered with a drive that resulted in a 16-yard touchdown run by Gaulke.
South Ridge stopped the Wolves on the two-point conversion and Ely never threatened again.
The Wolves were hit hard by injuries, losing Gaulke and 300-pound lineman Jasian Wigdahl briefly to injuries and playing the final quarter without injured senior Blaise Lah, who still led the Wolves with 14 tackles.
Ely had chances in the opening two quarters, winning the battle of field position in part because of 38 and 47-yard punts by sophomore Dalton Schreffler.
But two Wolves possessions in South Ridge territory came up empty, including one march that stalled at the Panther 15.
Joe Janke was a workhorse for South Ridge, scoring the only touchdown in the first half on a three-yard run and finishing with 121 yards on 23 carries.
Carlson racked up 81 yards rushing and completed two passes for 45 yards.
Sophomore Eli Conaway had 65 yards rushing for the Wolves and Gaulke finished with 26.
On defense, sophomore Josh Larson had 10 tackles while Conaway and junior Collen Seliskar finished with nine each. Thomas Montana was in on seven stops.
Gaulke, Conaway and Larson all had fumble recoveries for the Wolves, who are in the most rugged stretch of their schedule.
Friday’s Fall Homecoming date with Mt. Iron-Buhl (3-1) will be followed by an Oct. 6 trip to Grand Marais to take on Cook County (3-1).