Ely faces uphill climb in 7A football playoffs
ELY’S offense lines up on the field against Mille Lacs on Wednesday night in a home game. Photo by Nick Wognum.
Wolves take 1-7 record into playoff rematch with Mille Lacs
by Tom Coombe
The Ely Timberwolves will be underdogs as they enter the postseason this week.
Barely a week after losing 32-6 to Mille Lacs, the high school football team has a playoff rematch with the Raiders.
The Section 7A quarterfinal clash comes Tuesday, this time on the road, at 6 p.m.
Mille Lacs, seeded third in the section with a 5-3 record, will take on the 1-7 Wolves after beating them Wednesday at Ely School Stadium.
Quarterback Sam Hebeisen showed off a potent arm, completing 35 and 60-yard touchdown passes in the opening half and guiding an offense that amassed 373 total yards.
The Wolves competed after a slow start and brought the contest within two scores at 18-6 when senior Deegan Richards completed a halfback option pass to Jesse Oelke for a six-yard touchdown.
But Ely couldn’t sustain much momentum and the Raiders put things away with a scoring drive that was capped off by Carter Adickes’ three-yard touchdown run.
Mille Lacs tacked on one more score, with Hebeisen running it in, to finish things off.
Hebeisen was brilliant at times, completing nine-of-13 passes for 211 yards.
Receivers Creedon Spengler and Gabe Honek both had more than 100 yars receiving, with Honek’s 60-yard catch and run leading to a second-quarter touchdown and an 18-0 lead.
Mille Lacs set the tone early, with a Hebeisen to Spengler bomb connecting for 35 yards and a score within the first two minutes of the game.
Ely was held to just 74 yards of total offense on 41 plays.
Junior back Brady Eaton ran for 46 yards on seven carries while freshman quarterback Max Brandriet went four-for-10 through the air for 23 yards.
Junior Alex Merriman caught a couple of passes.
• The Mille Lacs-Ely winner will likely take on Braham in an Oct. 28 section semifinal.
Deer River is seeded first in 7A and Braham comes in at number-two.
• Barnum blew out the Wolves 39-8 in an Oct. 12 game, with Brandriet and Merriman hooking up on a long bomb for the Wolves’ only score.
Brandriet passed for 111 yards in the defeat and Merriman had better than 80 yards receiving.
On defense, Oelke had six tackles, while Merriman, Eaton and Garret Rohr were in on four stops each.