THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Predators Fall 12-9
In a closely contested season opener Friday, the Northern Elite Predators came out on the short end of a 12-9 loss to visiting Norway . The contest marked the coaching debut of Ben Laarman of Northern Elite and Norways Bob Madigan.
Trying to protect a 9-6 lead with time running down, the Predators saw Norway quarterback Isaac Bray flip a 14 yard touchdown pass to Austin Grayvold with 27 ticks left to secure the win.
I was really proud of the way we competed against a big, physical Norway team. You have to hand it to Norway, they made the big plays in the last two minutes to win it, Laarman said.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Predators took a 3-0 lead as TJ Liebergen booted a 24 yard field goal with 6:42 left in the half. Liebergen help set up the kick with a 43 yard jaunt to end the opening frame.
The lead lasted 5-plus minutes before Norway saw Bray flip a 9 yard scoring pass to Jake Pedrotti with 1:03 remaining for a 6-3 edge at intermission.
Defenses continued to dominate in period three as neither team was able to crack the end zone. That all changed in the final 12 minutes.
Sparked by some nice runs by quarterback Joey Swanson, the Predators regained the upper hand at 9-6 with 11:07 left. Swanson bolted 21 yards then added a 13 yard scoring scamper for the lead. The extra point kick by Jordan Zawada was blocked by Norways Pat Guffey.
Swanson was the top rusher for the Predators with 64 yards in 26 carries while hitting on 7 of 16 passes for 67 yards. Liebergen gained 45 yards in 6 rushes.
Zawada played a huge role on the defensive side of the ball with 9 tackles, forced fumble, fumble recovery and an interception.
We made tremendous progress between last weeks scrimmage and tonights game. We still have much to work on, particularly in the area of offensive execution, and we will continue to work to get better every week, Laarman concluded.
The Predators will travel to highly touted Crandon Thursday while Norway hosts Forest Park.