MOUNTAIN IRON – The Cherry football team used its powerful running game and lockdown defense Wednesday afternoon to defeat the visiting team from Silver Bay 42-0 at Mountain Iron-Buhl field.
The Tigers are currently playing their home games in Mountain Iron while their new field is under construction.
Both teams had to contend with constant rain showers that didn’t let up until the end of the game. From the beginning, dropped handoffs and other miscues led to fumbles from both teams on offense. Cherry, however, found a way to take advantage of the Mariners’ mistakes.
Not shying away from their stellar running game, the Tigers had quarterback Beau Barry facilitate the offense, whether it meant handing the rock off to wingbacks Matthew Kloss and Nick Peterson, fullback Cole Harrington or holding on to it himself for the QB keeper.
The Tigers got their first score of the game halfway through the opening quarter. Capitalizing on a blocked Silver Bay punt, Cherry took over on the Mariners 25. On the second play of the drive, Peterson pushed forward 15 yards before Barry punched it in from six yards out on the next play, giving the Tigers a 6-0 lead.
Cherry blew the game wide open in the second quarter, adding 28 more points to their total while keeping the Mariners pinned back in their half of the field. Third and eight on the Silver Bay 30 to start the second quarter, Kloss took the handoff from Barry and broke free for the 30-yard score. Harrington ran in the conversion to give the Tigers a 14-0 advantage.
Silver Bay’s next drive ended earlier than they would hope, fumbling the ball away on a third and nine. Cherry’s Kaleb Rinerson recovered the fumble and put the Tigers offense back on the field just 21 yard from the end zone.
On the first play of the drive, Harrington ran for 16 yards to give Cherry a first and goal from the five. It took a few plays to punch it in, but Barry was able to run it in from the one to score for the Tigers. Kloss converted on the conversion to make it 22-0 Cherry.
Starting their next drive near midfield, Silver Bay only managed about 11 yards of offense and turned the ball over on downs following a fourth down sack of QB Kaleb Krech from the Cherry defense.
Taking over on their own 45, the Tigers continued to use Barry, Kloss, Harrington and Peterson to rush the ball at will. From six yards out, Kloss ran it in for his second touchdown of the night to extend the Cherry lead to 28 with 3:27 to play in the half.
The next Mariners drive drained only two and a half minutes off the clock. Pinned back near their own end zone, the fourth and 21 punt with a minute to play ended up in Barry’s hands after he caught it near the 34. There was no stopping Barry on the return, as the Tigers standout evaded every defender on his way to the end zone. With that score, the Tigers took a 34-0 lead into halftime.
Cherry added one more touchdown in the third quarter with Kloss capping off a 52-yard scoring drive with a four-yard run to go up 40-0. On the two-point conversion, Barry handed the ball off to Peterson, who pushed his way into the end zone for the final two points of the contest.
The two teams played the entire fourth quarter in running time and when the final horn blew, the Tigers earned the 42-0 shutout win, moving them to 2-0 on the season. Tigers head coach Jason Marsh said the shutout win was a strong sign for his team that had to make some adjustments after their first game.
“The kids responded to what we threw at them,” Marsh said after the game. “We tried a few new guys on defense at some different positions and the same thing on offense. Guys were trying out some new spots and there’s going to be mistakes you’ll see on film after the fact but for the most part, everyone did their job and that’s what we preach. Do your job and everything will take care of itself.”
Securing the shutout, Marsh had to give credit to his defensive coordinator, Clayton Koskela.
“He did a really great job preparing these kids this week. He wanted them to be aggressive on defense and we were. The rainy weather helped that. But I think our aggressiveness was really what got us going and helped us force turnovers. Every time we got a turnover and got to play on a short field, that was great for us.”
With two wins under their belt, Marsh is confident the Tigers will keep playing hard and not underestimate any upcoming opponents, citing the uncertainty of this season as the driving factor.
“I think most of our players and coaches are so grateful and thankful just to be playing. We told everyone week one, especially to the seniors, that the first game they played could be their only one. Games are being canceled around us and I think the kids realized they got a second shot when they heard we were still able to have a season this year. They know it could end on any day and I think they’re playing every game like it could be their last.
Cherry will be back in action next week when they travel to Northeast Range.
SB 0 0 0 0 -- 0
CHS 6 28 8 0 -- 42
C: Beau Barry 6 run (run failed)
C: Matthew Kloss 30 run (Cole Harrington fun)
C: Barry 1 run (Kloss run)
C: Kloss 6 run (run fail)
C: Barry 34 punt return (pass fail)
C: Kloss 4 run (Nick Peterson run)