Football: Third straight slow start continues Eagles' skid
NEW YORK MILLS - The New York Mills football team continued a difficult trend of falling behind early in a 20-12 loss in their home opener to Royalton.
Double-digit deficits by halftime have been the norm in the first three games of the season.
The Eagles also played the game without starting quarterback Charlie Peeters, who was out with an undisclosed illness. Peeters was held out of the game by doctor's orders.
Tony Gadacz scored from five yards out to give the Royals a 7-0 lead at the close of the first quarter.
Tyler Hegna rushed for eight yards to push the lead to 13-0 in the second. The point-after kick was blocked.
Shane Novak provided the offensive highlights for the Eagles scoring on runs from 18 and 15 yards out in the third quarter cutting the Royals lead to 13-12.
Both point-after attempts failed for the Eagles, a kick was blocked and a two-point conversion to take the lead failed.
"We played a good game in that we got better this week," New York Mills Head Coach Matt Radniecki said. "It is frustrating to not get the victory but we were one play away from winning this game."
Brady Moulzolf scored for Royalton on a five-yard run and Cade Stang converted the PAT kick for the 20-12 final.
Both teams combined for eight turnovers.
The Eagles lost that battle, as well, coughing up two fumbles and back-up quarterback Dan Kraft was picked off three times.
Noah Pesola led the Eagles' defense with 11 tackles. Novak and Tyler Patron had an interception each. Adam Patron recovered a fumble.
"Our kids played very hard for the entire game and we came out and played a very good second half," Radniecki said. "Our defense and offense improved and Shane Novak gave us some confidence with two nice touchdown runs. The kids have not quit and we are very happy with our effort. The defense made some plays, in that we created some turnovers. We also gave (Royalton) some turnovers and we have to really work on ball security and not give our opponent opportunities off turnovers."
Royalton held an advantage in key offensive statistics. The Royals out-rushed the Eagles 230-154 and gained 14 first downs to the Eagles' 10.
The loss drops the Eagles to 0-3, continues a streak of seven consecutive losses.
Royalton improves to 3-0 on the season and will host No. 10-1A Ottertail Central (2-1) next week.
The Eagles host Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (2-1) next Friday. Last season, KMS defeated New York Mills 47-29 in Murdock.
"If we continue to improve we got a feeling that next week can be a very positive Friday night for us."
The Eagles' junior varsity team defeated United North Central on Monday by the score of 20-8. AJ Wegscheid continued to impress with some hard running again.
In the Ninth/Tenth grade game versus Osakis New York Mills won by the score of 28-6.
"Both these teams have done an excellent job and we look forward to future success."