DULUTH — The Hibbing High School football team had nine turnovers and Duluth Denfeld took advantage of it en route to a 39-8 Section 7AAAA first-round victory over the Bluejackets Tuesday at Public Schools Stadium.
Dominic Klaas scored two touchdowns for the Hunters, one from 39 yards out in the first half, and the other from 12 yards out in the third quarter.
Hibbing was able to move the ball on the Hunters, which was different than the first time the teams meet two weeks ago.
“The kids came off the bus ready to play,” Hibbing coach Shaun Howard said. “They gave their hearts in this game.
“We gave up a couple of huge runs that hurt us, but other than that, we played them tough in the first half.”
The problem: the Bluejackets would get a drive going, then a turnover would keep Hibbing out of the end zone.
“We had some drives going, but the mental mistakes got to us on every offensive drive,” Howard said. “We have to work on those mental mistakes.”
Montrelly McMillan had a 44-yard scoring run, and Wryott Gerson caught a 69-yard scoring pass from Kade Shea as Denfeld took a 24-0 lead into halftime.
There was still time to make a comeback in the second half, but again, turnovers hurt Hibbing’s chances to get back in the game.
“We had to sustain some drives and finish drives, but we didn’t finish drives,” Howard said. “You can’t overcome turnovers,”
The Hunters would score a safety in the third quarter, then Bryce Rainey scored on a 7-yard run.
In the fourth quarter, Hayden Westerberg scooped up a Denfeld fumbled and run 80 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Daniel Moberg rushed for 63 yards for Hibbing.
“This year was a building point,” Howard said. “It’s somewhere to start from. I told the seniors that they can look back and say they started this in the right direction.
“It takes a few years to get things going in the right direction.”
McMillan had 64 yards rushing, and Klaas had 63 yards on the ground.
The Bluejackets end the season with a 3-6 record.
The Hunters will play Cloquet Saturday in a 7AAAA semifinal contest Saturday in Cloquet, beginning at 2 p.m.
HHS 0 0 0 8 — 8
DD 16 8 15 0 — 39
DD — Montrelly McMillan 44 run (run good)
DD — Wryott Gerson 69 pass from Kade Shea (run good)
DD — Dominic Klaas 39 run (run good)
DD — Klaas 12 run (pass failed)
DD — Safety ball recovered in end zone
DD — Bryce Rainey 7 run (kick good)
H — Hayden Westerberg 80 fumble return (Anthony Cross run)