Park football: Wolfpack crushed by Cretin on HomecomingThe Wolfpack, in their homecoming game, pulled out a few tricks from their playbook and grabbed an early lead against the Raiders. But it lasted oh so briefly and Cretin-Derham Hall rolled to a 49-7 victory in Cottage Grove.
By: Patrick Johnson, sports editor, South Washington County Bulletin
Park needed a spark against Cretin-Derham Hall and got it, but it never ignited fully.
The Wolfpack, in their homecoming game, pulled out a few tricks from their playbook and grabbed an early lead against the Raiders. But it lasted oh so briefly and Cretin-Derham Hall rolled to a 49-7 victory in Cottage Grove.
Park (1-4, 1-4 SEC) started the game by recovering an onside kick on the opening kickoff and then perfected a double pass to go up 7-0, 16 seconds into the game. Brandyn Tulloch scored on a 42-yard pass from Ryan Klika on the first play from scrimmage for the Wolfpack.
“You get into games like this, especially with some guys banged up and not playing you gotta find those little gimmick plays that might work for you against a really good team,” Park head coach Darin Glazier said. “We were fortunate enough to have it pay off for us in the first quarter.”
Park, which had success with recovering onside kicks the previous week against White Bear Lake, tried an onside kick again following the touchdown, but didn’t recover the kick and the Raiders wasted little time in gaining control of the game.
Three plays later James Onwualu, a Notre Dame recruit, scored on a 41-yard run to tie the game with 10:14 left in the first quarter for Cretin-Derham Hall. The Raiders, who only had nine first downs in the game, scored on all but one possession they had the rest of the half and added a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown to build a 42-7 halftime lead. Onwualu finished with 66 yards on four carries.
“I think the good thing about them is they take advantage of every mistake you make and we made enough tonight to make us pay for it in that second quarter,” Glazier said.
Cretin-Derham Hall (3-2, 3-2 SEC) was previously ranked seventh in Class 6A but entered the game on the heels of a 34-33 overtime loss to Hastings and came out with an agenda. The Raiders picked off two passes in the first half and recovered a fumble. The second interception set up 14-yard touchdown pass from Conor Rhoda to Connor Keane that made it 35-7 with 8:28 left in the half.
Rhoda finished 7 of 8 passing for 93 yards and three touchdowns in limited play. Rhoda came out of the game following his third touchdown pass. Rhoda found Luke Hamel twice for touchdowns in the first half and each time the Wolfpack defense left Hamel wide open. Hamel finished with three catches for 55 yards.
Hamel hauled in a 15-yard touchdown to give Cretin-Derham Hall a 14-7 lead and then added a 36-yard touchdown reception when he found himself wide open in the second quarter.
“Some of these kids you can just tell are caught off-guard by the angles they need to take against some of these athletes that they’re going against,” Glazier said. “We don’t have the speed in the secondary that these kids are running with. We’re having trouble adjusting to what we see in practice versus what we’re seeing game night with some of those angles they need to adjust to. We’ll keep working on that.”
Park also had to adjust to playing without starting running back Dylan Smallidge, who sat out because of a knee injury he suffered last week against White Bear Lake. It’s unclear whether Smallidge will see the field again this season, but his loss clearly doesn’t help as the Wolfpack struggles.
“Dylan’s got a lot of football left in him,” Glazier said. “We hope he gets back onto the field one more time this year, but if that doesn’t happen, I know that he’ll do good things at the next level.”
Without Smallidge, Park finished with 119 yards of total offense, 77 of which came after the touchdown play in the first quarter.
The Wolfpack also got penalized six times for 49 yards and gave up 349 yards of total offense, 206 of which came on the ground. Park had four defensive stops for the game.
The Wolfpack will face Hastings, which lost 34-31 Friday to East Ridge, Friday in Cottage Grove.