CROSBY — Things didn’t go as Mike Gindorff had expected.
The head coach for the Crosby-Ironton Rangers watched his team shoot itself in the foot so many times during a preseason scrimmage he was prepared for the worst on Friday.
What he got was a near perfect non-conference opener in which the Rangers rattled the Mesabi East Giants 62-0.
C-I committed just one penalty, which was declined. The Rangers enjoyed a turnover free game and scored on every possession in the first half.
“I think we got most of our penalties and mistakes out of our system in practice and in our scrimmage,” said Gindorff. “We were pretty undisciplined, but the kids did a good job tonight.”
In a matter of one minute and 48 seconds in the second quarter, the Rangers scored 20 points on three touchdowns and an two-point conversion.
Leading 13-0 after the first quarter, senior quarterback Jacob Leonhardt landed a pass into the waiting hands of Daniel Hudrlik for a 21-0 lead. On the Giants next possession, Hudrlik intercepted a pass and returned it 48 yards for a 27-0 C-I advantage.
One play later, Caleb Baker was picking off a pass for the Rangers. On C-I’s first play after the turnover, it was Leonhardt to Hudrlik on a 26-yard TD strike.
“It was pretty fun out there,” said Leonhardt. “On the touchdown passes, the cornerback was an foot shorter than Daniel so I figured I would just go let him make a play.”
Leonhardt rushed for a touchdown and was 8-of-9 for 123 yards and the two touchdowns. His one incompletion was a dropped pass.
“The line blocked well,” said Leonhardt. “I only got sacked once and that was the junior varsity line so it helps when they can block and you don’t have anyone else hitting you.
“This gives us a lot of confidence. Hopefully we can keep this up.”
C-I gained 382 yards on 49 plays compared to 65 yards on 40 plays for Mesabi. C-I finished with three interceptions — two by Hudrlik — and two fumble recoveries by Derek Brown and Eli Brix. Wyatt Sharp sacked the quarterback in the end zone for a 48-0 Ranger lead in the third quarter.
“Last year, we didn’t do a very good job of stopping the run and creating turnovers,” Gindorff said. “Our goal coming into this game was to stop the run and be ahead in the plus/minus of turnovers. And we did both of those tonight.”
Even eighth-grade quarterback Noah Gindorff scored a touchdown on a 1-yard sneak.
Dylan Wasserzieher led the Rangers with 101 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. Fullback Zack Olander rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on just four carries. Joe Sura managed 96 yards and a score on nine carries.
“We’ve had trouble this year getting in a grove, the same grove we ended last year with,” said Gindorff. “We had trouble finding it. Our defense set the tone early and then our offense got rolling. Things went pretty smoothly after that. We got some take aways and we just went from there.”