CROSBY — The Crosby-Ironton Rangers didn’t defeat themselves.
Last week, they did. The week before that they almost did. On Friday, they did not and took a step toward regaining the top seed in the Section 6-2A playoffs with a 38-16 victory over the previously unbeaten Hinckley-Finlayson Jaguars.
One interception in the first half and three penalties for 20 yards were about the only things the Rangers did wrong.
“The last couple of weeks we have been really sloppy,” said Rangers head coach Mike Gindorff. “We had some bad injuries. The nagging type that never seem to go away, but we got healthy this week and focused on fundamentals. We talked about all the things we did well earlier in the season and did them tonight.”
After an 8-8 first half, where both teams moved the ball effectively, the Rangers took control early in the second half.
C-I forced the game’s first three-and-out, then marched 70 yards on seven plays to make it 16-8 thanks to a Jacob Leonhardt 20-yard run.
On the Rangers’ next possession, Daniel Hudrlik broke off left tackle and sprinted 30 yards to make it 24-8 C-I.
Dylan Wasserzieher picked off a Ben Grimm pass and returned in 54 yards for a 32-8 Rangers lead.
“We have been preaching turnovers for a long time,” said Gindorff. “Not to have them, but to force them. The past couple of weeks we had six fumbles and a couple of bad interceptions. Tonight we threw one bad pick, but we rebounded.
“Then Dylan made a heck of a play. We knew they were going to run that slant and we were ready for it.”
Grimm answered back, however, when he hit Thomas Lenzen on a 59-yard touchdown pass to cut into C-I’s lead. The Jaguars had a balanced offensive attack as Grimm threw for 154 yards and the team ran for 142.
“On film they showed that they wanted to run a lot of lead and things like that,” said Gindorff. “We set our defense to take away that lead, but then they went to more of a sweep attack and tried to get to the edge. We had some stunts and stuff working on the inside early and when we stopped them early they adjusted. Then we made our adjustments at halftime.”
The Rangers answered themselves thanks to a 10-play drive that concluded with Wasserzieher scoring from seven yards out for the final score.
“Our offensive line, coach (Neil) Tesdahl had them ready to play this week,” said Gindorff. “They came out and blocked tonight. They worked their tails off.”
C-I threw the ball just four times, but rushed it 51 times for 317 yards. Zack Olander lead the Rangers’ rushing attack with 128 yards on 21 carries. Hudrlik added 96 yards on 11 carries and Wasserzieher 66 on 14 carries.
“This was really important for us,” said Hudrlik. “We knew we had to come out and play hard. This was a big win for us. Our line did a heck of a job. Our quarterback played great and our running backs ran the ball hard. It was just a great game.”
Hinckley-Finlayson 0 8 0 8 — 16
Crosby-Ironton 0 8 16 14 — 38
CI-Daniel Hudrlik 4 run (Hudrlik run) 3:47
HF-Ben Grimm 1 run (Brady Harth run) :40
CI-Jacob Leonhardt 20 run (Hudrlik run) 7:46
CI-Hudrlik 30 run (Hudrlik pass from Leonhardt) :13
CI-Dylan Wasserzieher 54 interception return (Zack Olander run) 10:43
HF-Thomas Lenzen 59 pass from Grimm (Nate Nelson run) 10:17
CI-Wasserzieher 7 run (pass failed) 6:08
Rushes-yards: CI 51-317, HF 32-142
Pass comp-att-int-yds: CI 1-4-1-8, HF 8-18-1-154
Total offense: CI 55-325, HF 50-296
Rushing: CI-Dylan Wasserzieher 14-66, Zack Olander 21-128, Jacob Leonhardt 3-27, Daniel Hudrlik 11-96, Joe Sura 1-1, Nate Jaskowiak 1-(-1); HF-Dylan Libra 17-98, Brady Harth 8-21, Ben Grimm 1-1, Nate Nelson 5-23, Cody Baran 1-(-1)
Passing: CI-Leonhardt 1-4-8; HF-Grimm 8-18-154
Receiving: CI-Hudrlik 1-8; HF-Thomas Lenzen 3-92, Harth 1-11, Nelson 1-14, Rian Bergstad 1-10, Libra 2-25