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Football: Young Mariners come up short against Grizzlies

Silver Bay junior Mason Ollman tries to slip by North Woods Brody Driscoll during the Grizzlies' 20-6 win in the first round of the Nine-Man Secion 7 playoffs. (Photo by Michelle Ketola)1 / 2
Silver Bay senior Peyton Westerlund goes up for a pass during the Mariners' 20-6 loss to North Woods in the Nine-Man Section 7 playoffs. (Photo by Michelle Ketola)2 / 2

Silver Bay's season ended Tuesday, Oct. 23, with a 20-6 loss to North Woods in the first round of the Nine-Man Section 7 first-round game in Cook. It was the Mariners' second loss this season to the Grizzlies.

The first matchup was a wild 46-33 game that featured 48 points scored in the fourth quarter alone.

In the Tuesday game, North Woods quarterback Chase Kleppe threw two touchdown passes of 9 and 48 yards to Tanner Barto, including a fourth-quarter toss that made the score 20-0, essentially sealing the game for the Grizzlies.

Mariner senior Weston Monson scored from a yard out to prevent the shutout, but Silver Bay wasn't able to mount much offense through much of the game.

The 2018 season was tough for the Mariners, featuring a 1-4 start and a brutal early season schedule where they faced three of the top nine-man teams in the area, including undefeated South Ridge and one-loss Cook County.

Silver Bay (4-5) was also extremely young in 2018, with just three seniors on the roster. Following their slow start, the Mariners found a groove and won three of their final four games, including their first win over Ely since 2005, before both schools moved to nine-man football.

Among the bright spots for the Mariners is junior Mason Ollman, who rushed for 1,229 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, averaging more than 7.5 yards per carry.

Defensively, Ollman also led the team with four sacks in 2018. Sophomore Ero Wallin led the team with 54 tackles in the regular season.

Coach Ward Kaiser knew the Mariners' schedule wouldn't be do them any favors, particularly as young as his team was, but he was pleased how his team performed and excited about their potential for 2019.

"In the game against Cook County, it just showed how good they were and how much further we had to come," Kaiser said. "Our guys never gave up, but we could see how much more we needed to develop ... For next year, these guys have a lot of experience at the varsity level. Being competitive this year is a great springboard for next year."

Silver Bay 0-0-0-6—6

North Woods 6-6-0-8—20

NW — Tanner Barto 9 pass from Chase Kleppe (pass failed)

NW — Nathan Crain 7 Run (pass failed)

NW — Barto 48 pass from Kleppe (Jake Hyppa run)

SB — Weston Monson 1 run (kick failed)

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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