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Football: Agates 'starting to click' at right time

Two Harbors senior Rick Brenna carries the ball during practice Wednesday, Oct. 24. Brenna missed most of the season with a leg injury, but returned for the Agates' blowout win over Eveleth-Gilbert last week. (Jamey Malcomb/News-Chronicle)1 / 2
Two Harbors Coach Tom Nelson talks with quarterback Cole Komarek during practice Wednesday, Oct. 24, ahead of the Agates' clash with Esko in the Secion 7AAA semifinals in Duluth. (Jamey Malcomb/News-Chronicle) 2 / 2

Early this season, the mighty Two Harbors run game struggled to gain traction and `leading to some ugly wins and two surprising losses.

The Agates lost to Duluth Denfeld in late August and a double overtime game against Virginia three weeks later that left them with a 3-2 record. The stretch also included a 19-12 win over Esko where the Agates had to hold on for dear life for the victory despite seven Eskomo turnovers.

After the loss to Virginia, though, the Agates started to find their run game and upset a favored Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin team 27-12 in Coleraine. The Agates stormed ahead for two more wins to grab the top seed in the section and a first-round bye, following a 45-8 victory over Eveleth-Gilbert Oct. 17.

"We bumped some people around about four weeks back and maybe that's just starting to click here," coach Tom Nelson said. "We've got some good chemistry and have found some pieces of the puzzle."

The Agates will face Esko again Saturday, Oct. 28, at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth. Two Harbors' field was ruled unplayable after a rain-soaked victory over International Falls on Oct. 5.

The Eskomos shut out Virginia 25-0 on Tuesday, Oct. 24, and can turn around a disappointing season with a trip to the Section 7AAA finals.

Nelson said the Agates are going keep to the formula that got them a first-round bye. He knows Two Harbors will need to be at their best if they hope to make their first trip to the section finals since 2014.

"There are going to be moments to take advantage of," Nelson said. "We aren't going to change our game plan. You gotta to go with what we do best. We're going to try to run it down their throats and take advantage of what they want to give us.

"Defensively, we just got to get after them," he said. "We gotta be more physical than them on both sides of the ball and on special teams."

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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