HURON - The Huron Tigers scored first in their home opener, but it was the only scoring that the Tigers would do in a 24-2 loss to the Brookings Bobcats Saturday at Tiger Stadium.
The Bobcats had a penalty on the opening kick return then struggled to gain any forward momentum. After excellent rush forced a sack on third down and backed the Brookings punter to the back of the end zone, the punt snap went through the end zone. With less than two minutes off the game clock, the Tigers led 2-0 on a safety.
After running back Quinston Luellman gained eight yards on the first carry, Brookings linebackers pushed the Tigers offense backward the next two plays to force a punt.
Brookings handed off to Israel Caldron to open the next series, and he gained nine to open the series. Tyson Brandt stretched the field and gained four to get the first first down of the game. Bubba Peterson made a big play in the Brookings backfield to force a punt.
Luellman weaved his way for 16 yards to open the drive for the Tigers to get into Brookings territory. Dylan Lichty took a sweep around end for 13 yards for another first down. A screen pass from Mason Davis to Lichty got the Tigers just inside the 20 for the first visit to the red zone for Huron.
A couple missed connections between Davis and receivers led to a 41-yard field goal attempt by the Tigers. The kick was short, leaving the score 2-0 Huron.
Brookings couldn’t get their run game going, forcing another punt.
Huron temmates Tyson Ruth, left, and Tyson Pfitzer combine to make a make a tackle against Rashaye Rogers of Brookings during their game Saturday at Tiger Stadium.
After a Davis scramble and Luellman lost a pair of yards, Davis found Reilyn Zavesky for a short gain to set up a 4th-and-1. Luellman gained a pair of yards for the first down to open the second quarter.
Davis kept the ball on an option play for an 11-yard gain for another first down, but on 4th-and-6th, the Brookings pass rush had its best rush of the day and sacked Davis for a big loss, turning the ball over on downs at the Brookings 24.
Brookings quarterback Justin Cofell made his first big connection to gain 17 yards, and Caldron immediately went around the edge for another first down. Brandt took a shovel pass right up the gut and busted through Tiger arm tackles to gain 26 yards and get the Bobcats to the red zone.
Caldron got eight on the next handoff to put the ball inside the 10-yard-line. He took the next run into the end zone to give Brookings the lead. Jared Erickson added the point-after for a 7-2 Bobcat lead.
Davis connected with Gavin Moeding for 16 yards on the first play of the ensuing drive. Luellman had a six-yard run, but on the next play, Davis threw an interception to Brandt.
After Huron forced a long third down, Cofell took off on a quarterback keeper for 39 yards to get into Tiger territory. Caldron took the next handoff for another Bobcat first down.
However, the Tigers stemmed the Bobcat momentum right there, forcing a long third down. Kolby Hofer picked off Cofell’s pass to record the first Huron turnover of the season.
Davis dropped back for two shots downfield to open the second half and didn’t connect. After a short Luellman gain, the Tigers punted.
After a Brookings three-and-out, Luellman fumbled the first carry of the ensuing series and Brookings fell on the ball at the Tigers 12 yard line.
On the first play after the fumble, Cofell tossed the ball to Brandt, and he beat the Tigers’ coverage to the corner for the touchdown. The kick made it 14-2 Bobcats.
After a three-and-out by the Tigers, the Bobcats had their worst starting field position of the second half at their own 38 yard line, but it didn’t matter. Brandt took the handoff and bounced off a number of Huron would-be tacklers en route to a 62-yard touchdown scamper. The kick made it a 21-2 lead for the visitors.
Luellman gave Huron an excellent kickoff return to give the Tigers their best starting position at their own 35-yard-line. However, the Tigers punted for the fourth time in the third quarter.
Caldron took an inside handoff for six yards to open the Brookings drive. The Tiger’s Kelby Dickson got to Cofell for a big sack, though, setting up third and long for Brookings to open the final quarter of play.
Lichty stepped in front of the Brookings receiver as Cofell launched the ball on the run to give Huron its second turnover of the game.
Huron’s Dylan Lichty carries the ball as teammate Quinston Luellman Clark leads the way during a game against Brookings on Saturday at Tiger Stadium.
Davis, however, threw the ball right to Brookings defensive back Charlie Bisgard to give the ball right back to the Bobcats.
Brookings got the first first down for either team in the second half on third down as Cofell hit Rashaye Rogers for a quick strike. Rogers made quick move and gained 13.
Cofell went deep down the sideline again for Rogers on the next play, but Gavin Moeding timed the play perfectly to intercept.
Davis took off on a scramble and gained 11 yards, but he was stripped at the end of the run and Brookings jumped on it, giving them the ball on the Tigers’ 21-yard-line.
Brandt leapt over Tiger defenders to get to the 13 before Cofell attempted a quarterback keeper and was stuffed back after no gain. Brookings took a chance on 4th and short, but had a holding call on the play. Instead, the Bobcats chose to attempt a field goal after the penalty. Erickson was good from 31 yards to give Brookings a 24-2 lead.
On a 3rd and long, Davis connected with Moeding on a bubble screen and Moeding took it all the way into Brookings territory for the first Huron first down of the second half. The Tigers ended up turning the ball over on downs on the Brookings’ 41-yard-line.
Bubba Peterson stripped the ball out of the arms of Brandt as Brandt was spinning for extra yardage, giving the Tigers the ball with just shy of four minutes left on the game clock.
Cashton Caudell found a big hole and got the ball to the Brookings 36 with a run up the middle. After a penalty that forced a 3rd and long, Davis threw a jump ball that Bisgard came down with for Brookings for his second interception of the game to seal the game.
Brookings used 180 rushing yards to move to 2-1. Brandt led the way with 80 yards and a score on the ground while Caldron added 60 yards and a score.
Bobcat quarterback Cofell threw for 78 yards and a score while also rushing for 44 yards.
Huron falls to 0-3 despite a strong defense effort led by Bubba Peterson’s eight tackles. Lichty had six tackles and an interception defensively.
Coach Dru Strand saw the game as a game of a few breaks that could have significantly swung things in favor of his squad.
“We’re right in this game. If we can make some of those little things happen, we are right there,” Strand observed. “We’ve got to keep our heads up. We are so close to turning this thing around. They’ve just got to stick together as a team.”
The Tigers travel to Sturgis Friday.
Brookings 0 7 14 3 — 24
Huron 2 0 0 0 — 2
10:15 - H - Snap through Brookings end zone. Safety.
4:06 - B - Israel Caldron 8-yard TD run. (Jared Erickson PAT kick good.)
6:05 - B - Justin Cofell 12-yard TD pass to Tyson Brandt. (Erickson PAT kick good.)
3:41 - B - Brandt 62-yard TD run. (Erickson PAT kick good.)
8:10 - B - Erickson 31-yard field goal.