The Paynesville team came to Grantsburg as the two-year Minnesota AA runner up. They came to town and were able to take advantage of mistakes by the Pirates and go home with the win.
The Pirates coaching staff scrambled to schedule an opponent early last week after Rib Lake/Prentice cancelled their game scheduled for Friday night.
Head coach Adam Hale was proud of how his team played despite the preparation not being the same as it is with conference teams.
Hale said the main difficulty was, “Just in the fact that we didn't have any film of this year's team and weren't quite sure what to expect as far as their personnel.”
He added, “Credit them as they are a strong program and team but we really played poorly on defense. We were out of position all night and didn't tackle well besides.”
The teams looked evenly matched throughout the first quarter. The Pirates were trading touchdowns with the Bulldogs and at the end of the first half Paynesville was up 16-14.
Hale said his team was fighting hard all night but some miscues in the second quarter allowed Paynesville to get a big lead.
“Offensively, we shot ourselves in the foot at the end of the second quarter on two drives otherwise I think it goes into halftime pretty even,” Hale said.
On offense, the team rushed for over 200 yards and four touchdowns. Sterling McKinley threw for over 180 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Aaron Burkman and Aiden Burkman accounted for 25 of the teams 92 total tackles.
The Bulldogs outscored the Pirates 22-8 in the second quarter and went into halftime with a 38-22 lead.
The second half saw more of what the first quarter brought with trading touchdowns. The game ended 58-35.
Next week Grantsburg will be visited by conference rival Unity.
“We both know each other really well so there probably won't be any surprises,” Hale said. “It should be a battle as they are the defending conference champs and have a good team once again.”