Pine City hosted Hibbing on Friday night.
The Howard Bowl came to Pine City this year, as Shaun Howard(Head Coach of Hibbing), and Dennis Howard(Linebackers Coach for Pine City) battled it out for the Golden Dumpling trophy. They embraced on the field before the game knowing as soon as the ball was kicked it was time for battle.
Pine City would jump out to an early 14-0 lead. It started with a Logan Kolecki one yard touchdown plunge in the first quarter. Then in the second quarter QB Bryce Erickson found John Mead for a 38 yard touchdown. These scores put them ahead but were also the Dragons first points in the first half this season, a big step in the right direction. The Dragons looked to hold Hibbing out of the endzone the entire first half but turnovers plagued them and those lead to Hibbing scoring twice. The first was a 16 yard QB sneak on fourth down and the next a quick slant from 17 yards out. The Bluejackets would make their first PAT attempt but miss their second putting them behind 14-13 going into halftime.
The Dragons came out firing in the third quarter. Their offense bulldozed their way through the defense, and Pine City's defense stood tall. Pine City scored twice more in the third, Kolecki scoring his second of the game from four yards out. And Erickson would throw his second TD pass of the game this time to TE Mason Charles to put them up 26-13 going into the final stanza.
Hibbing wasn't going away easily though as they seemed to find new life as the new quarter began. Soon enough they plunged across the goal line from 5 yards out and would convert the extra point putting them within 6 of the Dragon lead late in the fourth. Pine City would look to move the chains a couple time to run out the clock but the Bluejacket defense buckled down and forced Pine City to punt. Hibbing would have to drive the length of the field but their no huddle offense looked primed to do so. The first three downs moved them within a couple yards of the first but fourth down loomed. Each team called a timeout to get ready for one of the biggest plays of the game. The Bluejackets wound up short of the line to gain and Pine city took over. The Dragons kneeled the rest of the time left and came away victorious 26-20. Coach Dennis Howard keeps the Golden Dumpling trophy in Pine city another year.
Pine City gets win number one this season and moves to 1-2. They'll travel to Esko this Friday night.