There have been some close games between the Barnum Bombers and the East Central Eagles over the last three or four seasons, but Friday, October 12 was not one of those nights. The weather was beautiful for what has seem to become a rotating Homecoming tradition between the two foes, but the score was not even close as host Barnum bombarded the visiting East Central Eagles by a score of 58-16.
Barnum scored 22, 23 and 13 points in the first three quarters, respectively before pulling back the reigns, leading 58-0. The final quarter, played in running time, found the Eagles being able to get on the board twice with two touchdowns and two points after runs for the final tally of 58-16.
Barnum's Steve Swanson, who soon got a pass interception, line drove a kick off an up-back's shins, but Eagle Casey Sura was able to secure the loose ball and Swanson made the stop on the 28.
One run went well for the Eagles, but the next attempt against area sack leader defensive end John Zmyslony went nowhere. A third- and four-screen to the left middle seemed to be set up well enough but the pass floated, was tipped and Swanson had an interception at 10:48.
After one false start, Barnum settled down and Daniel Warpula got a big gain on his first touch. Eagle Logan Zimmermann made a good, soil tack on Zach Peterson. Bomber Colton Selix went right for a first down on a fine sweep around the right side. From the 10, Warpula was escorted into the end zone behind Peterson and Zmyslony for a TD. Selix made a fine little run for the two point for 8-0.
Eagle Isaiah Lobby made a decent effort on a two-hopper to the 33, but on the first play of their second possession the Eagles fumbled and Jaxon Lind recovered at 9:04 as the Eagles suffered their second turnover in as many possessions.
Bomber Zac Carlson launched a long pass down the right side, but it was overthrown with Eagle Nathaniel Ecklund on the coverage. An inside handoff to Peterson gained three. Warpula ran the left sweep for a first down. Barnum continued to methodically moved toward the goal line and eventually, from just a yard out, it was Peterson to score. The pass for points failed, but the Bombers had blasted off to 14-0 with 6:34 still remaining in the first frame.
Lobby made a good return to the 38 with Selix tackling. A left middle run by Eagle Steven Gunderson went nowhere and Eagle Kaleb McCulloch found only a couple with Selix up fast. A pass to the left was a good catch, but not enough for a first down and the Eagles elected to punt. Lobby, who has been said to have gotten college looks as a punter, booted an excellent one that rolled all the way to the nine at 5:03.
On the first play from scrimmage, Carlson made a beauty of a bomb that hit Bomber Brandon Newman on stride for a 91-yard shocker. A little lob to Selix showed Carlson’s ability to throw the touch pass as well and Barnum had blown it open at 22-0 with 4:50 still remaining in the first quarter.
A short kick went out of bounds, so the Eagles got to start on their 35. Bomber Tory Slater held a middle to six, but the Eagles followed with their first first down at 4:11. That was followed by a little out pass to Eagle Tavion Buchanon for a three-yard loss. A pass to McCulloch was a loss of six with Slater smelling it out and snuffing it short. An inside hand and a Slater stop for a loss of five made it third and 19 and Barnum took over on downs as Tanner Fuglestad tackled. A punt was returned by Warpula from the 15 to the 32. A personal foul flew on the play so Barnum would have to operate from the 17. A pass to the right flat was incomplete, but a pass to Warpula on the right flat gained good ground to close the quarter with Barnum up 22-0.
The pass was not enough for a first so the Bombers elected to punt. Due to a high snap, it was a very good one and went out on the 42.
A counter was countered on a big hit by Zmyslony for a loss of three. Sura went right for two against Bomber Sam Anderson. The Eagles tried a trick play — a half back pass — but it hung like an apple on a tree and got the Eagles' third turnover at 10:40.
Peterson ran the middle for eight. Warpula ran for a first before McCulloch tackled. From 11 yards out it was Newman to score. Speedy Bomber Cody Shelgren took a pitch in for the two-point and the gap further widened to 30-0 at 9:20.
The Eagles would again be forced to punt and it was another boomer by Lobby between the 15 and 20 yard line.
On third-and-one, the Eagles jumped offside. Shelgren made a good play on a screen for second-and-six. A sweep right was third-and-five. Newman took the controls at quarterback and struck gold on very good faking on the left side. Newman launched a fine ball for Swanson to run under on stride and to gallop to the end zone. Newman found Bomber Seth Vogt virtually all alone on the two-point and Barnum had further raced to a 38-0 lead with 5:40 still remaining in the halftime.
Disaster struck the Eagles again. This time it was the fourth turnover in the form of a short, high kick that did roll out of bounds and was covered by the Bombers. In just over two and one-half minutes the Bombers would find the end zone again. After working the ball down the short field, it was Warpula on his fourth TD of the game. The Bombers, usually going for two-point pats, decided to practice the point after in a game situation and Vogt got it done for 45-0.
The Eagles got a first down at 1:50. McCulloch fought for a few yards and some extra yardage. A tipped pass, intended for McCulloch, was almost another interception. A pass along the left side also was nearly picked off with Vogt covering at 47.5 and Barnum took over on downs.
Peterson blasted the middle for a first to the 40. Peterson had another strong run for seven to the 47. With 12 ticks left, the Bombers elected not to run another play and to head to shelter with a 45-0 lead. The kick was a decent one and returned to the 31. On the very first play of the third quarter, it was Selix scorching off a 69-yard sprint. The kick failed, but it made little difference at 11:39 with Barnum going up 51-0.
After a three-and-out for East Central another good punt by Lobby looked like it would be a decent return for Warpula, but a flag flew and Barnum would start from its own five. That made little difference as the Bombers went on a sustained drive that included five first downs and culminated in Newman running seven yards to paydirt. Vogt hit his second kick of three kicks on the eve and Barnum shot forward to lead 58-0 at 4:02.
Bombers Richard Parzy, Anderson and Fuglestad made fine plays on the kick and the first play from scrimmage, including Fuglestad’s coverage on an incomplete pass. The Eagles, running first-stringers such as McCulloch, were able to string together three first downs to head into the fourth frame trailing 58-0, but they would soon be able to score.
From the 15, a pass was overthrown. A Statue of Liberty play returned to the field from the playbook archives. On the next lay, Zimmermann, an East Central eleventh grade fullback, hit the middle for a score. McCulloch squeezed a good pass in the left corner from Lobby for 58-8 at 9:27.
Barnum’s substitute quarterback got sacked once as running time made the rest of the game speed right along. The Eagles were able to put together five first downs and work the ball downfield against each squad's reserves, but it was East Central's Buchanon, a junior running back, who was able to score from four yards out. It was Seth Allen, also a junior, but a tight end, that caught a Lobby pass for the game’s final tally of 58-16.
The Bombers' six senior starters, Selix, Warpula, Swanson, Zmyslony, Anderson and Vogt, who had all played key roles in the game as Warpula caught a pass and ran for two touchdowns; Selix had one touchdown and two extra points; Swanson ran for a TD and had an interception; Zmyslony, the area sack leader, seemed was all over Lobby to hurry passes on several occasions; Anderson played a fine game defensively. Others of note were Newman, Mitchell Weller, Fuglestad, Lind, Brady Youngberg and Slater.
East Central's Gunderson had a decent game. McCulloch, a senior running back, stood out. Junior Zimmermann had a TD and classmate Buchanon had a TD. McCulloch had a two-point conversion from Lobby and Lobby, a junior, tossed a two-point to junior Allen as well. Four turnovers had really hurt the Eagles in terms of time of possession.
Selix led the way for Barnum as he rushed only five times but gained 116 yards and scored a TD and a two-point conversion as part of an offense that racked up a total of 477 yards. Warpula put the most points on the board with three TDs. Quarterback Carlson was 3-for-6 for 103 yards and a TD toss to Warpula. Newman threw a TD pass to Swanson and Newman ran for a score and passed a two-point conversion to Vogt.
It was the third loss for 2-5 and 2-4 East Central on the season, while the Bombers, under coaches Brian Robertson, Rich Newman and others, continue to play intense and smart football and have only two losses — one of those a very close game with AAA Cloquet and the other to number-two ranked AA Moose Lake-Willow River. Neither of those teams were blowouts as could have been expected.
Barnum, improving to 5-2 and 5-0 in the conference, will travel for a Wednesday, October 17 meeting with the Deer River Warriors who were 2-4 and 2-2 prior to their Friday night fight at 0-6 Oglivie. East Central travels south on October 17 to play a team with a similar record — the Rush City Tigers.