Hancock moves to 3-0 with 48-20 win over Northland Pines

Paul Peterson photo Hancock quarterback Colton Salani scrambles for yardage in the first half of Friday night's game versus as Bryce Lederer of the Eagles defends. The unbeaten Bulldogs scored a 48-20 win.

HANCOCK — Getting a lead against the Hancock Bulldogs isn’t hard for opposing teams this football season.

Holding that lead is the hard part versus the fast-break, NASCAR offense of the Crimson and Gold.

Northland Pines found that out the hard way Friday night at McAfee Field, dropping a 48-20 West-PAC decision.

“They come at you in so many ways,” NPHS coach Al Zayla said afterward. “We couldn’t match their selection of plays, or the speed they got them off in.”

Sophomore quarterback Colton Salani did the major damage against the Eagles, passing for four touchdowns and running for another score for the 3-0 Bulldogs.

Hancock skipper Ted Holmstrom said one of the things he likes about Salani is his ability to bounce back after a mistake.

“He’s just that kind of player,” Holmstrom commented. “He’ll come back right away after making a bad play and make a good one. He stays after it.”

The Eagles took advantage of two interceptions in the opening two quarters by Salani to take a 13-12 lead with under four minutes to play in the half.

But Salani marched his team quickly downfield and put them ahead with 10 seconds to play with a 5-yard scoring pass to end David Jukkala.

Brendan LeClaire’s PAT kick made it 20-12 at the intermission. 

Hancock fullback Alex Nordstrom went 5 yards for a score early in the third frame after the Wisconsin team fumbled the ball away. That made it 34-12.

It was evident the visitors began wilting away after that.

“They were breathing pretty hard in the second half,” Holmstrom noted. “And that’s a pretty good football team. They’ve been in all of their games this season against good teams.”

Salani, who passed for an unofficial 225 yards on the night, ran 10 yards for a score later in the third stanza.

He kept it in the family by tossing a short scoring pass to brother Austin Salani in the fourth period.

Eagles sophomore quarterback Ryan Peterson threw the ball 33 times and completed 14 for 163 yards.

“He (Peterson) is a good quarterback for a sophomore,” Holmstrom said. “He kept throwing them, no doubt.”

The Hancock ground game was led by senior Aaron Barnes and Nordstrom, who combined for well over 175 yards.

The Bulldogs travel to L’Anse next Friday in a battle for first in the West-PAC.

That game will be a tough one,” Holmstrom said. “We’re both pretty similar teams.”

N. Pines 6 6 0 8 – 20

Hancock 6 14 14 14 – 48

First quarter

ER – Cody Jantzen (run failed)

HA – Grant Hokenson 18 pass from Colton Salani

ER – Jantzen 18 run ( pass failed)

Second quarter

HA – Dawson Kero 16 pass from Salani (Brendan LeClaire kick)

HA – David Jukkala 5 pass from Salani (LeClaire kick)

HA – Alex Nordstrom 5 run (LeClaire kick)

Fourth quarter

HA – C. Salani 10 run (LeClaire kick)

ER – Nick Blaedow 12 pass from Ryan Peterson (Peterson run)

HA – Austin Salani 4 pass from C. Salani (LeClaire kick)

HA – Barnes 5 run (LeClaire kick)