The end of a streak
ROSEAU, Minn.—Pacey Miller doesn't usually get emotional. After Friday's high school football game, however, the Roseau senior shed tears.
For Miller, the 9-8 victory over Eveleth-Gilbert was the first in his three seasons as a Rams starting lineman. The victory snapped a 29-game Roseau losing streak. The last win came on Aug. 29, 2014.
"It was very emotional,'' Miller said. "It's been a long three years. It was good to end the streak. It was a relief and a weight off our shoulders.
"I love playing football. But it was hard (during the losing streak) to keep the negativity away on the team.''
Eveleth-Gilbert led 8-0 at halftime. Roseau got within 8-6 in the third quarter when a Nels Braaten interception set up a Nathan Adrian 10-yard touchdown run.
Then, with 10:13 left, junior Hunter Nelson hit his first varsity field-goal attempt, from 30 yards out, for the winning points.
"He hasn't made one in a game before, but Hunter has made field goals from 40 to 45 yards in practices,'' Roseau coach Jeremy Lindemann said. "We were confident in him. He kicked it right down the middle. He could easily have been kicking from the 45 and it would have been good.''
As time expired, fans in the stands flooded onto the field to celebrate the streak's end.
"It was pretty exciting,'' Lindemann said. "Some players had tears in their eyes. It was hard on these kids. It wasn't just the losing record. It was going to school each week, having your peers wondering if you're ever going to win. I think that (losing streak) is a reason why our (participation) numbers are low.''
Lindemann, a first-year head coach, hasn't talked about wins and losses. His approach has been to set goals—making all of your blocks, only allowing two touchdowns, scoring four touchdowns, etc. "We didn't talk about this or that team beating beatable,'' he said. "We tried to take pressure off the kids.''
Still, attempts to divert attention from the streak only went so far. "We wanted to keep getting better,'' Adrian said. "That was always the goal. But we really wanted to get a win. We wanted to break the losing streak.''
Ironically, Roseau passed on a chance for a sure win on paper.
Roseau originally was scheduled to play Frazee on Friday. But, earlier this season, Frazee cancelled all its games. The result would have been a 2-0 Roseau forfeit victory.
But Roseau discovered that Eveleth-Gilbert had a matching opening on its schedule. Roseau declined the forfeit win, instead scheduling the Section 7AA team that was 6-3 last season and had won two of its first three games this season.
"We wanted to play, to get a real win,'' Adrian said.
Said Miller: "It's not the same; you have to play the game to actually get a win.''
After 29 straight losses, victory was accomplished.