by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Denis Bardashevskiy ran wild for 283 yards and four touchdowns as the Elk River Elks cruised 31-10 over Park Center to close the regular season on Wednesday evening.
The Elks, who rolled up 426 yards on 42 rushes, will take a 3-5 record into Section 6, Class 5A tournament on Tuesday, against the Willmar Cardinals in Willmar.
Bardashevskiy, who carried the ball 22 times, broke loose in the second quarter for touchdown runs of 54 and 42 yards.
With the Elks up 16-3 after three quarters, he galloped 76 yards for his third score, then added a four-yard run.
The 5-foot-11, 160-pound junior finished the regular season with 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He may have had another TD had not Pirate lineman Sha-Ron Holley-Lewis stripped the ball from him near the goal line on another drive.
(The Elk single-game record, incidentally, is 340 yards by Jeff Hawkins.)
“We had a pretty good effort once we stopped turning the ball over inside the ten,” said coach Steve Hamilton. “We started a little sluggish. Bryan Edwards had a great game on defense. Our offensive line did pretty well; we averaged 10 yards per rush.”
Middle linebacker Edwards made around 20 tackles as the Elks gave up 298 yards rushing but no touchdowns until the Pirates scored on a pass in the final minute.
For Park Center (1-7), Antoine Scott carried 34 times for 241 yards.
“He’s a grown man,” commented Hamilton.
Austin Larson played quarterback in the absence of starter Jordan Johnson for the third straight game (knee and ankle injury).
Maclean Berglove added 108 yards on nine carries the Elks, including a 57-yard sprint early in the game.
Lots of nagging injuries
The Elks had 18 players sidelined for various ailments, said Hamilton, who brought up a few sophomores to help fill the ranks.Hamilton expected most of those players to return for the playoff game.
“It will be good to get them back next week. Practices have been little thin,” said the coach.
Elks face Willmar
The Elks were seeded No. 5 among six teams in the section, and will play at No. 4 Willmar (4-4) on Tuesday. The winner will take on top-seeded Rogers (7-1) on Saturday, Oct. 27.
On the other side, No. 3 St. Michael-Albertville (5-3) will host No. 6 Buffalo (3-5) on Tuesday with the winner traveling to No. 2 Moorhead (8-0).
Elk River 31, Park Center 10
Elk River ……. 0 16 0 15 — 31
Park Center …. 0 3 0 10 — 10
ER—Denis Bardashevskiy 55 run (Austin Larson run)
ER—Bardashevsky 38 run (Devin Donelson run)
PC—Chris Madsen 42 field goal
ER—Bardashevskiy 76 run (Donelson run)
ER—Bardashevskiy 4 run (Larson kick)
PC—Taylor Kurth 6 pass from JakeTanner (Madsen kick)