Jack Majerus (22) rushes for a big gain during a 32-14 loss to Melrose, Friday night at home. In back is QB Austin Ballhagen. Majerus had 125 yards rushing, two TDs and two interceptions.

The Minnewaska football team scored midway through the third quarter to take a 14-12 lead over the visiting Melrose Dutchmen.  The Lakers, who scored on two Jack Majerus touchdown runs, couldn’t hold the lead as Melrose came storming back with three touchdowns over the final 13 minutes to rally for the 32-14 victory.

Minnewaska Area, which fell to 0-3 overall, was set to play at Montevideo this Friday at 7 p.m. before coming home again for the annual Homecoming game, Friday, Sept. 30 versus Rockford.

Melrose 32, Minnewaska 14

The Lakers started strong, recovering a pooch kick at the Melrose 38-yard line to start the game, but both defenses dominated early play until Melrose finally got the board first on a quarterback sneak of six yards by Devin Orbeck.

The Lakers were forced to start the game with backup quarterback Austin Ballhagen as PJ Johnson was unable to play, and during the Lakers’ next drive, they were forced to bring in sophomore QB Levi Johnson when Ballhagen was injured late in the first quarter.

The Lakers started their fourth offensive drive from their own 37 and made it as far as the Melrose 14 before fumbling the ball away.

Minnewaska forced Melrose to punt and this time, starting at the Dutchmen 31, the Lakers took six plays to score their first touchdown on a run by Jack Majerus, who also ran for the two-point conversion to give the Lakers a short-lived 8-6 lead with 2:23 left in the first half.

Less than a minute later, the Dutchmen took back the lead on a 66-yard touchdown pass from Orbeck to Anthony Berscheit, who had 77 rushing yards on 16 carries.

The first half ended with the Lakers throwing one interception and Melrose throwing two, both intercepted by Majerus, including one with 30 seconds left at the Minnewaska 12.

The Lakers were forced to punt on their first possession of the second half, but took back the lead at 14-12 on a 37-yard touchdown run by Majerus midway through the third.

It was all Melrose from then on as the Dutchmen scored on their next two possessions and added third second-half score on an interception returned for a touchdown by James Braun with about two minutes left in the game.

• Melrose held advantages of 15-14 in first downs and 341-211 in total yards.  Majerus rushed 24 times for 125 yards, Levi Johnson ran five times for 26 yards and Austin Weber had nine carries for 11 yards.

Johnson also completed 7-of-19 passes for 57 yards and three interceptions with Connor Stein catching four for 21 yards, Hunter Kloos hauling in three for 30 yards and Noah Jensen catching one for six yards.

Melrose quarterback Devin Orbeck completed 5-of-11 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions and also rushed 14 times for 94 yards.

Chase Boelke had a fumble recovery for the Lakers, while Weber had a sack, Majerus had two interceptions and Stein punted five times for a 31.6 yard average.  No tackle stats were available.

Melrose 32, at Waska 14

Melrose (1-2) 0 12 6 14 — 32

Minnewaska (0-3) 0 8 6 0 — 14

Team stats Min MEL

First downs 14 15

Rushes-net yards 38-162 37-201

Pass-cp-int-yds 22-8-3-49 11-5-2-140

Total yards 211 341

Punts-average 5-31.6 3.25.3

Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2

3rd down effic 4-12 3-10

Penalties-yards 5-27 11-58

Minnewaska statistics

Rushing — Jack Majerus 24-125, Levi Johnson 5-26,  Austin Weber 9-11

Passing (attempts-comp-intercept-yrds) — MIN-Levi Johnson 19-7-3-57, Austin Ballhagen 3-1-0-0

Receiving (catches-yards) — MIN-Connor Stein 4-21, Hunter Kloos 3-30, Noah Jensen 1-6

Punts-ave — Connor Stein 5-31.6

Returns — Punt returns-Blake Andreas 1-13; Kickoff returns-Weber 2-20, Stein 1-15, Cole Baker 1-0

Defense — Tackles-UA . . . Sacks-Weber 1 . . . Interceptions-Majerus 2 . Fumble rec-Chase Boelke 1