The Central Lakes College Raiders are clearing a path to a Southern Division title, and moved another step in that direction Saturday with a 39-6 win over Minnesota State-Fergus Falls.
Andrew Johnson scored on three touchdown runs as the Raiders rolled up 336 total yards. The CLC defense, led by two interceptions from Jared Hoemberg, came up with another strong performance, allowing just 132 total yards.
“I can’t say enough about Jared Hoemberg. He is just a tremendous kid and a great leader for us,” CLC head coach Greg Medeck said.
The only score of the game by the Spartans came on an 86-yard third-quarter kickoff return by Jacobi Scruggs. Minnesota State made just five first downs.
“I thought our defense played phenomenal, they really did,” said Medeck, “and a lot of guys got a chance to play.
“On special teams we have things to clean up and the offense needs to execute a little better in certain spots. We got the outcome we wanted but we would like to see our team not be so stagnant.”
One thing the Raiders needed to be aware of was the possibility of an emotional letdown after last week’s big win against Rochester.
“It was a tough emotional roller coaster against Rochester,” defensive back Jared Hoemberg said. “We only have four captains and we came together this week, but it was tough coming off that win.
“I am so proud of these guys. They are like brothers to me.””
Traditionally, the Raiders-Spartans game seems to be played the week after the Rochester matchup.
“We stressed that the last six years the schedules line up with us facing Fergus Falls the week after Rochester,” Medeck said. “We get so worked up in the preparation for Rochester week that sometimes you do experience a little bit of that letdown. It is something that we still work to overcome because you invest so much in it.”
Marion Lambright got the Raiders’ defense off the field quickly on the first series of the game as he intercepted deep in Spartans territory to set up the CLC offense. However, Andrew Leonhardt’s 23-yard field goal attempt was blocked and the Raiders came away with no points.
On the next Spartans possession, Hoemberg came away with his first interception and the Raiders turned it into their first score, a 1-yard plunge by Johnson.
In the second quarter, the Raiders blocked a Minnesota State punt, and Johnson finished off a four-play drive with his second touchdown, and CLC took a 12-0 lead to the half.
Hoemberg also notched his second interception of the game late in the second quarter.
“I have to give credit to coach Medeck with the amount of time and effort that he puts into it,” Hoemberg said about the play of the defense. “He puts us in the right spots to make the plays. He puts in a lot of time and I have a lot of respect for him.”
Johnson put the one score of the third quarter on the board on a broken play that he turned into a 5-yard touchdown run.
The Spartans finally got on the board with 7:30 left in the quarter on Scruggs’ return.
The Raiders didn’t flinch and let Minnesota West get any closer, and the offense put three more rushing touchdowns on the board in the fourth quarter. Sean Nokken rushed for two of them, and Blake Petrich collected the other. Nokken finished with 124 yards rushing
With the win, the Raiders are 2-0 in division play. They play two more division games, against Minnesota West and Ridgewater. By winning those two games, the Raiders would finish in the top spot in the Southern Division, and would host the first two rounds of the newly expanded playoffs.
“We had so many things in last week with the game plan that it really took all of their focus. We were able to simplify things a little bit this week and the guys bought into it and executed,” Medeck said.
Minnesota State 0 0 6 0 — 6
Central Lakes 6 6 6 21 — 39
CLC—Andrew Johnson 1 run (kick failed) 6:47
CLC—Johnson 1 run (kick failed) 12:14
CLC—Johnson 5 run (kick failed) 7:44
MS—Jacobi Scruggs 86 kickoff return (conversion failed) 7:30
CLC—Sean Nokken 45 run (Anthony Moss kick) 14:51
CLC—Blake Petrich 44 run (Moss kick) 9:52
CLC—Nokken 12 run (Moss kick) 6:18
Rushing, Att-Yds: MS 33-107, CLC
Passing, Att-Comp-Int-Yds: MS 3-17-3-25, CLC 9-20-2-74
Total Yards: MS 132, CLC 336
Rushing: MS-Riley 8-81, Lumley 12-34; CLC-Sean Nokken 9-124, Beau Bellmore 19-84, Blake Petrich 2-45, Brandon Kiel 3-12
Passing: MS-Zenner 1-2-14, Riley 2-11-11; CLC-Andrew Johnson 9-20-74
Receiving: MAS-Davis 2-17, Lumley 1-8; CLC-Anthony Shelman 5-49, Paul Lake 2-16, Matthew Scott 1-7, Michael Sparish 1-2
Division: CLC 2-0. Overall: CLC 4-1. Next: CLC vs Minnesota West at Worthington 2:30 p.m. Saturday.