Some of the faces were different, but the effort and the outcome was the same as the Central Lakes College Raiders extended their winning streak to 11 with a 34-6 season-opening win over Fond du Lac Saturday in Brainerd.
The Raiders accumulated 541 total yards of offense and their defense held Fond du Lac to 227 total yards.
”We executed very well,” said sophomore quarterback Andrew Johnson. “We came out and ran the ball, which was what we wanted to do and mixed it in with the pass. We had a good balance and we hit the big plays.
“The offensive line did really well giving me time and creating holes for the running backs.”
Johnson finished the day 20 of 33 for 372 yards and three touchdown passes.
CLC’s defense had the biggest change in the offseason as they started 11 new players with only, Alex Galvan, seeing extended minutes in 2012.
Josh Johnson led the team with five solo tackles followed by Ajrian Stone Caldwell with three. The defense did not allow a score until less than three minutes in the game.
Under a bright sunny sky with sweltering temperatures, the Raiders made their second possession count with a six-play, 59-yard drive, culminating in a 5-yard run from Athen Ashton. Jack Corbett’s kick was good and CLC had a 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Raiders turned a Thunder fumble into a nine-play, 38-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard run from Eric McAfee.
Johnson capped off the first-half scoring as he scrambled, and with a crushing block from Tyler O’Brien, located Steve Wroblewski for a 9-yard scoring pass and a 20-0 halftime lead.
“That was a nice block,” said Johnson. I heard it, but didn’t see it. He gave me enough time to make the throw. You need your lineman out there.”
In the second half, the Raiders continued their dominance with a 30-yard scoring strike from Johnson to Sam Moriarty and a 19-yard pass to McAfee.
Late in the fourth quarter, CLC penalties allowed the Thunder to score on a 10-yard run from John Washington
CLC ran a total of 90 plays, while Fon du Lac had 49.
“A few of those drives I could tell we where a little winded, but they were more winded than us,” Johnson said. “We used that to our advantage and stayed mentally strong and we did better than them of handling the heat.
“We came in prepared and stayed hydrated and came out with a good result.”
Raiders head coach Greg Medeck was pleased with the performance of his team in their opener.
“I thought we played pretty well in all phases for the first game,” Medeck said. “We have good leadership and we have done an excellent job in our preparation leading up to the first contest, and that showed today when we executed our game plan consistently. There are still great strides we want to take as a team, but a good first start.”
Fond du Lac 0 0 0 6 — 6
Central Lakes 7 13 7 7 — 34
CLC-Athen Ashton 5 run (Jack Corbett kick) 8:46
CLC-Erik McAfee 2 run (kick failed) 13:40
CLC-Steve Wroblewski 9 pass from Andrew Johnson (Corbett kick) 3:26
CLC-Sam Moriarty 30 pass from Johnson (Corbett kick) 10:51
CLC-McAfee 19 pass from Johnson (Corbett kick) 14:15
FDL-John Washington 10 run (conversion failed) 2:59
Rushing: CLC 54-158, FDL 25-124
Passing: CLC 22-36-1-383, FDL 9-24-1-103
Overall: CLC 541, FDL 227
Rushing: CLC Ashton 15-40, Jaron Moor 9-30, Blake Petrich 5-23, Johnson 4-22; FDL Jurasin 10-27, Washington 2-27
Passing: CLC Johnson 20-33-1-372, Patrick White 2-3-0-11; FDL Jurasin 9-22-1-103, Washington 0-2-0-0
Receiving: CLC Moriarty 6-119, Wroblewski 5-98, Kiel 3-64; FDL Martin 3-43, Itabiyi 3-37
Overall: CLC 1-0, Mesabi 0-1. Next Central Lakes vs. Mesabi Community College at Virginia 1:30 p.m. Saturday.