The Central Lakes College Raiders lived up to their 20th ranking in the NJCAA poll as they dispatched the Minnesota West Blue Jays 49-14 behind a diversified offense and brilliant defense on a rainy homecoming Saturday afternoon.
Averey Duncan highlighted the offensive performance with three touchdown catches while Frank Mays and the defense shut down the Blue Jays’ running game and intercepted three passes.
“We played outstanding defensively and accomplished the goals we set out to do,” said CLC head coach Greg Medeck. “Offensively, we sputtered a little because of turnovers. I don't know if it was the weather and a wet ball for (quarterback) Carson (Wessinger), but he settled down, we got things in place and moving like they should and we were able to put a lot of points on the board.”
One of Medeck's goals was to play a complete game.
“We have had a couple of times where we had a nice first half, but then stayed back on our heels a bit, but we were able to extend things today in the second half,” he said. “We wanted to see our team continue to execute in the second half and I think we did that today.
“I think we did really well with our discipline. We had a problem with that a while back, but that, and getting in the right position at the right time, was a big help for us.”
Mays thought the defense maintained its discipline.
"We had a lot of problems with that a while back," he said. “But discipline and getting in the right spot at the right time was a big help for us.”
Mays showed leadership on the sidelines by letting teammates know when things were getting a little out of hand.
“We've had a couple of times in the past where that has happened, and we just need to settle down,” he said. “We have a big lead and we don't have to do that extra stuff."
Minnesota West totaled 223 yards but only 193 on the ground. CLC pressured Blue Jays quarterback Teddy Joseph all day and he finished 11 for 28 with three interceptions.
Duncan was the Raiders’ offensive star as he scored on throws of 35, 13 and 10 yards from Wessinger. Sean Nokken scored on a 63-yard punt return, and the defense added a 43-yard interception return for a TD from Dan Ngandali.
After Ngandali's return opened the scoring, CLC’s offense responded with a first-quarter drive that finished with a 1-yard scoring plunge by Taz Seibert for a 14-0 lead.
Minnesota West’s Mychal Sheridan scored on a 1-yard run but the Raiders blocked the extra point and Matt Mogere returned it for two points and a 16-6 lead.
Wessinger struggled with inconsistency early, and threw three interceptions, but he and Duncan connected on their first two scoring connections to give the Raiders a 28-6 halftime lead.
Wessinger finished 13-23 with three touchdown passes.
CLC put the game away in the second half with three touchdowns. Duncan scored his final touchdown in the third quarter and finished with six catches for 112 yards. Logan Baker also got into the end zone with a 5-yard run.
Balance was one of the keys for the Raiders’ offense. CLC had 42 rushing attempts and 25 passing. CLC went to the running game more in the fourth quarter with a large lead. Medeck credited offensive coordinator Carl Larson for his game plan.
"We are a balanced team and that is what you need to be successful and that is all Carl Larson, my offensive coordinator, with his scheming and game planning," Medeck said. "He does a fantastic job. My only input is that I tell Carl that we want to be balanced and not rely on the run or pass.
“You need to do multiple things to be successful a the end of the season and he does a good job of game planning that, and we have great athletes at all positions. We are balanced and that is great for our program.”
The Raiders have two games before the playoffs. Mays believes his team his heading in the right direction.
"I think we just need to keep moving forward," he said. "A lot of times we take a step back, depending on who we play against. But if we keep moving forward like we have the past three or four games, we will have a very successful season.”
Minnesota West 6 0 0 8 — 14
Central Lakes 16 12 7 14 — 49
CLC: Dan Ngandali 46 interception return (Ryan Tri kick) 13:44
CLC: Taz Seibert 1 run (Tri kick) 5:46
MW: Mychal Sheridan 1 run (kick blocked) 3:19
CLC: Matt Mogere 97 return of blocked PAT attempt 3:19
CLC: Averey Duncan 35 pass from Carson Wessinger (conversion failed) 2:46
CLC: Duncan 13 pass from Wessinger (kick failed) :51
CLC: Duncan 10 pass from Wessinger (Gabe Eppert kick) 8:00
CLC: Logan Baker 5 run (Eppert kick) 13:22
CLC: Sean Nokken 63 punt return (Eppert kick) 11:07
MW: Kevin Harris 2 run (Brett Doeden from Teddy Joseph) 9:00
Rushes-yards: MW 37-93, CLC 42-170
Pass comp-att-int-yards: MW 11-28-3-130, CLC 14-25-3-174
Total offense: MW 223, CLC 344
Rushing: MW, Casey McCabe 8-53, Cleo Miller 5-27, Mychal Sheridan 4-8, Richie Hacraft 3-13, Teddy Joseph 12-(4), Demetrius Nealy 2-7.; CLC, Aaron White 10-42, Wessinger 6-44, Taz Seibert 8-336, Jordan Hayes 6-24, Logan Baker 5-27, Sean Nokken 2-1, AJ Johnstone 4-(3)
Passing: MW, Joseph 11-28-3-138; CLC, Wessinger 14-24-3-149, Jared Hoemberg 1-1-0-25, Skyler Shearer 0-1-0-0
Receiving: MW, Brett Doeden 8-108, James Wright 2-16, Haycraft 1-(4); CLC, Duncan 6-112, Hayes 3-10, 3 2-32, Maurice Baldwin 1-7, Baker 2-9, Seibert 1-4