Central Lakes College head coach Greg Medeck’s comment summed up an eventful and exhausting day for the Raiders as they toppled Rochester 31-23 at Findorf Athletic Complex Saturday.
“That was a really good college football game,” Medeck said. “I think a lot of times people are too critical about junior college football.
“It is raw and sometimes it can be undisciplined from an execution stand point as we don’t have the whole year to groom kids. But I thought that was an exciting game today, and I am really proud of our guys.”
Medeck had much to be proud of as the Raiders held off a Yellowjackets team that was ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 17 nationally.
Andrew Johnson threw for 337 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those scoring passes went to Anthony Shelman, who finished with five catches for 161 yards.
CLC’s defense held Rochester to 27 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Sophomore linebacker Jordan Bialke had two interceptions at key moments in the second half and finished with 12 tackles.
“We prepped all week where we have our linebackers spy, but obviously being in the right spot at the right time always helps,” said Bialke.
Dacota Thompson and Cedric Davis recorded sacks for the Raiders.
“We were out there for a long time with those drives against us, but field position was a big deal in this game when you face a team like Rochester,” Bialke said. “It wears on you a lot, but you have to fight through it.”
Jared Hoemberg intercepted Rochester quarterback Earl Young on the first play of the game.
Johnson then connected with Shelman on a 25-yard touchdown pass for a 6-0 lead.
The Raiders got their second touchdown as Johnson and Paul Lake connected for 14 yards. Johnson and Shelman connected on a 34-yard score later in quarter.
Rochester received field goals of 23 and 35 yards from Fafa Asante, and a 94-yard scoring play on a pass from Josh Valla to Evan Bungum.
“What was in mind was that team over there can score in a heart beat, so we have to be prepared to go every single series and every single play,“ Medeck said.
Marion Lambright stepped in front of a Valla pass and returned it 49 yards to put the Raiders ahead 25-13 in the third quarter.
The Yellowjackets responded with a 12-yard Valla touchdown pass to Bungum.
The Raiders’ Johnson-to-Shelman connection answered. Scrambling from the pocket on a second and 8, Johnson threw a strike to Shelman who was coming across the field for a 76-yard touchdown with 13:52 to play.
“We had a good week of practice, and it all started with my receivers getting open and my line giving me time to throw,” Johnson said. “We came out ready, knowing this would be our toughest game of the year. We worked hard in practice and came out and performed.”
Bialke’s interceptions sealed the win for the Raiders.
“It was a big confidence booster for our guys,” Medeck said. “We clearly beat one of the best teams out there which says a lot for our guys about where our program is at. I said earlier that this game would not define us, but it did help clear the path for us.”