WORTHINGTON — On a national scale, the Central Lakes College Raiders 21-20 victory over Minnesota West Saturday was an upset.
Going by state rankings it wasn’t.
Either way, the Raiders survived a mistake-filled Minnesota College Athletic Conference Southern Division game to improve to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the division.
CLC scored 21-straight points to claim a 21-7 lead in the third quarter. But on the Raiders final kickoff, West’s Michael Knight returned the kick 78 yards for a score.
Then in the fourth quarter, West’s Kevin Harris broke the goal line from 3 yards out to setting up the tying extra point. Tyler Smith, who made his first two attempts, failed to make the third, creating the final score.
Jordan Bialke led a Raiders defense that held West to 68 yards rushing and 88 yards passing with 19 total tackles. Nathan Rutz added 11 tackles and Peter Stenger 10.
Matt Mogere and Marion Lambright each intercepted passes and Ryan Cortes recovered a fumble for the Raiders. Stenger, Dilan Gastecki and Dacotah Thompson each got to West quarterback Greg Gainey once.
After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, Beau Bellmore burst through for a 4-yard touchdown run to tie the score.
Carson Wessinger caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Johnson and Blake Petrich scored CLC’s final touchdown on a 6-yard run.
Bellmore led the Raiders’ ground game with 61 yards and Paul Lake caught three passes for 55 yards.
CLC managed the victory despite throwing three interceptions and fumbling once.
CLC held the ball for five more minutes as they ran off 18 more plays for 100 more yards of total offense.
West was ranked 19th in the NJCAA Division III national polls, with the Raiders receiving votes.
In the state rankings, the Raiders are ranked second behind Ridgewater and West was ranked fourth.
Central Lakes 7 0 14 0 — 21
Minnesota West 7 0 7 6 — 20
MW-Rex Johnson 5 pass from Greg Gainey (Tyler Smith kick)
CLC-Beau Bellmore 4 run (Andrew Leonhardt kick)
CLC-Carson Wessinger 25 pass from Andrew Johnson (Leonhardt kick)
CLC-Blake Petrich 6 run (Leonhardt kick)
MW-Michael Knight 78 kickoff return (Smith kick)
MW-Kevin Harris 3 run (kick failed)
Rushes-yards: CLC 40-107, MW 31-68
Pass comp-att-int-yds: CLC 15-36-3-148, MW 9-27-2-88
Total offense: CLC 76-255, MW 58-156
Rushing: CLC-Sean Nokken 8-40, Beau Bellmore 20-61, Andrew Johnson 7-(-6), Blake Petrich 4-12
Passing: CLC-Johnson 15-36-148
Receiving: CLC-Matthew Scott 4-49, Paul Lake 3-55, Carson Wesinger 1-25, Blake Petrich 2-14, Beau Bellmore 3-18, Michael Sparish 1-8, Sean Nokken 1-(-21)
Conference: CLC 2-0. Overall: CLC 4-1. Next: Central Lakes host Vermilion 2 p.m. Saturday.