When the Vermilion Ironmen got a stiff south wind at their backs in the fourth quarter it put the wind back in their sails.
Trailing 12-7 and the wind gusting at more than 25 mph the Ironmen scored 22 points in a span of 4 1/2 minutes in the final quarter for a 29-12 victory. Vermilion's defense put its offense in position to win in the fourth quarter by recovering a Raider fumble, recording a safety and intercepting two CLC passes.
Vermilion's defense subdued the Raiders in the second half, allowing just four first downs and 21 total yards. In all the Raiders managed just 157 yards and 11 first downs.
"What's been happening the last two weeks is our defense has been saving us and saving us," Vermilion coach Keith Turner said. "It's about time our offense steps up and does something. Luckily, we got a couple catches at the end of the game, we got a few breaks and a couple scores. It was our defense that put us in position to do that."
The first break created by Vermilion's defense occurred just 2:26 into the last About 1 1/2 minutes later a CLC fumble was picked up by Raiders wide receiver Justin Vold but he was tackled in the end zone for a safety and a 16-12 Vermilion lead.
On the ensuing free kick the Raiders' Matt Yde punted into the wind and Vermilion scored five plays later on a 2-yard run by Nunn. The kick by Mike Martello put the Ironmen up 23-12.
On the Raiders' subsequent possession Yde's first-down pass was intercepted by Jake Brekken and returned 26 yards to the CLC 14. On the next play Nunn hit Roy Madry for a 14-yard touchdown and the final score with 4:48 left.
The Raiders' defense played admirably until the final quarter when Vermilion started three of its five possessions in CLC territory. CLC finished with three interceptions (by defensive back Trevor Gross and linebackers Jake Fredrickson and John Schultz) and two fumble recoveries (by linebacker Mike Brower and wingback Trevor Schwirtz).
"The defense basically kept us in the game the whole game," Schwirtz said. "We put the offense in position to score. They couldn't put it in when it came down to the red zone."
The Raiders capitalized on one of two opportunities following Vermilion turnovers.
Gross' interception and 15-yard return to the Vermilion 49 led to the Raiders' second score, a 1-yard plunge by running back Matt Peterson with 58 seconds left in the first half.
Schwirtz's recovery of a fumbled Vermilion punt in the third quarter gave CLC first and goal at the 7. Two plays later the Ironmen recovered a CLC fumble.
Raiders head coach Mike Degen said defense put CLC in position to win in the fourth quarter.
"It's not that our defense played error-free ball," Degen said. "Some things happened in the fourth quarter that shouldn't happen. In the meantime (Vermilion) should not have been in position for that.
"No one is to blame. It's a team effort. Both sides (of the ball) have to play equally well."
Late in the first quarter the Raiders opened the scoring when Yde found Vold open in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown.
Vermilion went ahead 7-6 in the second quarter when William Kladek broke through to block a Yde punt, Bryan Jennings scooped it up and ran 21 yards for a score.
Vermilion 0 7 0 22 -- 29
Central Lakes 6 6 0 0 -- 12
CLC-Justin Vold 23 pass from Matt Yde (kick fails) 3:14
V-Bryan Jennings 21 blocked punt return (Larry Hraben kick) 8:49
CLC-Matt Peterson 1 run (pass fails) :58
V-Andre Mixon 1 pass from Mike Nunn (Hraben kick) 9:11
V-Safety, Vold tackled in end zone, 7:31
V-Nunn 2 run (Mike Martello kick) 5:16
V-Roy Madry 14 pass from Nunn (kick fails) 4:48
First downs -- V 19, CLC 11
Rushes-yards -- V 44-154, CLC 42-108
Pass comp-att-int--yds -- V 14-29-3-182, CLC 6-16-2-49
Total offense -- V 336, CLC 157
Punts-avg -- V 2-22.5, CLC 8-27.1
Fumbles-lost -- V 4-2, CLC 5-3
Penalties-yds lost -- V 4-30, CLC 6-35
Rushing -- V-Marshall Little 22-94, Joe Erickson 16-40, Nunn 4-24; CLC-Yde 11-10, Peterson 18-59, Scott Imgrund 8-30, Nick O'Reilly 1-2, No. Jason Smalls 4-7
Passing -- V-Mike Haehn 7-15-1-69, Mike Nunn 7-14-1-113; Joel Polzin 0-1-1-0; CLC-Yde 6-16-2-49
Receiving -- V-Dustin Nitek 2-12, Ernest Stringfellow 5-91, Jason Hunt 4-25, Mixon 2-40, Madry 1-14; CLC-Matt Steffen 1-10, Justin Vold 1-23, Trevor Schwirtz 2-18, Peterson 2-(-2)
Overall -- V 2-1, CLC 1-2. Next game -- CLC vs. Northland at Thief River Falls 1:30 p.m. Sept. 16.
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