If defense wins championships then the Central Lakes College football team looks to be well on its way.
Led by a swarming defense that produced six turnovers and 7.5 sacks, the South Division-leading Raiders defeated MSCTC-Fergus Falls 21-7 Saturday to capture a homecoming victory and improve their record to 6-0.
Coming off of an emotional, if not program-affirming win against perennial power Rochester last weekend, the Raiders, who boasted the top offense and defense in the South Division, were matched up with the Spartans, ranked last in the division on both sides of the ball.
Despite this, MSCTC took advantage of two early Raider turnovers and prime field position to take a 7-0 lead into the second quarter.
Central Lakes College's Dennis Taute rushed against the Fergus Falls Spartans on Saturday. The Raiders defeated the Spartans 21-7, improving their record to 6-0.
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"We came off such an emotional win last week," Raider coach Greg Medeck said. "You look at stats and you look at records and I hate to say, but we weren't as prepared as we probably should have been and didn't come out with the right mindset to compete the way we probably should have.
"Coming into the game I was worried about that and we tried to make sure that was something we knew about and something we weren't going to allow to happen to us. But we were so pumped up last week and we had such a great crowd and a great atmosphere and such a historical win and to come back and try to follow that up the next week was probably a little too much for us early on."
Central Lakes knotted the game 7-7 early in the second quarter, turning a Dusty Parker interception into seven points. Quarterback Mike Beehler found his brother, Kevin, in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass.
After another CLC defensive stand, Beehler highlighted a 48-yard scoring drive with a 5-yard scamper for a 14-7 lead.
The Raiders collected two more first-half interceptions from Lawson Starr and Terrell Ayers, but failed to capitalize.
Central Lakes set the second-half tone by stopping the Spartans on fourt- and-one on the first drive.
Several plays later Beehler broke a 30-yard run to record his second rushing touchdown.
Beehler threw for 168 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on 18-of-32 passing and rushed for 44 yards and two scores on 10 carries.
The defense then forced three more turnovers, with Parker picking off his second and Karl Hunt getting another pick. Ayers added a fumble recovery.
"From practice we knew what they were going to do," Parker said of his defense's performance. "We knew when they were going to run and when they were going to pass. From the splits of the receivers we could just tell right away and were ready for whatever they were about to do."
Central Lakes also quelled any MSCTC attempt at a comeback with continual quarterback pressure.
The Raider's defense allowed the Spartans 198 total yards and just 43 rushing yards.
"The defense did have a nice game," Medeck said. They took advantage of a lot of things that were there for them. They had a lot of nice plays and a lot of big plays. We had a number of interceptions and put a lot of pressure on the quarterback and I don't think they (MSCTC) ran very well on us. Fergus Falls had some good athletes and I think we contained them overall."
Tthe undefeated Raiders travel to Worthington to take on Minnesota West next weekend.
"We had a couple of home games," Medeck said. "Now we have to get back on the road and face a Minnesota West team who will be 5-1 and are setting up for their own playoff run. It is always a tough place to go down to and it is a long trip, so it is going to be a challenging week for us."
MSCTC-FF 7 0 0 0 - 7
Central Lakes 0 14 7 0 - 21
FF-Trent Graves 1 yard run 6:48 (kick good)
CLC-Kevin Beehler 5 yard pass from Mike Beehler 11:56 (Josh Ledin kick good)
CLC-Mike Beehler 5 yard run (Ledin kick good)
CLC-Mike Beehler 30 yard run (Ledin kick good)
Rushes-yards: CLC 42-170, FF 43
Pass comp-att-int-yards: CLC 18-32-2-169, FF 155
Total offense: CLC 339, FF 198
Rushing: CLC Dennis Taute 17-61, Mike Beehler 10-44, Alex Leach 9-27, Alex Steinemann 6-38
Passing: Mike Beehler 18-32-2-169
Receiving: Justin Novak 7-78, Tim Phonvidone 5-34, Kevin Beehler 2-15, Leach 2-1, Tyler Kitzman 1-40, Dustin Kramer 1-1
Division: 2-0. Overall: 6-0. Next: Central Lakes against Minnesota West at Worthington Saturday 2:30 p.m.
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