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College Football: Raiders ready for opener at Fergus Falls

Central Lakes College Raider running back Elias Arlington runs past two defenders at practice. The Raiders will play at Minnesota State Fergus Falls Saturday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

The 2014 version of the Central Lakes College Raiders will take the field for the first time at Minnesota State Fergus Falls at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, looking to continue the strong tradition of Raiders football under head coach Greg Medeck.

CLC has made two trips to the MCAC championship game the last two years and has emerged from those games 0-2.

With 15 sophomores returning on defense, and an offense which is finding its stride, Medeck is feeling good about the upcoming season.

"We are fortunate this year to have many outstanding young men in this program that exhibit many positive characteristics on and off the football field," he said. "Leadership is certainly a key characteristic that we are looking to develop during our players' experience within our program. I have witnessed many great moments of leadership throughout the past year in the classroom, during study tables, and at off-season workouts."

Last year's team finished 9-2 overall and sophomore quarterback Andrew Johnson earned first-team All-American honors by throwing for 2,040 yards and 19 touchdowns. The battle for his replacement is still ongoing.

The Raiders return running back Athen Ashton and receiver Steve Wroblewski along with Sam Moriarty, who led the Southern Division in receiving last season with 34 receptions and seven touchdowns.

Austin Rucks also returns to lead the offensive line.

"Our offensive production the last two years is a complete credit to our coordinator Neil Linhart," Medeck said. "He does a great job of adapting to the strengths of our personnel and getting the best performance out of each of our athletes on offense. This year is no exception as the offensive unit continues to progress and make great strides early in camp."

A tough defense is a Raiders tradition and Medeck expects more of the same this fall with depth at every position. The defense is led by linebackers Josh Johnson and Josh Mantel who return for their sophomore season. Cedric Davis returns on the defensive line along with Adrian Stone-Caldwell at defensive back.

"I am really impressed by how our second-year players have worked to help our younger guys get up to speed on defense," Medeck said. "It should be a great collaborative effort between our veterans and our first-year players."

Two of Medeck's goals for the season are to develop a sense of team, and also cultivate the ability to trust one another.

"(Last) weekend we had a great opportunity to see our guys engaged with one another off the football field during our service event in partnership with Confidence Learning Center," he said. "I was very impressed by the effort and sense of pride that came out of that experience. We have many great leaders developing rapidly that should help chart the course of this team for the 2014 season."

The Raiders play in the Southern Division with Rochester, Fergus Falls, Ridgewater and Minnesota West. CLC will add a new opponent, Dakota College, to its schedule. The Raiders will travel to Bottineau, N.D., to play the Lumberjacks Sept. 13. Dakota College and North Dakota State College of Science (Wahpeton, N.D.) will play in the Northern Division.

"We actually brought two new programs into the MCAC this season with the addition of Dakota College and North Dakota State College of Science," Medeck said. "Northland Community and Technical College dropped football this year so with the addition of the two North Dakota schools, we have 11 teams in the MCAC."

The journey begins Saturday with the hopeful destination being St. Cloud State for the state championship Nov. 9. But Medeck and his staff aren't overlooking the importance of the regular season.

"Our only focus right now is preparing our team the best we can through camp to be ready for Week One at Minnesota State Fergus Falls," he said. "I like how our camp is going and hope that we continue to progress and make great strides the entire season."

Raiders Roster

(Number, name, position, hometown, year)

2-Auqueith Bradshaw, DB, Daytona Beach, Fla., 2

3-Ajrian Stone-Caldwell, DB, Eden Prairie, 2

4-Trey Blanchard, RB, Bloomington, 1

5-Sam Moriarty, WR, Cold Spring, 2

6-Fafa Asante, DB, Brooklyn Center, 2

7-Barron Taylor, WR, St. Paul, 1

8-Beau Wilhelm, WR, White Lake, Mich., 1

9-Josh Mantel, LB, Mora, 2

10-Jake Faber, QB, Sherburne, 1

11-Elias Arlington, WR, Cottage Grove, 1

12-Riley Atkinson, QB, Annandale, 1

13-Rodney Poe, DB, Madison, Wis., 1

15-Dorbor Cooper, DB, Coon Rapids, 1

17-Brandon Huston, DB, Princeton, 1

19-Tristan Kjellberg, RB, Menahga, 1

20-Josh Lanners, DB, Royalton, 2

21-Dante Kane, DB, St. Thomas, VI, 2

22-Kyle Johanneck, RB, White Bear Lake, 1

23-Tre Deadwiler, DB, Madison, Wis., 2

24-Austin Krumwiede, DB, Trimont, 2

25-Trevis Miller, RB, Madison, Wis., 1

27-Matthew Cluraghty, LB, Milaca, 1

28-Athen Ashton, RB, Farmington, 2

31-Troy Lenz, DB, Brainerd, 1

32-Keiphan Loving, LB, Minneapolis, 2

33-Josh Johnson, LB, St. Paul, 2

34-Jorgen Erickson, LB, Milaca, 1

35-Rich Davis, LB, Brooklyn Center, 1

36-Max Strand, LB, Amherst, Wis., 1

37-Cody Fourre, LB, Albany, 1

40-Logan Novak, DL, Foley, 2

41-Chris Strodtman, LB, Paynesville, 1

43-Dequan Mosley, LB, Spring Lake Park, 2

44-Jack Corbett, LB, Madison, Wis., 2

45-Anthony Valladares, LB, Cottage Grove, 1

47-Jared Adkins, RB, Pine River, 1

50-Chris Laber, DL, Brainerd, 1

51-Connor Burns, DL, Browerville, 1

52-Cedric Davis, DL, White Bear Lake, 2

55-Ben Fischer, OL, Andover, 1

56-Derrick Berry, DL, Somerset, Wis., 1

57-Jake Kassulker, DL, Brainerd, 2

58-Bill Desrocher, DL, Brainerd, 1

59-Jordan Jopke, LB, Madison, Wis., 1

61-Sam Adams, DL, Brainerd, 1

65-Jonny Sandberg, OL, Princeton, 1

66-Phillip Cronin, OL, Minneapolis, 2

67-Matt Krutzig, OL, Albertville, 1

68-Preston Scheuer, OL, Ionia, Mich., 2

69-Elston Rhymer, OL, St. Thomas, VI, 2

70-Kyle Zierden, OL, Albany, 1

71-Austin Rucks, OL, Rice, 2

74-Jose Nieves, OL, St. Thomas, VI, 2

75-Ugel George, DL, St. Thomas, VI, 1

76-Colton Pollock, DL, Big Lake, 1

77-Thomas Condon, OL, Annandale, 2

78-Casey Giesseman, OL, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., 1

79-Curtis Brisk, OL, Pierz, 1

80-Kieran Johnson, WR, St. Paul, 1

81-Von Webster, WR, St. Thomas, VI, 2

83-Trey Donovan, WR, St. Thomas, VI, 1

84-Will Kramer, TE, Pequot Lakes, 1

85-Ayren Hart, TE, Gypsum, Colo., 1

88-Steve Wroblewski, WR, Denver, 2

Raiders coaching staff

Head coach: Greg Medeck (8th year)

Offensive coordinator: Neil Linhart

Offensive line: Shane Jordan

Defensive backs: Jasmon Watkins

Wide receivers: Kevin Votaw

Raiders schedule

8/30, Minnesota State at Fergus Falls 1:30 p.m.

9/6, Rochester 1:30 p.m.

9/13, Dakota College at Bottineau, N.D., noon

9/20, Fond du Lac 1:30 p.m.

9/27, at Vermilion 1:30 p.m.

10/4, Itasca 1:30 p.m.

10/11, at Mesabi 1:30 p.m.

10/18, Ridgewater 1:30 p.m.

10/25, State Quarterfinals

11/1, State Semifinals

11/9, State Championship, St. Cloud State University