A dominant defense and Beau Bellmore’s running propelled the Central Lakes College Raiders to a 28-14 victory Saturday over Mesabi Range in the Raiders’ home opener.
Bellmore rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries, while the Raiders’ defense didn’t allow a point and held the Norse to 70 yards of offense.
The pressure from CLC’s defensive line forced quarterback DeMarco Billups into an 8-of-21 passing day for just 43 yards. The defense also limited Mesabi to 27 yards on 28 carries.
“Last week, our defense pitched 40 minutes of shut out football and then we gave up 30 points in the last 20 minutes,” Raiders head coach Greg Medeck said. “That was in our mindset the whole week of preparation is that we are going to be ready to go 60 minutes and we did that today. The scoreboard says 14, but our defense pitched a shut out today.”
An 80-yard kickoff return by Mesabi’s Chevelle Buie to start the game, and a 76-yard interception return by Dakari Lane in the fourth quarter were the highlights for The Norse.
On the Raiders’ first offensive possession, they mounted a 12-play, four-minute drive that was capped off by a 1-yard sneak from quarterback Andrew Johnson to tie the score at seven.
After a Mesabi three-and-out, the Raiders took the lead on a 6-yard scamper from Bellmore.
“We came into this season with three outstanding running backs, Bellmore, Beau Stough and Taz Seibert and then we lose both Stough and Seibert in the first game last week,” said Medeck. “We knew that a lot of that load fell on Bellmore’s shoulders and he answered that today. We are really proud of him and hope that he can carry a large part of our offense this year.’
The second quarter had the same script as Johnson scored on a 1-yard burst at the 8:52 mark. Bellmore scored his second touchdown with a 24-yard dash with 1:10 left in the half.
“I was kind of expecting it after Taz went down,” Bellmore said of his 30 carry day. “We got a couple of running backs including Sean (Nokken) and that helped. The heat seemed to have a little effect in the third quarter, but then in the fourth when we needed to step up we did.”
In the second half, Mesabi went three-and-out four consecutive times until it was able to put three first downs together on its second to the last drive. The Raiders, however, mounted a goal line stand on four consecutive plays inside the 10.
“For the first time we have three captains on our defense in Peter Stenger, Jordan Bialke, and Jared Hoemberg. We are starting 10 sophomores so they should be accustomed to what we are doing,” Medeck said. “Everyone of those guys is taking on a leadership role. Celestino White was all over their quarterback and had a great pass rush and Matt Mogere and Jared controlled everything that is going on in the back half. It’s just a team effort.”
Mesabi Range 7 0 0 7 — 14
Central Lakes 14 14 0 0 — 28
MR — Chevelle Buie 80 kick return (James Burrows kick) 14:44
CLC — Andrew Johnson 2 run (Andrew Leonhardt kick) 10:41
CLC — Beau Bellmore 6 run (Leonhardt kick) 3:26
CLC — Johnson 1 run (Leonhardt kick) 8:52
CLC — Bellmore 24 run (Leonhardt kick) 1:10
MR — Dakari Lane 76 interception return (Burrows kick) 9:35
Rushing: MR 28-27, CLC 52-248
Pass comp-att-int-yds: MR 8-21-0-43, CLC 11-21-2-104
Total offense: MR 49-70, CLC 73-352
Rushing: MR-DeMarco Billups 16-10; CLC-Beau Bellmore 30-150, Logan Baker 6-37, Josh Green 2-17, Andrew Johnson 12- (-11), Anthony Shelman 1-7
Passing: MR-Billups 8-21-0-43; CLC-Andrew Johnson 10-21-2-104,
Receiving: MR-Brandon Johnson 4-39; CLC-Anthony Shelman 5-65, Steven Wroblewski 2-25, Beau Bellmore 2-3, Paul Lake 1-11
Overall: CLC 1-1. Next: Central Lakes at Itasca 1:30 p.m. Saturday.