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College Football: Late surge not enough for Raiders

Central lakes College finished the regular season by hosting Itsaca.

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Central Lakes College's Vito Richards runs up the field after making an interception against Itasca Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Findorff Athletic Complex in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Central Lakes quarterback Matt Torres threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns, but the Raiders were held scoreless through the first three and fell to Itasca 33-14 in an MCAC matchup Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Findorff Athletic Complex.

With the loss, the Raiders closed out their home schedule with a 1-3 record and finished 3-5 overall. The Vikings climbed to 7-1 -- a program record. Both teams will participate in the MCAC state playoffs, starting next week.

CLC’s defense, led by Cole Hiltner’s two and a half sacks and Vito Richards interception, held the high-powered Vikings offense to 180 yards and only 20 yards rushing.

Raiders Football vs Itasca Gallery

“The scoreboard isn’t an indicator of our defense’s effort or execution today,” Raiders head coach Greg Medeck said. “They played outstanding. We always preach about consistency. The one thing this defense has done is a tremendous job of scouting and their understanding of the game and it is athlete-driven. They are on top of their mental preparation and desire almost as much as the physical preparation. They do a great job in the film room and it pays dividends for us because they are reading their keys and in the right spot.”

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But the Raiders’ offense struggled. Starting quarterback Matt Torres, returning from a two-game absence because of injury, threw five interceptions. The Raiders led the Vikings by a 16-12 margin in the category of first downs, but eight of those first downs came on penalties.

“We felt like we put together a game plan that would be successful that played to the strengths of our offensive identity and it just didn’t come together today,” Medeck said. “We missed a few blocks and missed a few passes and they did a good job of defending the run. We missed the key plays when we needed and that is football.”

The Vikings led 20-0 at the half, but the Raiders cut the margin to 12 on two Torres touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. CLC gained a total of 212 yards, but only 13 on the ground.

Treon Gardner and the Vikings offense started its first scoring drive on the CLC 23. On the first play, Gardner found Marquel Pittman on a 23-yard pass and the Vikings led 6-0.

In the second quarter, the Vikings added a 24-yard touchdown pass from Gardner to Colton Bradford. With under six minutes to go in the half, the Vikings got to backup punter Jakob Corrow for a punt block. Itasca’s Malik Wilson picked up the ball and scampered 41 yards to give Itasca a 20-0 halftime lead.

Itasca tacked on another touchdown to lead 26-0 in the fourth quarter. With a 26-point lead, the Vikings continued to throw the football looking for more points. Itasca scored 69 and 64 points in its last two games and kept its foot on the gas, but the Raiders held tough.

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Torres connected with Tucker Schultz on a 14-yard scoring pass with 13:29 remaining and found Caleb Jones on a 59-yard scoring pass at 5:54 of the fourth to cut the Vikings lead to 26-14. Itasca finished the scoring on an 8-yard run by Chris Beard.

It was the second meeting of the season for the two teams. Itasca won the season-opener 19-8 Aug. 28.

The MCAC state playoff brackets will be announced during the week. The Raiders will likely be on the road for the quarterfinal round.

“We have been decimated by injuries and it always makes it challenging to execute your game plan when you are rotating guys in that we weren’t expecting to play, but we are doing our best and we’ve got good kids who are doing everything they are being asked to do and I am proud of them,” Medeck said.


Itasca 6 14 6 7 - 33
Central Lakes 0 0 0 14 - 14

First quarter
ICC–Marquel Pittman 23 pass from Treon Gardner (kick failed) 13:03
Second quarter
ICC–Colton Bradford 24 pass from Gardner (Marko Skarica kick) 11:08
ICC–Malik Wilson 41 return of blocked punt (Skarica kick) 5:50
Third quarter
ICC–Willam Carswell 4 pass from Gardner (kick failed) 4:25
Fourth quarter
CLC–Tucker Schultz 14 pass from Matt Torres (Vincente Torres kick) 13:29
CLC–Caleb Jones 59 pass from Torres (Vincente Torres kick) 5:54
ICC–Chris Beard 8 run (Skarica kick) 2:51
Team statistics
Rushes-yards: CLC 29-13; ICC 32-20
Pass comp-att-int-yds: CLC 15-48-5-199; ICC 13-33-1-160
Total offense: CLC 212; ICC 180

Individual leaders
Rushing: CLC–Anthony Richmond 13-25, Roman Lee 8-13, Daryel Bell 2-5; ICC–Mike Bond 9-18
Passing: CLC–Matt Torres 10-37-4-146, Landon Jones 4-10-1-45, Jakob Corrow 1-1-0-8; ICC–Teon Gardner 13-32-1-160
Receiving: CLC–Caleb Jones 4-78, Tucker Schultz 3-55, Paul Meyer 2-31, Ethan Guerra 3-19, Jake Moe 2-16, Roman Lee 1-0; ICC–William Carswell 3-40
Overall: CLC 3-5. Next: CLC at TBD, MCAC State Quarterfinals, Sunday, Oct 24.

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Central Lakes College's Caleb Jones runs with the ball against Itasca Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Findorff Athletic Complex in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

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