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College Football: Raiders capture state championship

ST. CLOUD--Sunday afternoon was a time for players to step up with big plays as the Central Lakes Raiders defeated North Dakota State College of Science 36-28 on the campus of St. Cloud State University Sunday afternoon to win the MCAC State Cham...

Central Lakes College’s Chidozie Mbah (29 left), Somowoi Harris (30), Barry Moreland (20), Maurice Willis and Tykeise Johnson celebrate Sunday after winning the MCAC State Championship against North Dakota State College of Science at St. Cloud State University. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video
Central Lakes College’s Chidozie Mbah (29 left), Somowoi Harris (30), Barry Moreland (20), Maurice Willis and Tykeise Johnson celebrate Sunday after winning the MCAC State Championship against North Dakota State College of Science at St. Cloud State University. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video

ST. CLOUD-Sunday afternoon was a time for players to step up with big plays as the Central Lakes Raiders defeated North Dakota State College of Science 36-28 on the campus of St. Cloud State University Sunday afternoon to win the MCAC State Championship, the second one for the Raiders.

There was running back Greg Lewis, getting the bulk of the rushing load with injured teammate Teddy Sherva not being able to play, rushing for 138 yards on 30 carries with three touchdowns.

There was quarterback Mike Tveitbakk throwing for 201 yards and two scoring passes and no turnovers, whose last past may have been the most important as it iced the game.

There was punter Caleb Glennon hitting five punts on a windy day to give the Wildcats poor field position, and Antoine Akundu, hitting a 23-yard field goal, and getting three PAT's.

There was the bend but not break Raiders defense, holding the potent NDSCS attack to just seven points in the first half, and coming up big in the second half with the game on the line.

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As the players got together first to dowse the coaches with gatorade at the end of the game, and then get together for photos at mid-field, it was truly a team effort that went into the win.

"I have way more emotions than thoughts to be honest with you," said head coach Greg Medeck of his team. "This is a special group that did wonderful things all year long, but what they probably did best was grow together. Any time you put together a new group it can present challenges, but they just continued to grow, and we had a heck of a lot of fun this year."

Coming into the game the Raiders knew they were facing a tough run defense that had given up just over 400 yards on the ground for the year, but they were determined to get the running game going, and it paid off as Lewis got the first score of the game on a 6-yard burst late in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. He got his second one on a 1-yard plunge in the second quarter to give the Raiders a 13-7 lead at the half.

"There was a lot of emphasis on controlling the game running the ball," said Lewis. "All week I was telling my teammates that they (NDSCS) hadn't played us yet, and that was the mentality we took and it showed today."

In the second half, quarterback Mike Tveitbakk got things going through the air with a scoring pass to Daryl Waindim to give CLC a 19-7 lead. He connected with Mustaful Strong in the fourth quarter to widen the lead to 29-21 after the Wildcats had made it a 22-21 contest late in the third quarter..

Lewis then gave the Raiders their final touchdown with a 1-yard run with five minutes left in the game to make it 36-21.

"The run was everything," said Medeck. "We were going to commit to running the ball against the best run defense in the league. That was our game plan to run the ball and make good selective throws and we executed that with an offensive line that is so tremendous and don't get enough credit. And Mike Tveitbakk managed the game and won us a championship."

Tveitbakk's last pass of the day came on the final play as he connected with Strong on a 15-yard pass on fourth-and-ten with the Raiders able to run the game clock out after the pass to end the game.

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The defense stood tall, giving up just 134 total yards on the ground, key stops in the second half. They forced a Wildcat fumble on the opening play of the second half that was turned into a Raider touchdown, and forced a punt early in the fourth quarter with CLC leading 29-21. The Raiders took that punt and started the drive that ended with Lewis last touchdown of the day to put the game out of reach.

"The best defense in the conference hands down with tremendous leaders who knew what they needed to do and they played their best game today," Medeck said. "Credit goes to Jasmon Watkins, defensive coordinator, who did a phenomenal job."

Lewis summed up what the game meant to the players.

"We had this on our goal list at the beginning of the season and now we get to check that off the list," he said.

NDSCS 0 7 14 7-28

CLC 7 6 9 14-36

First quarter

C-Greg Lewis 6 run (Antoine Akundu kick) 1:27

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Second quarter

N-Shawn Brown 29 pass from Malik Gailand (Lucas Uransel kick) 9:48

C-Lewis 1 run (kick blocked) 4:14

Third quarter

C-Daryl Waindim 13 pass from Mike Tveitbakk (conversion failed) 14:00

N-Jordin Noggin 20 pass from Nick D'Aquisto (Uransel kick) 6:07

C-Akundu 23 field goal 3:57

N-Kezelee Flomo 2 run (Uransel kick) 2:39

Fourth quarter

C-Mustaful Strong 6 pass from Tveitbakk (Akundu kick) 14:46

C-Lewis 1 run (Akundu kick) 8:38

N-Flomo 2 run (Uransel kick) 5:00

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: CLC 48-183, NDSCS 26-134

Pass comp-att-int-yds: CLC 14-23-0-201, NDSCS 16-29-0-264

Total offense: CLC 384, NDSCS 398

Individual leaders

Rushing: CLC-Greg Lewis 30-138, Kejuon Burton 9-25, Mike Tveitbakk 7-9, Cody Rau 2-11; NDSCS-Rudolph Zleh 10-64

Passing: CLC-Mike Tveitbakk 14-23-0-201; NDSCS-Nick D'Aquisto 10-20-0-148, Malik Gailard 6-9-0-116

Receiving: CLC-Mustaful Strong 4-46, Daryl Waindim 3-95, Cody Rau 3-22, Yanek Dinga 2-27, Blake Gerads 1-5; NDSCS-Damario Armstrong 3-103

Overall: CLC 11-0.

Related Topics: COLLEGE FOOTBALL
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