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College Football: Raiders done in by turnovers and penalties in state championship loss

ST. CLOUD -- The Central Lakes Raiders and Rochester Yellowjackets met for the fifth time in the last six years in the MCAC state championship game on the campus of St. Cloud State.

Raiders Tre Deadwiler (left), and Sam Moriarty (right) support Josh Lanners at the awards presentation Sunday after Lanners was injured late in the game against the Rochester Community and Technical College Yellow Jackets at St. Cloud State Husky Stadium. The trio was watching the Rochester players celebrate after winning the MCAC Championship football game 40-21 Sunday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
Raiders Tre Deadwiler (left), and Sam Moriarty (right) support Josh Lanners at the awards presentation Sunday after Lanners was injured late in the game against the Rochester Community and Technical College Yellow Jackets at St. Cloud State Husky Stadium. The trio was watching the Rochester players celebrate after winning the MCAC Championship football game 40-21 Sunday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

ST. CLOUD - The Central Lakes Raiders and Rochester Yellowjackets met for the fifth time in the last six years in the MCAC state championship game on the campus of St. Cloud State.

The two teams combined for over 900 yards of offense and 61 points. One would have surmised that the game came down to the last possession with the championship on the line.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, their last offensive possession did not have any impact on the score. What did have an impact were six interceptions by the Yellowjackets, and 19 penalties for the Raiders as CLC fell to Rochester 40-21, and saw their perfect season come to an end.

Quarterback Jake Faber ended a fantastic year by putting up big numbers as he threw 67 times, completing 36 passes for 440 yards and three touchdown scores to Kieran Johnson. Sam Moriarty led the receivers with 14 catches for 145 yards.

Athen Ashton rushed for 58 yards on 14 carries, and the Raiders totaled 505 yards of offense. Unfortunately Faber was intercepted six times, CLC had one punt blocked which led to a touchdown, and also had a mishandled punt in the end zone for a two point safety.

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One series of plays can sum up the day for CLC. Trailing 16-14 in the second quarter, Rochester had a first down at their 31 yard line. Nick Rooney threw a ball over the middle of the field which bounced off of Camren Dearing. Raiders' linebacker Josh Mantel appeared to make the diving interception. On the same play CLC was whistled for a personal foul due to a player's helmet being off. Mantel was ruled not to have made the catch and the Yellowjackets kept possession and scored six plays later to make the score 23-14.

While the Raiders were able to pile up offensive numbers and drive into Rochester territory, the result to often was an interception or a turnover on downs.

"There were a lot of explosive plays that we weren't able to contain, and we weren't able to sustain anything offensively. It just didn't go our way today," said head coach Greg Medeck.

On the positive side of things, Faber and Johnson were able to connect for three scores. The first one came on a 35 yard pass with 2:07 left in the first quarter and tied the score at seven.

The second one came at 5:01 of the second quarter on a 33 yard strike and it cut the lead to 16-14.

The last scoring play for the Raiders came in the fourth quarter with 7:35 left. Johnson caught a 30 yard pass from Faber and it made the score 33-21.

One of the other areas that really hurt CLC in the loss was the punting game which had been solid all season long. In the second quarter, Rochester broke through to block Sam Moriarty's punt at the Raiders 27 yard line. Two plays later, a throw from Rooney to Patrick Bolton made the score 14-7.

On the following series, the Raiders found themselves punting from their end zone. Moriarty was not able to handle the snap cleanly and ended up falling on the ball in the end zone for a Rochester safety to make the score 16-7 in favor of Rochester.

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It was just that kind of day for CLC, but Medeck complimented his squad for their hard work during a very enjoyable season.

"It was a heck of an experience for these guys," he said. "They were tremendous and I wouldn't have it any other way. It is hard to lose the last football game of the year, but I wouldn't trade my guys for anybody in the world."

Rochester 7 19 7 7 - 40

Central Lakes 7 7 0 7 - 21

First quarter

RCTC - Marley Allison 17 pass from Nick Rooney (Ruan Albuquerque kick) 4:24

CLC - Kieran Johnson 35 pass from Jake Faber (Fafa Asante kick) 2:07

Second quarter

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RCTC - Patrick Bolton 24 pass from Rooney (Albuquerque kick) 11:27

RCTC - Rochester recovers fumbled put in the end zone for safety 10:16

CLC - Johnson 33 pass from Faber (Asante kick) 5:01

RCTC - Bolton 24 pass from Rooney (Albuquerque kick)2:47

RCTC - Albuquerque 48 field goal :01

Third quarter

RCTC - Allison 24 pass from Rooney (Albuquerque kick) :24

Fourth quarter

CLC - Johnson 30 pass from Faber (Asante kick) 7:35

RCTC - Virgil Hammond 11 run (Albuquerque kick) 2:38

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: CLC 21-65, R 43-194

Pass comp-att-int-yds: CLC 36-67-6-440, R 20-31-0-221

Total offense: CLC 505, R 415

Individual leaders

Rushing: CLC- Athen Ashton 14-58, Jake Faber 2-5, Trey Blanchard 2-2; R-Virgil Hammond 16-43, Lyle Jennings 14-60

Passing: CLC- Faber 36-67-6-440; R-Nick Rooney 20-31-0-231

Receiving: CLC- Sam Moriarty 14-145, Kieran Johnson 9-151, Steve Wroblewski 7-86, Elias Arlington 3-19, Beau Wilhelm 4-46, Blanchard 1-7 ; R-Marley Allison 6-80, Patrick Bolton 4-53,

Overall: CLC 10-1; Roch 8-3

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