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College Football: Raiders down Thunder to advance to semis

It took a defensive stop on the final Fond du Lac drive for the Central Lakes College Raiders to open the regular season with a 35-32 victory - CLC's closest game of the season.

Raiders Jake Kassulker and Logan Novak slam Fond du Lac Quarterback Travis Brown during their quarterfinal game Saturday in Brainerd. The Raiders win 48-10 to advance to the state semi-final game in Brainerd Saturday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
Raiders Jake Kassulker and Logan Novak slam Fond du Lac Quarterback Travis Brown during their quarterfinal game Saturday in Brainerd. The Raiders win 48-10 to advance to the state semi-final game in Brainerd Saturday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

It took a defensive stop on the final Fond du Lac drive for the Central Lakes College Raiders to open the regular season with a 35-32 victory - CLC's closest game of the season.

CLC opened the postseason in less dramatic fashion as it beat Fond du Lack 48-10 Saturday in the state quarterfinals at wind swept Findorff Field.

With the win, CLC improves to 9-0 and will host the state semifinals Nov. 1 against the winner of the Minnesota State Fergus Falls/Minnesota West game.

"We knew that they gave us challenges last time they were here," said Raiders head coach Greg Medeck. "There were other variables included in that with the weather and everything else. We persevered in that game and I think that was really a launching pad to the rest of our season in regards to our resiliency and being able to execute at a high level."

The Raiders' defense turned two interceptions into touchdowns, and Jake Faber threw for two scores and ran for another one, while completing 11 of 23 passes for 181 yards. Athen Ashton led the rushing attack with 24 rushes for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

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The Thunder gained just 47 yards of offense on the ground and 122 through the air. Thunder Quarterback Travis Brown threw two interceptions, and was sacked seven times, including two by Jake Kassulker.

With a strong north to south wind blowing, field position was the key, and CLC got the wind at their back in the first quarter and made the most of it with two scores. Faber scored on a one-yard run and Ashton rushed for 29 yards to hand CLC a 14-0 lead.

Ayren Hart caught a 13-yard pass from Faber in the second quarter and the Raiders led 21-0. However, the Thunder countered with a touchdown pass of their own.

Josh Lanners came up with the key play of the day with a 45-yard interception return for touchdown to give the Raiders a 28-7 lead at the half.

"What a turning point," said Medeck. "For them to sustain a drive and score on a fourth down play, which was a little deflating for our defense. For our defense to take the ball back and score was the turning point of the game."

Sam Moriarty got the Raiders back on the scoreboard catching a six-yard pass from Faber early in the fourth quarter to make it 35-10.

"We certainly don't want to have close games like that one early in the year and we want to practice being fundamentally sound," said Moriarty. "Coach Medeck wanted a clean game from us and that is what we did. We didn't have any dumb penalties and I just think we rolled with that."

Ashton scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter on a four-yard run and defensive back Austin Krumwiede finished off the scoring with a 40-yard interception return.

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Fond du Lac 0 7 3 0 ‑ 10

Central Lakes 14 14 0 20 - 48

First quarter

CLC - Jake Faber 1 run (Fafa Asante kick) 11:33

CLC - Athen Ashton 29 run (Asante kick) 6:08

Second quarter

CLC - Ayren Hart 13 pass from Faber (Asante kick) 14:55

FDL - Jordan Morris 16 pass from Travis Brown (Jarrell Delaney kick) 6:41

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CLC - Josh Lanners 45 interception return (Asante kick) :43

Third quarter

FDL - Delaney 35 field goal 7:24

Fourth quarter

CLC - Sam Moriarty 6 pass from Faber (Asante kick) 14:12

CLC - Ashton 4 run (Asante kick) 12:50

CLC - Austin Krumwiede 40 interception return (kick blocked)

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: CLC 40-167, FDL 40-47

Pass comp-att-int-yds: CLC 13-28-1-184, FDL 13-27-2-122

Total offense: CLC 351, FDL 169

Individual leaders

Rushing: CLC- Athen Ashton 24-131, Jared Adkins 4-15, Jake Faber 5-12, Barron Taylor 7-11, Riley Atkinson 1-8

Passing: CLC- Jake Faber 11-23-1-181, Riley Atkinson 2-5-0-3

Receiving: CLC- Elias Arlington 5-101, Ayren Hart 2-31, Beau Wilhelm 1-20, Sam Moriarty 2-19, Kieran Johnson 1-10, Trey Donovan 2-3

Overall: CLC 9-0. Next: Central Lakes vs. Minnesota State Fergus Falls/Minnesota West winner in MCAC state semifinals at Central Lakes, Sat TBD.

Related Topics: COLLEGE FOOTBALL
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