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College Football: Raiders eliminate Itasca

Trey Blanchard and Carlton Djam each rushed for more than 100 yards and teamed with a punishing defense to run over Itasca 74-0 in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference state quarterfinals Saturday at Findorff Athletic Complex.

Central Lakes College’s Jake Faber throws the ball Saturday against Itasca Community College. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery)
Central Lakes College’s Jake Faber throws the ball Saturday against Itasca Community College. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery)

Trey Blanchard and Carlton Djam each rushed for more than 100 yards and teamed with a punishing defense to run over Itasca 74-0 in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference state quarterfinals Saturday at Findorff Athletic Complex.

Blanchard finished with 120 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries and Djam accumulated 114 yards and three scores on 16 carries.

Jake Faber finished his Raiders home career with two scoring throws and a rushing touchdown. Both throws went to Kieran Johnson.

"We knew it could be our last home game here," said Faber. "We haven't lost on our home field in two years and we were expecting that today. The offensive line really stepped up today. We had high expectations and our running backs and the offensive line really stepped up today."

Faber found six different receivers, led by Johnson with six catches for 131 yards and Cody Rau with three catches for 58 yards.

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"We have a very talented receiver corp and it is fun throwing the ball to these guys. They make me look good," said Faber, who was 19-of-32 passing for 257 yards.

Earlier in the season, the Vikings visited CLC and gave the Raiders defense and special teams some problems. That did not happen Saturday as CLC sacked Itasca's Quinn Frisell three times and intercepted two of his passes, with one being returned for an 87-yard touchdown by Tykeise Johnson.

"I am very pleased with the outcome and the performance today," Raiders head coach Greg Medeck said. "You can tell where the points of emphasis were today. We were able to execute on those things and I am really happy with that. I have all of the faith and confidence in our offense that they will be able to remain consistent. We were able to make major steps on defense and special teams and I am very happy with that."

The defense held the Vikings to 110 total offensive yards The special teams stymied Itasca holding them to an average of just 12 yards per return on 11 kickoffs.

Blanchard, Faber and Djam each scored a first quarter rushing touchdown as CLC led 21-0 after one quarter.

Tykeise Johnson's interception return started the second quarter. Faber and Kieran Johnson hit on a 53-yard scoring play and Djam scored his second touchdown on a

14-yard burst as the Raiders took a 41-0 halftime lead.

The names were the same in third quarter as both Djam and Blanchard rushed for a score and Johnson and Faber connected on their second score from 20 yards out.

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Backup quarterback Riley Atkinson found Rau for a fourth quarter score and Teddy Sherva scored from a yard out.

"Our goal is to always have a mix offensively and to be effective in both the running game and the passing game," Medeck said. "Today, I was very happy with our offensive production. It wasn't one guy that had to take over the game and I like that diversity when we can be productive a number of ways."

The Raiders will now travel to Wahpeton, N.D., to face NDSCS which defeated Minnesota West 49-7 in another quarterfinal game Saturday.

"This is a great group of sophomores," Medeck said. "We do cherish playing here in our home environment and we have been very successful. We have talked that we will have to go on the road eventually and we have worked on some things this last week. I don't care as much where we go and who we play, but that this team continues to improve."

Itasca 0 0 0 0 - 0

Central Lakes 21 20 19 14 - 74

First quarter

CLC: Trey Blanchard 49 run (Seth Zins kick) 13:23

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CLC: Jake Faber 6 run (Zins kick) 7:14

CLC: Carlton Djam 6 run (Zinks kick) 1:22

Second quarter

CLC: Tykiese Johnson 87 interception return (Zins kick) 12:41

CLC: Kieran Johnson 53 pass from Faber (Zins kick) 9:44

CLC: Djam 14 run (kick failed) 4:22

Third quarter

CLC: Blanchard 5 run (kick failed) 10:25

CLC: Johnson 20 pass from Faber (Zins kick) 4:50

CLC: Djam 6 run (kick failed) :01

Fourth quarter

CLC: Cody Rau 27 pass from Riley Atkinson (Zins kick) 12:17

CLC: Teddy Sherva 1 run (Zins kick) 5:10

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: CLC 47-284, Ita 33-49

Pass comp-att-int-yds: CLC 22-37-3-314, Ita 15-29-4-61

Total offense: CLC 598, Ita 110

Individual leaders

Rushing: CLC-Trey Blanchard 11-120, Carlton Djam 16-114, Jake Faber 5-30, Teddy Sherva 8-20; Ita-Roshea Grays 12-37

Passing: CLC-Jake Faber 19-32-1-257, Riley Atkinson 2-3-1-44, Adrian Reilly 1-1-0-13; Ita-Quinn Frisell 15-27-2-61

Receiving: CLC-Kieran Johnson 6-131, Cody Rau 3-58, Elias Arlington 4-43, Beau Wilhelm 4-38, Jaelyn Price 2-26, Tristan Waters 1-11, Blake Gerads 2-7; Ita-Josh Oberle 7-40

Overall: CLC 8-1. Next No. 2 CLC vs. No. 1 NDSCS in state semifinals in Wahpeton, N.D., 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Related Topics: COLLEGE FOOTBALL
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