College Football: Raiders get stomped by Mesabi 27-7
A bruising six-play drive to start the second half pushed Mesabi to a 27-7 win over Central Lakes College in an Eastern Division game on Saturday, Sept 14 at Adamson Field.
The Raiders dropped to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in division play, while the Norseman stayed undefeated at 4-0 with all of their wins coming in division play.
The teams played a scoreless first quarter which resulted in ten changes of possession. The second quarter was played in much the same fashion but in the closing seconds of the first half, Mesabi took their final time out with five seconds to go at the Central Lakes 39-yard line. A heave to the end zone from Ironman backup quarterback Tareq Shaw made it to the end zone where the ball was tipped into the air and Rocci Berry of Mesabi came away with the catch for the only score of the first half.
The Ironmen received the opening kickoff of the second half and went on a six and a half minute drive, punctuated by a 10-yard run from Myles Ratliff to give the Ironmen a 14-0 lead with 8:03 left in the second half.
"I think it maybe fired up their squad up a bit," Raiders interim head coach Rob Kolodziej said of the hail mary at the end of the half. "But I don't think is affected us that much. Defensively, we came out and played solid. To play a perfect game against a solid team is very difficult. Their crew came out pretty fired up in the second half. They are a good team. They have put together multiple six-minute drives this year and they did one against us. We do need to get better and that first drive certainly set the tone for the second half."
Both defenses were dominant in the first half, and Mesabi head coach Tom Inforzato concurred with Kolodziej that the opening drive of the second half set the tone for the rest of the game.
"We came out and did not play very well offensively," Inforzato said. "We had a lot of penalties to start drives. We weren't clicking on offense and that is a credit to Central Lakes. They have good kids and are well coached. Their defense was tough and physical and we kind of lucked out there but it was a big play for us. I think coming out and being able to run the football the way we did was key. That is what we wanted to establish and I did think that set the tone for the rest of the game. It thought both defenses played really well today."
On the next Raiders possession the Mesabi defense recovered a Central Lakes fumbled snap on the Raiders 42-yard line, but a big sack from linebacker Isaak Hines on Shaw gave the ball right back to the Central Lakes.
Another botched snap to the quarterback from Central Lakes and Mesabi recovered to end another Raiders drive. That was compounded by a personal foul on Central Lakes and Trey Patterson of Mesabi dashed 16 yards for a touchdown and Mesabi led 20-0 at the end of the third quarter.
The teams traded mistakes and missed opportunities early in the fourth quarter, but the Raiders were able to get on the scoreboard at the 10:55 mark of the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run from Rashaun Cage to cut the deficit 20-7. There was more hope on the kickoff as Central Lakes executed an onside kick with a recovery but then went backwards from there and the Ironmen turned them over on downs. A late 19-yard scamper from Patterson of the Ironmen provided the final margin of 27-7.
The first half of the season is now over and coach Koldziej and the rest of the staff will be working in the last four weeks of the regular season with a roster that has changed quite a bit due to injuries on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
"Every team has to change and evolve," Kolodziej said. "If you stay static and rely on your talent to beat their talent, in this league, generally you have to perform better than that to win."
Mesabi finishes the first half with a 4-0 record in Easter Division play, and for coach Inforzato it was a crucial win over the Raiders, a team he has a deep respect for.
"We know that we are going to get when we play Central Lakes,” Inforzato said. “We know that to achieve our goals it has to go through them. Coach (Greg) Medeck and his staff have done a great job. That is a great team and anytime we walk away with a ‘W’ we are happy."
Mesabi 0 7 13 7 -- 27
CLC 0 0 0 7 -- 7
M-Rocci Berry 39 pass from Tareq Shaw (Hunter Frahm kick) :00
M-Myles Ratliff 10 run (Frahm kick) 8:03
M-Torrey Patterson 16 run (kick failed) 3:46
C-Rashaun Cage 10 run (Alex Frederick kick) 10:55
M-Patterson 19 run (Frahm kick) 4:39
Div: CLC 1-1. Overall: CLC 2-2. Next: CLC at Rochester Community and Technical College 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept 21.