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College Football: Raiders travel to unfamiliar territory for state semifinals

The Central Lakes College football team, ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA poll, will travel to Wahpeton, N.D., to meet the 18th-ranked North Dakota State College of Science Wildcats in the semifinals of the MCAC state tournament at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct.

The Central Lakes College football team, ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA poll, will travel to Wahpeton, N.D., to meet the 18th-ranked North Dakota State College of Science Wildcats in the semifinals of the MCAC state tournament at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.

It will be the first time in recent memory the two teams will meet as NDSCS entered the MCAC just last year.

The Raiders enter the game with a better overall record (8-1) then NDSCS (7-2), but CLC's early season loss to Rochester gave the Raiders a 4-1 Eastern Division record and a No. 2 seed, while NDSCS finished 5-0 in the Western Division to earn the top seed.

CLC quarterback Jake Faber was a 2-time offensive player of the week, while wide receiver Kieran Johnson won the award once.

Faber was second in the Eastern Division with 2,215 passing yards and 32 touchdowns. Running back Carlton Djam finished in the top spot in the division in rushing with 855 yards, while Trey Blanchard was third with 632 yards.

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Johnson totaled 1,011 receiving yards, averaging 21 yards per catch, and 17 touchdowns.

Defensive player of the week award winner Sean Walker led a Raiders defense that recorded three shutouts this season, including a 74-0 win over Itasca in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. Kierre Rhodes tied for the league lead in interceptions with three.

NDSCS will bring a solid defense and kicking game as well as Jakob Racimo serves as the punter and kicker. He was a four-time special teams player of the week in the Western Division and finished third in the division in scoring.

The Wildcats accumulated 2,079 total yards, which was second best in the division. Revontae Robinson was the team's leading rusher with 251 yards, which was good for sixth in the division. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry.

NDSCS' defense gave up 1,288 yards and 111 points, which was the lowest in the division. Ejodamen Ejiya led the league in total tackles with 78 and Joseph Putu led in interceptions with five.

"They are very strong defensively with a solid front and some athletic playmakers in the secondary," said CLC head coach Greg Medeck. "Their defense has really come through for them all season. Their quarterback (Dallas Cook) is big and strong, makes good decisions with the ball and has the ability to extend plays with his feet.

"They also have a great kicking game that can really change field position which means we will have to be disciplined on all of our special teams this week."

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