With two first-half touchdown passes from Jake Franklin to Jordan Thompson, the Central Lakes Raiders took a 13-0 halftime lead and survived a second-half rally for a 32-27 win over Rochester in an Eastern Division contest Saturday, Sept. 22 in Brainerd.
With the win, the Raiders improved to 2-0 in division play and 2-2 overall. They will face the Mesabi Norsemen Saturday, Sept. 28 who are 4-0.
Franklin threw for the two TD passes and ran for a score. He threw for 11-29 for 136 yards.
The Raiders pounded the running game with 220 total yards on 44 rushes. Ridge Reed led the team with 101 yards. Nuke Crowell finished with 94 yards on 19 rushes.
CLC gave up 21 points to the Yellowjackets in the second half.
Reed's 5-yard dash at the 4:11 mark of the third quarter gave CLC a 19-7 lead, but the Yellowjackets scored two touchdowns on runs from Benjamin Thompson of 69 and 11 yards to lead 21-19 heading to the fourth quarter.
CLC regained the lead when Franklin kept the ball on a 14-yard TD run. A celebration penalty gave Rochester the ball at the Raiders 28 to start the drive. CLC's defense held and forced a turnover on downs.
Later in the fourth, Crowell got through the line and scampered 46 yards to increase the Raiders' lead to 32-21.
"Our coaches always talk about being patient," Crowell said. "The main thing was being patient and I was just trying to get a first down, and it just happened."
The Yellowjackets pulled back to five points on a 49-yard scoring pass from Michael Schimming to Trey Johnson.
The Raiders recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock for the win.
"My mentality was to do whatever was in my power to get the first down," Reed said of his run for the final first down." The reason that I got the first down was because of the linemen. They really stepped up in a big way and did what they had to do."
Rochester entered the game winless at 0-3.
"Certainly from a fans' standpoint it was an entertaining football game," said head coach Greg Medeck. "From a coaches standpoint, we saw things done very well that we were excited about and we had some errors that allowed them to get back in the game."
The CLC defense is young this year and big plays have been an issue. It gave up scoring passes of 30 and 49 yards and a 69-yard run, but Medeck sees growth.
"We have a tremendous group of young men and I love going to work with them and teaching them," Medeck said. "They want to learn and improve and they fought hard today."
Last year the Mesabi Norsemen defeated CLC on the Raiders' home field before playing in the state championship game.
"We are going to take it one day at a time and it starts in practice," Reed said. "Mesabi is a tough team and we need to practice and play well."
Said Medeck: "Last year we had a difficult loss to Mesabi that changed the course of our season. That was certainly one that we will remember and maybe reference in our preparation, but we have a totally new team with a great strength of character."
Rochester 0 0 21 6 - 27
Brainerd 0 13 6 13 - 32
CLC - Jordan Thompson 30 pass from Jake Franklin (kick failed) 4:14
CLC - Thompson 12 pass from Franklin (Josh Prahl kick) :02
RCTC - Trey Johnson 30 pass from Michael Schimming (Juan Martinez kick) 9:12
CLC - Ridge Reed 5 run (conversion failed) 4:11
RCTC - Benjamin Thompson 69 run (Martinez kick) 3:48
RCTC - Thompson 11 run (Martinez kick) 1:12
CLC - Jake Franklin 14 run (conversion failed) 8:59
CLC - Nuke Crowell 46 run (Jack Quaal kick) 2:20
RCTC - Trey Johnson 49 pass from Schimming (conversion failed) 1:38
Rushes-yards: CLC 44-220, R 33-125
Pass comp-att-int-yds: CLC 11-33-0-136, R 8-18-1-135
Total offense: CLC 356, R 260
Rushing: CLC-Ridge Reed 20-101, Nuke Crowell 19-94, Jake Franklin 2-23, Talon Bradley R-Benjamin Thompson 20-107;
Passing: CLC-Jake Franklin 11-29-0-136 R-Michael Schimming 7-13-0-134
Receiving: CLC-Jordan Thompson 3-47, Gabe Spah 1-32, Talon Bradley 3-24, Noah Burchardt 1-12, Ridge Reed 1-9, Tanasi Reed 1-9, Zach Severtson; R-Trey Johnson 2-79
Div: CLC 2-2. Overall: CLC 2-2. Next:CLC at Mesabi Range 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29.