Raiders blank Jordan for first win
Something had to give when Jordan Hubmen visited Norwood Young America last Friday night.
Both football teams were searching for their first win of the season, and the Raiders made sure there was no doubt about which team would snap its losing streak, using the Hubmen as a step stool out of the Minnesota River Conference cellar with a 28-0 victory before the home crowd.
“Any time you get to go out and earn a win in high school football you really need to enjoy it. Some seasons those wins are a little harder to come by than others, so any time you get a win you want to be able to enjoy it with the kids who were able to go out and get it done, and we were able to do that this week,” said Raiders head coach Paul Henn.
Continuing a trend from the past several weeks, the Raiders started strong, scoring four touchdowns — including three in the second quarter alone — before halftime. While the offense cooled off in the second half, hampered by penalties and a turnover at Jordan’s goal line, the defense didn’t surrender a point all game.
“We had a really clean first half in terms of avoiding penalties and turnovers and things,” said Henn. “The second half, on the penalty end we really did some things to shoot ourselves in the foot, but overall I felt like both sides of the football, throughout the full four quarters of the game — minus some small mistakes that we have to get cleaned up — we really played as clean a game as we have played.”
Quarterback Isaac Hormann started the scoring in the first quarter when he broke free for a 38-yard gallop to the end zone. A two-point running play was stuffed, but the Raiders had plenty more firepower to display later in the half.
Tight end Luke Marschall hauled in a 38-yard pass from Hormann for Central’s second touchdown, which the Raiders followed up with a nifty two-point trick play. Running back Noah Peterson took a handoff from Hormann, lingered in the backfield, then passed to a wide open Hormann in the end zone.
Later in the quarter Jeff Worm powered through the Jordan defense for a 29-yard touchdown run, and Hormann connected with Peterson for a 16-yard touchdown catch, which was followed by a two-point conversion pass to Marschall.
By halftime, the final score was already on the board.
Central outclassed Jordan on the stat sheet as well, racking up 374 yards of total offense (285 rushing, 89 passing) to Jordan’s 126 yards (115 rushing, 11 passing), and tallying 13 first-downs compared to Jordan’s seven.
The Hubmen were particularly ineffective in the passing game, launching 16 passes and completing just two of them with one interception by Brice Panning. In contrast, Hormann threw nine times, competing five passes for two touchdowns with one interception.
In the ground game, Peterson evoked memories of seasons past, speeding through the Jordan defense for 136 yards on 23 carries (almost six yards per carry). Worm was also a big contributor with 55 yards on 10 carries, Casey Clemensen had 19 yards on six carries, Hormann ran for 52 yards on five keepers and Mike Mullen ran five times for 23 yards.
Defensive leaders for the Raiders included Trevor Groschen, who had five solo tackles, and Nicholas Schwendeman with four tackles. Alex Eichner and Mullen each batted down a pair of Jordan pass attempts.
On the downside, 11 Central penalties for 68 yards kept the Raiders from expanding their lead in the second half.
“Our second half gave us plenty of things to work on this week, to work on finishing those drives,” said Henn.
In the end, however, the most important achievement of the night was for an almost entirely new lineup of Central players to experience their first varsity victory.
“I’m really proud of the kids. It’s hard to go through the lows we went through for the first few weeks and really keep your head in the season. I think our kids have done that, and I think that speaks a lot about how our kids approach each week,” said Henn. “Now we can hopefully get that ball rolling in the other direction and start to experience some of the highs that come along with Friday night football. It’s good for this group of kids to get to experience that for the first time.”
With continued effort, the Raiders will have the chance to savor a few more victories before the season is over.
“It’s important for our kids to remember that we’re a couple of quarters where we didn’t play like we can play away from being 2-2 or 3-1. We’re not that far off from having this record that we started out with completely flipped,” said Henn. “We’ve had enough positives over our first four weeks that we should be able to carry some momentum, especially into this week against Mayer Lutheran. If the Norwood kids can’t get excited to play Mayer Lutheran, I don’t think we’ll ever be excited to play.”
The Raiders will try to spoil arch-rival Mayer Lutheran’s homecoming this Friday, but that won’t be an easy task. The Crusaders are 2-1 in conference play this season, having defeated LeSueur-Henderson and Sibley East. They lost to an undefeated Tri-City United squad in overtime last week.
“Dean [Aurich] gets every ounce of effort and talent out of his kids that he possibly can. They’re never the team with the most kids and they’re rarely the team even with the most talent, but he does such a good job over there of getting so much out of those kids, and this year is no different,” said Henn.
“They take advantage of opportunities. You can’t turn the ball over or give them short fields. You’ve got to be really sound in all phases of the game. We like to think if we can do those things it’s going to be another really good football game, and a game we can come out on top in.”