by ADAM GRUENEWALD
The Central football squad gave undefeated Belle Plaine a bit of an early scare on the road on Friday in Minnesota River Conference action, before losing 40-20.
With lightning striking off in the distance, the Tigers used some quick strikes of their own to build a 20-0 lead early in the first quarter, the third score coming off a windy punt that started them at the Raiders 5-yard line.
Central answered immediately though as Zach Heiland rushed to the outside for a 68-yard scoring run, shocking the Tigers defense.
After the teams exchanged interceptions and punts, the Raiders defense forced a stop, giving the Raiders offense the ball.
Heiland opened the drive with two big runs including a 22-yarder and Isaac Hormann ran for a first down as well. Facing a 2nd-and-five, Hormann found Casey Clemensen for a touchdown to cut the lead to 20-13 midway through the second quarter.
Coach Paul Henn said his team played well against a tough team but needs to play a full 48 minutes.
“We had chances and took care of the ball on offense and made some stops,” said Henn. “We were able to make some plays and get back into the game, I was very proud of the guys for digging in and showing some toughness in that stretch.”
Belle Plaine answered with a long scoring drive capped off by a Gavin Dauwalter scoring run though for a 27-13 lead just before halftime.
The Tigers tacked on another two touchdowns in the second half to go up 40-13, before Central answered with a late score of their own in the fourth quarter.
Starting on their side of the field, Heiland gained some yardage on the ground, before Hormann found Evan Worm for a 23-yard touchdown on fourth down.
“There has been no quit in these guys this year,” said Henn. “I think they understand that this would be the best time of the year to get on a roll and that we have the ability to do that.”
Noah Peterson didn’t play for the Raiders, but Henn expects he would return.
“Noah should be back to help us this week,” said Henn. “An injury in the Watertown game has slowed him a bit and we felt the extra rest with a lot of games coming up in a short stretch was best for him.”
Zach Heiland and Zach Storms split the rushing load as Storms gained 48 yards and Heiland had 160 yards and a touchdown.
“Huge game for him, ran hard,” said Henn of Heiland. “We knew that he has the ability to help us on offense. Playing such a big defensive role we have only seen him in limited action on that side of the ball, but he is very capable of being a factor on offense.”
The Raiders (0-7) aimed to get their first win of the season against Le Sueur-Henderson (0-7) at home on Wednesday in a battle of winless teams. They then will likely travel to face an opponent in the first round of the 2AA sectionals on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Visit www.mshsl.org and click on Activities-Football for the latest information.
“We told the guys yesterday, we are going to focus on making a four game run, focusing each week on what’s in front of us,” said Henn. “We are capable of doing this, the giants are always a tough team to beat and its going to be a great football game. If we can continue to play how we have we feel like we can finally get over the hump and get a win.”
Other teams in the Raiders’ eight-team section include G-F-W, Kenyon-Wanamingo, LeSueur-Henderson, Medford, Pine Island, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown and Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at email@example.com.
Belle Plaine 40, Central 20
Central 7 6 0 7 – 20
BP 20 7 7 6 – 20
BP – Gavin Dauwalter 5 run (Jordan Buesgens kick), 10:35
BP – Chase Emmers 45 pass from Luke Narveson (Buesgens kick), 9:00
BP – Narveson 2 run (kick missed) 6:46
C – Zach Heiland 68 run ((Zach Schnabel kick), 6:10
C – Casey Clemensen 8 pass from Isaac Hormann (kick missed), 5:58
BP – Dauwalter 5 run (Buesgens kick), 1:14
BP – Narveson 4 run (Buesgens kick) 9:27
BP – Kincade Retzer 1 run (kick missed), 6:57
C – Evan Worm 23 pass from Hormann (Schnabel kick), 2:42
SE – Danielson 30 run (Beau Swenson run), 4:31
First Downs – Central 11, Belle Plaine 18
Rushes – Central 41-228, Sibley East 44-243
Passing – Central 61, Sibley East 198
Comp-Att-Td-Int – Central 4-9-2-1, Sibley East 8-18-1-1
Fumbles-Lost – Central 2-2, Sibley East 1-0
Penalties-Yards – Central 0-0, Sibley East 7-57
Rushing – Central, Zach Heiland 17-160, Zach Storms 17-48, Isaac Hormann 7-12
Passing – Central, Isaac Hormann 4-9-61 yards, 2 tds, 1 int
Receiving – Central, Zach Storms 1-14, Casey Clemensen 2-24, Evan Worm 1-23
Tackle for loss – Alex Meeker 1
Interception – Zach Schnabel 1