by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Heading into the sectional playoffs, Central got its first win of the season, defeating Le Sueur-Henderson at home on Wednesday, 35-20.
Seeded #6, the Raiders (1-7) traveled to face #3 Zumbrota-Wanamingo in Zumbrota last Tuesday in Section 2AA.
The Winner will face the winner of #2 Medford and #7 Le Sueur-Henderson this Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. at the high seed location. Winner of that goes on to a game on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the sectional final at the high seed for a trip to state.
Central 35, Le Sueur-Henderson 20
Playing on senior night, it was junior Noah Peterson who came up huge, ripping off several big runs and totaling 287 yards and four touchdowns.
The game had an auspicious start as both teams committed some early turnovers, as the Giants took an early 7-0 lead on a 48-yard passing play down the sideline.
Central went on to score 21 unanswered points though, beginning with a solid second-quarter drive.
Starting from their own 20 after a touchback, Zach Storms and Peterson got the Raiders to a 4th-and-1 at the 29. Isaac Hormann got the first down and then some with a 21-yard gain and Peterson followed with a 25-yard gainer. Hormann would later dived in from 1-yard out for the 7-7 tie with 5:20 remaining.
LS-H then went three-and-out and Peterson opened with a 3-yard run from the Giants 33. Zach Storms caught a pass for 14 yards and Peterson found space on the sidelines in front of the Raider faithful for a 52-yard touchdown run and the 14-7 lead.
The clock would run out on the Raiders’ final drive of the half, but Peterson and Storms had some huge rushes in a 80-yard drive capped by a Peterson 11-yard scoring run to start the second half. Alex Eichner also caught a 10-yard pass in the drive.
The Giants answered with a scoring drive of their own, but the Raiders put together a lengthy 67-yard drive spanning the third and fourth quarters. Zach Heiland and Peterson each gained big yardage with Central converting several third downs. Peterson got the touchdown, going in from one-yard out for the 28-14 lead.
The Giants got into Raiders territory, but Central recovered a fumbled around midfield, and the Raiders scored again. Hormann dove for a key first down and Peterson rushed for the 34-yard touchdown run and 35-14 lead, which they held onto for their first win.
“It felt good to get a win finally,” said Peterson. “Playoffs, our chances are decent but not good. We have potential to do something in the playoffs.”
Peterson credited the offensive for creating holes for him.
“Our line blocked amazing,” he said. “We blocked great tonight and just did everything good.”
The scheme too helped as Heiland rushed for 38 yards, Storms had 24, and Hormann rushed for 16.
“A lot of the blasts work and some power,” said Peterson. “We do a mix-up play where we fake to one back and go to the other. That mixed them up quite a bit too.”
Hormann completed 5-of-10 passes for 49 yards, and had several key runs, which was key for the team, according to head coach Paul Henn.
“Very efficient,” said Henn. “Very clean game for him… With Zach Heiland, with (Zach) Storms, with Isaac, we have a lot of weapons. We really have the ability if we play clean and take care of the football to do a lot of good things.”
Coach Paul Henn said the win was good for his team moving forward.
“You’re really proud of what the kids do when they get a chance to get that taste,” he said. “There’s no better time of year than right now to taste victory.”
Henn also gave credit to his seniors, including captains Casey Clemensen, Brandon Fabel, Mitchell Kells and Derrick Tellers, who went out on a positive note.
“These guys have been a part of our program for the last three years,” said Henn. “I’m happy they got to go out with their last game on the field… and get a win. Now we just want to play as long as we can for those guys and see what happens.”
Looking at sections, Henn said his team has a chance to not just a repeat of last year’s team, which upset Watertown in the first round, but Jordan’s run as well for his squad.
“The River Conference is really, really stacked,” he said. “We played pretty good football against some really good teams especially in some small, small stretches. If we can get hot at the right time, who knows? We learned that last year. Jordan went to the state tournament with one regular season win.”
In addition to avoiding a slow start, Henn said his team had to clean up some things on pass coverage as well.
“If we can handle ourselves on both fronts, we feel like we have a good chance to win,” he said. “It’s time for playoff football. There’s nothing that lights a fire under kids than knowing that every game could be your last.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at email@example.com.
Central 35, Le Sueur-Henderson 20
LSH 7 0 7 6 – 20
Central 0 14 7 14 – 35
LSH – Tremaine Wadley 48 pass from Brady Rose (Elia Celoria kick) 3:55
C – Isaac Hormann 1 run (Zach Schnabel kick) 5:20
C – Noah Peterson 53 run (Schnabel kick) 3:19
C – Peterson 11 run (Schnabel kick) 6:38
LSH – Wadley 10 pass from Sean Kahlow (Celoria kick) 2:13
C – Peterson 2 run (Schnabel kick) 8:12
C – Peterson 34 run (Schnabel kick) 2:56
LSH – Rose 1 run (pass fail) 1:08
First Downs – LSH 13, Central 18
Rushes – LSH 25-106, Central 54-380
Passing – LSH 225, Central 49
Comp-Att-Td-Int – LSH 16-23-3-0, Central 5-10-0-0
Fumbles-Lost – LSH 3-3, Central 1-1
Penalties-Yards – LSH 7-61, Central 2-15
Rushing – Central, Noah Peterson 30-287, Zach Storms 9-24, Zach Heiland 6-38, Isaac Hormann 9-16
Passing – Central, Isaac Hormann 5-10-49 yards
Receiving – Central, Alex Eichner 2-23, Casey Clemensen 1-12, Zach Storms 1-11, Peterson 1-3
Fumble Recovery – Zach Storms 1, Casey Clemensen 1