by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Despite the injury to running back Noah Peterson, Central pounded the ball to victory in the season and opener against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa at Ed Braun Field last Thursday, 28-0.
For at least one game the offensive line, a stout defense and multiple running threats made up for Peterson, who remains week to week after suffering a dislocated shoulder.
The Raiders defensive and offensive lines controlled the pace of play throughout the contest, stopping the Jaguars on defense and providing a foundation for the rushing game on offense, something head coach Paul Henn was pleased with.
“I thought both our defensive and offensive lines today were great and we just got to keep getting better and keep building depth,” he said.
The Raiders gained 260 yards on 60 attempts in all, with Zach Heiland pacing the Raiders with 136 yards on 26 carries.
“That’s one thing we know we’ve got to establish,” said Henn. “We’ve got to stop that run and we’ve got to be able to run the football.”
Central showed their dominance early on the game’s opening possession with Heiland, Zach Storms, Carter Clemensen and quarterback Isaac Hormann all gaining yardage on an impressive 18-play scoring drive that lasted over 8 minutes.
The drive appeared to stall after the Jags got a sack, forcing a 2nd-and-19 at the 30-yard line. However, Hormann rushed for three yards and then found Brice Panning for a catch in traffic for a 15-yard gain on third down. A defensive offsides penalty then gave the Raiders a first down.
“We threw the ball well, Brice got a couple of good passes,” said Henn. “So when we need to, we know we can do that.”
Storms later ran in from two yards out for the score.
Heiland said the opening drive was crucial as they established the ground game early.
“It was a good start,” said Heiland. “We kept going uphill from there and got the momentum going and the pace started.”
The teams traded possessions from there, with both teams not converting on fourth downs, before the Raiders got the ball with about two minutes remaining.
Hormann picked up a key first down with a 13-yard scamper to the sideline at the 25-yard line. Later, Heiland lost his shoe, but found running room for a 24-yard touchdown run with 28 seconds left in the half
“With the shoe falling off that was something, but it was good,” he said. “I ran hard.”
The Raiders defense continued to shine in the second half as they limited the Jaguars to just seven first downs and 104 yards of total offense for the game.
Meanwhile, the Raiders continued to eat clock on offense utilizing the rushing game as Hormann ran in for two fourth quarter touchdowns, one from six yards out and the other from four yards out.
In addition to Heiland, Storms gained 69 yards on the ground and Hormann rushed for 29.
Hormann also finished with three completions for 32 yards and one interception.
“We had the interception late but we didn’t turn it over at critical times,” said Henn. “We didn’t get sloppy with the football so it was a good, clean football game and we’re happy to get win number one.”
Henn added the game proved to be a nice start to the season as they build on last season’s memorable playoff run.
“We’re trying to build off that momentum that we built on last year,” said Henn. “BBE is a good squad, they are a good football team. It was pretty exciting to go out and get this first one.”
The Raiders begin Minnesota River Conference play next week with a home game against Jordan on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Hubmen defeated Blake on the road last Thursday, 50-13. Players to watch include senior running backs Derek Karsky and Andrew Fogarty, who both ran for multiple scores against Blake.
Last season, Central was ahead of Jordan 11 before the Hubmen finished with 47 unanswered points to win the contest.
“We’re excited about the way kids played but we’ve got to get better,” said Henn. “We’ve got to make that jump from first game to second game and continue to improve. We want to keep growing and we know that the River Conference is going to be tough.”
“We just got to prepare in practice and keep doing the same thing,” said Heiland. “Defense has to shut them down and we have to run hard.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at email@example.com.
Central 28, BBE 0
BBE 0 0 0 0 – 0
Central 7 7 0 14 – 28
C – Zach Storms 2 run (Zach Schnabel kick) 3:24
C – Zach Heiland 24 run (Schnabel kick) :28
C – Isaac Hormann 6 run (Schnabel kick) 10:50
C – Hormann 4 run (Schnabel kick) 2:46
First Downs – BBE 7, Central 17
Rushes – BBE 23-87, Central 60-260
Passing – BBE 23, Central 32
Comp-Att-Td-Int – BBE 6-17-0-0, Central 3-9-0-1
Fumbles-Lost – BBE 1-0, Central 1-0
Penalties-Yards – BBE 3-16, Central 6-42
Rushing – Central, Zach Heiland 28-136, Zach Storms 16-69, Isaac Hormann 11-29, Carter Clemensen 3-8, 28 1-2, Ty Vollner 1-5
Passing – Central, Hormann 3-9 32 yards
Receiving – Central, Brice Panning 2-24, Storms 1-8