Warriors capture Southern Football Alliance-Blue Division title, #1 seed in Section 1 Class AA
By Dugan Thomas
Caledonia's Seth Twite sacks Kingsland quarterback Quinn Larson in the first quarter of Wednesday's game in Spring Valley.
The Caledonia defense only allowed 47-yards of total offense in the game.
SPRING VALLEY, MN - 10/16/2013
On a clear and moonlit night in Spring Valley, Minnesota, the stars aligned for the Caledonia Warriors football team. The #1 ranked team in Minnesota Class AA scored a 42-6 victory over Kingsland High School, and secured the first ever Southern Football Alliance - Blue Division title. That marks the sixth consecutive year the Warriors have won their conference championship, and the undefeated season gave them a #1 seed going into the Section 1AA playoffs.
Caledonia received the opening kickoff of the game and they went right to work. Jacob Cuda got the start at running back and took his first handoff for a 25-yard gain. Mason DeMorett took charge of a hurry-up offense and it caught the Knights completely off-guard. DeMorett scrambled for another big gain right up the middle, and that set up the next scoring play. Cuda took a left handoff with great blocking up-front and busted it through for an 8-yard touchdown run to put the Warriors up 7-0 before two minutes had even gone off the clock.
Kingsland's first possession went nowhere, as they went three-and-out on the first series and had to punt. This set up four consecutive series where both teams had to punt, as the offenses stalled and couldn't get anything going.
A holding penalty on Caledonia wiped out a first-down run by Ryan Pitts to force a punt, and then on Kingsland's next possession Seth Twite sacked quarterback Quinn Larson for a 10-yard loss to force the Knights to punt yet again.
Caledonia's offense just couldn't get anything going late in the first quarter, but when they needed a pick-me-up, they got one early in the second when the Warriors defense delivered. Ryan Pitts picked off a Larson pass in the middle of the field, and after a great weaving return following his blockers he took it to the house for a touchdown. A holding penalty on the return negated the touchdown, but the Warriors took over with great field position on the Knights 29-yard line.
Mason DeMorett found Sam Schulte for a big first-down pass play down the left sideline to put Caledonia on the doorstep. Then Jacob Cuda got the call, taking the handoff and braking at least three tackles on his way to the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown run to put the Warriors up 14-0.
The Caledonia defense continued it's dominant play and forced the Knights to punt at the 8:37 mark of the second quarter. The Warriors offense took over at their own 42-yard line and the big second quarter from Ryan Pitts continued. He took a handoff straight up the middle and saw nothing but green grass in front of him. The hole was blown wide open by the offensive line, and Pitts looked like he was shot out of a cannon, as he never broke stride until he hit the end zone. A 58-yard touchdown run to blow open the game, and it took the wind right out of the Knights. The Mason Ashbacher extra-point was good, and the score went to 21-0 Caledonia.
The big second quarter didn't end there for the Warriors, as Shane Sheehan knifed through for a sack to force another punt, and Sam Schulte had a nice return to put Caledonia in business again. A pass to Sean Connor got the Warriors a first-down, then a run by Cuda brought them right to the doorstep. DeMorett took it himself the next play as the offensive line cleared out the middle, and he scored easily standing up to give Caledonia a commanding 28-0 lead going into the half.
In the second-half the Warriors defense continued it's dominant performance pinning Kingsland deep in their own territory at the 2-yard line. It was so dire that on a 3rd and 24 the Knights punted instead of risking a saftey, and Caledonia took over with great field position at Kingsland's 37-yard line.
Caledonia ran it down with a combination of Devan Heaney and Jacob Cuda runs to get them into scoring position. Cuda then broke free with a big hole off the left side to score his 3rd rushing touchdown of the day, a 4-yard scamper to put the Warriors ahead 35-0. The rout was on, and Caledonia could feel that division title firmly in it's grasp.
The fourth quarter went quickly with only a couple mistakes by the Warriors to tarnish their great game. A bad punt snap sailed over West Spier's head and Kingsland turned it into 6 points on a Jacob Rindles touchdown run. Then a holding penalty brought back a nice kickoff return touchdown by Jacob Winjum to take points off the board.
The last series for the Warriors made up for it as they strung together a nice drive with Hunter Hauser-Caldwell, Devan Heaney, and Sam Stemper taking turns running through the Knights defense. The Caledonia offensive line led by Hunter Hoscheit opened the holes, and Hauser-Caldwell capped it off with a 3-yard touchdown run to finish the game, giving the Warriors an impressive 42-6 win on the road.
The win was Caledonia's 34th consecutive victory, the 5th longest winning streak in the history of Minnesota high school football. They also captured the very first Southern Football Allinace-Blue Division crown, and after Thursday's seeding meeting they have the #1 seed going into the Section 1AA playoffs.
The quarterfinal round starts Tuesday night October 22, with Dover-Eyota coming to Caledonia High School, the #1 seed Warriors against the #8 Eagles, game time 7:00 PM.
Warriors offensive stars of the game: Jacob Cuda had a great game rushing for 104 yards on 16 carries and scoring three touchdowns, breaking countless tackles along the way.
Ryan Pitts was rested on offense for most of the game, but had the one huge 58-yard touchdown sprint, and finished with 63 yards on only 3 carries. That gives him 1,152 yards rushing for the year and 18 total touchdowns, an incredible season for the Warriors star tailback.
Hunter Hauser-Caldwell did a great job blocking from the fullback position all night, and had a touchdown run in the third quarter.
Mason DeMorett was 6 of 10 passing for 55 yards and a rushing touchdown. That gives him 1,046 yards passing for the year and 10 touchdowns. Really impressed with Mason's command at the line of scrimmage, and the way he runs the hurry-up offense. I think we're going to see plenty of that in the playoffs from the Warriors, and it's really catching the defenses off-guard.
Sam Schulte and Sean Connor had big catches to keep drives alive in this game, and they're both a handful to tackle in the open field.
The offensive line is opening huge holes up front, with Caledonia rushing for 247 yards in the game. Really impressed with Justin Burg at the center position. He's been a rock taking control of the middle of the line making the calls, plus the shotgun snaps are always perfect to DeMorett.
Warriors defensive stars of the game: I posted it on Twitter this week, and the one guy that really stood out in this game was Seth Twite. He had 8 tackles to lead the team, with a quarterback sack, and a forced fumble. He really filled the holes from his linebacker position, and the athleticism he showed on the quarterback sack was off the charts. Everybody has been telling me about this kid, and this was definitely a breakout game from Seth, a huge confidence builder for him going forward.
Daniel Welscher was also all over the field for this game, really showing up with the extended playing time. He finished with 5 tackles and a quarterback sack.
Kingsland netted only 47 total yards of offense, with 4 yards rushing and 43 passing. Caledonia had 5 total quarterback sacks with Shane Sheehan, West Spier, and Phillip Paulson getting the other three sacks with Twite and Welscher. Ryan Pitts had another big interception, and nobody's getting by him on the back end, a great move by Coach Schroeder. This is Caledonia's defense at it's finest, with just an incredible jump in production from the first game of the year. These guys are really coming into their own.
Southern Football Alliance - Blue
Caledonia 7 21 7 7 - 42
Kingsland 0 0 0 6 - 6
First quarter: C-Jacob Cuda 8 run (Mason Ashbacher kick).
Second quarter: C-Cuda 10 run (Ashbacher kick); C-Ryan Pitts 58 run (Ashbacher kick); C-Mason DeMorett 1 run (Ashbacher kick).
Third quarter: C-Cuda 4 run (Ashbacher kick).
Fourth quarter: K-Jacob Rindles 3 run (kick failed); C-Hunter Hauser-Caldwell 3 run (Hunter Hoscheit kick).
Rushing: C-Cuda 16-104, Pitts 3-63; K-Rindles 4-39.
Passing: C-DeMorett 6-10-1-55; K-Quinn Larson 8-16-1-43, Jordan Meskill 0-4-0-0.
Receiving: C-Sean Connor 2-25, Sam Schulte 3-22; K-Isiah Bubany 3-26.
Total yards: C: 247-55-302; K: 4-43-47.
Fumbles-lost: C-3-0; K-4-0.
Records: C 8-0, 8-0; K 0-8, 0-8.