Thunderstorms crash Warriors Friday night party, but Saturday afternoon's 40-0 matinee was a huge success

By Dugan Thomas

Caledonia wide receiver Colton Lampert hauls in a touchdown pass from Austin Bauer in the second quarter Saturday afternoon.

HARMONY, MN - 08/30/2014

As I was following the weather radar on my smartphone Friday afternoon, flashbacks from the Rushford-Peterson game last year were flowing through my head. These thunderstorms were flowing in a direct line from the south going straight through Harmony, Minnesota. At 6:45 PM the call was made, too much lightning in the area and more storms heading this way. A Saturday 12:00 noon start was the call, and the Caledonia team bus was heading 30 miles back home.

The Saturday afternoon game call was the right decision, because the Warriors arrived in Harmony to bright sunshine and a perfectly dry grass field. The players brought their game faces with, and were definitely jacked-up to play.

I don't think anyone was more jacked-up on this Saturday afternoon than Mitchell Schmitz. On Fillmore-Central's first possession, he drifted back in the zone and picked-off Falcons quarterback Jordan Miller on a third down pass attempt. The 14-yard interception return by Schmitz gave the Warriors excellent field position on the Falcons own 30-yard line.

A 9-yard third down run by Tanner Gran brought the Warriors to the 15-yard line, and on the next play, Caledonia hit paydirt. Austin Bauer drifted back with a three step drop, and Colton Lampert ran a stop-and-go to the corner of the end zone. The Bauer pass dropped perfectly right in the bucket to Lampert, who slipped his feet in bounds and celebrated his 17th birthday in style on this Saturday. Just the beginning to a huge day for Colton Lampert. The missed extra-point attempt gave Caledonia a quick 6-0 lead.

The tough Caledonia defensive effort continued through the first quarter and stymied any kind of offensive attack from the Falcons. When an Alex Goergen punt went wrong, he took it himself and cut back across the field to pick up a big first down at the 50-yard line. The next play saw another Bauer to Lampert connection down the right sideline for a huge 30-yard reception. The Falcons had an answer for the Warriors drive though, when a linebacker stepped in front of a Bauer pass and picked it off to stop Caledonia's momentum.

The Falcons found some success going into the second quarter with the pitch sweep, but a botched handoff sent the ball out of control, and Eli Craig pounced on it to give Caledonia great field position at Fillmore-Central's 46-yard line. A Bauer to Tanner Langen strike of 22 yards down the left sideline started it off, and Tanner Gran finished it with a huge touchdown run. With Brandon Tornstrom and Seth Twite pulling to the left, Gran took the counter handoff and followed his blockers. The kick-out blocks allowed him to get to the outside, and Sean McGonigle sealed the cornerback to spring the 21-yard touchdown run. The Hunter Hoscheit extra-point kick sailed through the uprights, and Caledonia was up 13-0.

The next possession saw the swarming Caledonia defense all over the Falcons. Case McCormick picked up a third down sack to force a punt, and Sam Stemper sniffed out the fake punt attempt to give the Warriors the ball back quickly at the Falcons 23-yard line. Two plays later on a 3rd and 5, it was the Bauer to Lampert show again. With the Warriors offensive line giving him all day to pass, Austin Bauer threw a perfect strike over the cornerback to Colton Lampert in the back of the end zone. Lampert's circus catch with both feet inbounds gave the birthday boy two touchdowns on the day, and made this one birthday he'll surely remember. The Hoscheit kick was good, and the Warriors were firmly in control 20-0.

The Falcons must not have watched the Caledonia-Southland game tape too closely, because you just can't throw a backside screen on the Warriors defense. On their next possession with McCormick and Twite all over quarterback Jordan Miller, Justin Burg read the play all the way and picked it off going the other way. Burg's huge interception gave the Warriors incredible field position at the Falcon's 24-yard line, and they were in business again.

With the Caledonia maulers in front of him, Devan Heaney sliced and diced his way threw the Falcons on this drive. Four consecutive Heaney runs ended with a 6-yard touchdown jaunt right up the middle to take the life right out of Fillmore-Central. The score now at 26-0 for Caledonia, and they weren't finished yet in this massive second quarter.

Three plays and out on the next drive aided by a terrible punt from Fillmore-Central netted the Warriors great field position again at the Falcons 37-yard line. Tanner Gran running the ball, with a pass to Mitchell Schmitz and Colton Lampert mixed-in, set up the next Caledonia score. Gran found room on the right side behind Burg, Hoscheit, and Tornstrom, and plowed in from 3-yards out to make the score 33-0 with the Hoscheit kick. The culmination of an overpowering second quarter by the Caledonia Warriors, and Fillmore-Central just didn't have any answers. The Warriors defense held the Falcons to -6 yards of offense in the first half, and took the ball away three times. There's no doubt Caledonia came to play in this one, and they set the tone with authority in the second quarter.

Caledonia received the ball in the second-half and went right back to work. Devan Heaney took a handoff to the left and found room. Behind a pancake block from Brody Holter, and clear-out blocks by Schmitz and Langen, Heaney cut off-tackle and turned on the jets. A 30-yard jolt down the left sideline put the Warriors in business, and hungry for another score. Sam Stemper came in with fresh legs and delivered two runs of his own, with a quick pass to Langen that had them on the doorstep. Austin Bauer called his own number and finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown plunge to make the score 40-0 Warriors.

The quick moving third quarter ended with the Caledonia defense still in monumental control. -19 total yards of offense for Fillmore Central, and 40 points on the board made it easy to bring in the second-teams to finish it out. The starters were rested and Caledonia was able to cruise to the finish on this Saturday afternoon.

When the gun sounded, the Warriors finished with a 40-0 convincing conference victory, and plenty of confidence going into a huge match-up with Rushford-Peterson next Friday night in front of their home crowd. The Trojans took down the defending state Class AA champion Chatfield Gophers on Saturday at Winona State 29-12. This will have all eyes on Caledonia next week, with the rest of the competition looking to see how these two powerhouse programs match-up. Rushford-Peterson hasn't beaten Caledonia since 2006, and they'll definitely want to show what kind of team they have this year. The Warriors want to show that they are still the team to beat in southern Minnesota, and the road to TCF Bank Stadium still goes through Caledonia. 

Game Notes:

The Warriors passing attack came alive against Fillmore-Central. Austin Bauer had pinpoint control, and is really starting to jell with his receivers. He was 8-13 for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns, with another score on a quarterback sneak. Colton Lampert had a birthday to remember with 5 catches for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns. He demonstrated the whole package on Saturday afternoon. Great hands, body control, and footwork. He'll definitely get R/P's best cornerback next Friday night after they watch this game tape. The other Warrior wide receivers definitely came-up big as well, Tanner Langen, Mitchell Schmitz, and Sean McGonigle make this offense a well-rounded machine. The last two games demonstrated what this offensive line is all about, with the addition of Brandon Tornstrom and Brody Holter. Bauer had all day to throw, and the Warriors rushing attack threw down 213 yards on Fillmore-Central. Devan Heaney led the way with 13 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown, and Tanner Gran chipped in 50 yards and 2 touchdowns.

When you hold a team to -6 yards in the first half, and -19 yards through three quarters, the defense is just not good, they are outstanding. The rush up-field by the D-line, the flying linebackers into the backfield, and the secondary locking down their targets - that is Caledonia football at it's finest, and they look incredible through two games. Mitchell Schmitz led the way with 8 tackles, a QB sack, and 2 interceptions. He had a career day, and his energy is infectious. Justin Burg had 5 tackles and an interception from his defensive end spot, and Eli Craig had 5 tackles and a fumble recovery. Case McCormick had a sack and 5 tackles, with Alex Goergen getting 8 stops, and Sam Stemper picking up 6. I watched the Rushford-Chatfield game on Saturday, and R/P has a number of great skill position players with a huge offensive line. This game Friday night will show exactly how good the Warriors defense really is, and it'll definitely be fun to watch. This early season contest could be the game of the year.

The third and fourth quarters brought a new number into the Warriors backfield, and I could've swore I've seen this #28 before. It brought flashbacks to the early eighties, when Carl Fruechte sliced and diced through defenses with a quick slashing running style. That #28 was Carl's nephew Ben McCabe, and he was impressive running the ball Saturday afternoon. He had 8 carries for 40 yards, and could've had a lot more if penalties didn't cancel a few runs away. As only a sophomore, that makes two Carl Fruechte nephews in the backfield Saturday afternoon with freshman quarterback Owen King taking control of the second-team offense. Caledonia Football continues to be stacked with great athletes and great bloodlines, and they'll definitely be fun to watch in the years ahead.

Southern Football Alliance - Blue

Caledonia    6  27  7   0  -  40

Fillmore-C   0  0   0   0  -    0

First quarter: C-Colton Lampert 15 pass from Austin Bauer (kick failed).

Second quarter: C-Tanner Gran 21 run (Hunter Hoscheit kick); C-Lampert 18 pass from Bauer (Hoscheit kick); C-Devan Heaney 6 run (kick failed); C-Gran 3 run (Hoscheit kick).

Third quarter: C-Bauer 1 run (Hoscheit kick).

Rushing: C-Heaney 13-92; FC-Tyson Ristau 8-50.

Passing: C-Bauer 8-13-1-124; FC-Jordan Miller 4-10-3-20.

Receiving: C-Lampert 5-77; FC-Nathan Birch 1-16.

Total yards: C-213-136-319; FC-27-20-47.

Fumbles: C-1-1; FC-2-1.

Records: C 2-0, 2-0; FC 0-2, 0-2.