Caledonia trounces Kingsland at Homecoming 58-7

By Dugan Thomas

Caledonia tight end Seth Twite makes a 12-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter Friday night against Kingsland.

CALEDONIA, MN - 09/19/2014

The Caledonia Warriors wanted to make a statement before their big rivalry game next Friday night in Chatfield. They did that with authority in front of their Homecoming crowd at Caledonia High School thrashing Kingsland 58-7. They put up 38 points in the first quarter alone, and 52 before halftime. The Warriors defense held the Knights to -55 yards of offense through three quarters, and the Caledonia second-team unit played most of the 2nd half. This team is ready for all challengers, and at (5-0) they sit at the top of the leaderboard in the conference title race with 3 games to go.

The scoring started quickly for the Warriors as they marched it right down the field behind a loaded offensive line, and the running of Devan Heaney to put them in position. From the 13-yard line, quarterback Austin Bauer pedaled back and launched a perfect strike in the back of the end zone to his favorite target Colton Lampert. His body out-streched with another highlight catch, Lampert got his foot inbounds to put a touchdown on the board for the Warriors.

On a 3rd and 13 on the next drive, Kingsland tested Sam Stemper. That was not a good move by the Knights quarterback as Stemper has been a ball hawk all year long. Another INT was gobbled in by the Warrior linebacker, to give Caledonia great field position going the other way.

Tanner Gran was put into action at tailback behind the huge Caledonia offensive line, and again found success moving the team down the field. Starting center Justin Burg put on a different jersey, and took his 6'4" frame to work at tight end this week. His first catch of the year put the Warriors into the red zone, and Gran went right back to work. Going right up the gut behind center Hunter Hoscheit, Gran slipped through the line and hit paydirt with a 15-yard touchdown run to give Caledonia a quick 13-0 lead.

A good kickoff by Alex Goergen, and a miscue by the Knights kick returner landed Kingsland at their own 2-yard line. The Caledonia defense took advantage on the next play, when lineman Eli Craig burst into the backfield to stuff the Knights in the end zone for a safety. Kingsland was unraveling, and the Warriors kept dialing up the pressure to make the score 15-0.

The kickoff from the 20-yard line, and a good return by Jacob Winjum gave the Warriors great field position again at their own 47-yard line. Devan Heaney only need two runs to put himself back into the end zone, and it was the pitch sweep that got him there. At the 28-yard line Bauer pitched right to Heaney and he was off to the races. Blocks by Seth Twite and Colton Lampert on the edge sprung Devan into the secondary, and he dove for the pylon to put the Warriors ahead 22-0.

Sam Stemper is a having an MVP defensive season so far, and he made another huge play on the next Kingsland possession. He jammed his receiver at the line of scrimmage and undercut the route, picking it off and going the other way. A 27-yard interception return to the house gave him his second INT of the game, and blew it wide open for the Warriors. The Alex Goergen extra-point made it 29-0, and Caledonia was rolling.

A three and out on the next possession for Kingsland, and a short punt gave Caledonia the ball back at the Knights own 36-yard line. The Warriors new offensive weapon Justin Burg ran a perfect out pattern, and quarterback Austin Bauer found him wide open down the left sideline for a 32-yard pitch and catch to set up the next Warriors score. Mitchell Schmitz took a handoff to the left and ran over a linebacker at the goal line to punch his ticket for another Caledonia touchdown. The two play drive drove the score to 36-0, and the Knights had no answer whatsoever.

Defensive guru head coach Brent Schroeder kept dialing up the pressure, and sent a cornerback blitz with the Knights deep in their own territory. Jacob Winjum snuck down the line of scrimmage and surprised quarterback Quinn Larson with nowhere to go. Winjum quickly took him down in the end zone for a sack/safety to put another 2 points on the board, and to close out the first quarter scoring at 38-0.

Winjum then preceded to take the next kickoff to the house for a touchdown, but a clipping penalty at the 10-yard line brought the ball back to the 20. Insert quarterback Owen King into the lineup, and he took over from there. A completion to Tanner Langen picked up 10 yards, then King dropped back to pass again. Seth Twite bolted off the line of scrimmage and found himself wide open in the end zone. King found him for an easy 12-yard touchdown to keep the scoring moving at a high pace for the Warriors. The Goergen extra-point kick made it 45-0, and it was barely into the second quarter.

The Warriors didn't back down one bit, even though the second-team started to substitute in. Ezekial Ott sacked Quinn Larson on third down to force another punt, and special teams play ruled again for Caledonia. A huge rush off the edge by Drew Stemper got him into the punting lane, and he blocked the Kingsland punt attempt. Eli Ruesgen picked it up at the 20-yard line and found blockers in front of him. He followed the wall of Warrior teammates into the end zone for another quick strike Caledonia touchdown, making it 52-0.

In the second half a running clock was requested and the game moved swiftly. Most of the Caledonia starters were rested, and Kingsland was able to prevent the shutout with a 6-yard scoring pass to make it 52-7. Caledonia added another score on an Owen King to Austin Heim 27-yard touchdown pass to finish out the scoring and make the game final at 58-7. Another impressive conference victory for Caledonia, as they sit at the top of the conference standings with a (5-0) record.

Caledonia, still ranked #2 in this weeks Associated Press state Class AA poll will face a tough test in Chatfield next week. The Gophers are the defending AA champion, and they took the prize from the Warriors in last years overtime section title game. There's no love lost between these teams, and this is a grudge match that needs to be settled again this year. The game at Chatfield High School is set for next Friday, September, 26th at 7:00 PM.

Game Notes:

Head Coach Brent Schroeder gets my game ball this week for his defensive game plan. He's really mixing up the blitzes and coverages, and it's really impressive how these kids respond and execute. Twice he snuck a cornerback blitz up the line of scrimmage and they both hit paydirt. Jacob Winjum got a sack and safety on the first one, and Hunter Hauser-Caldwell picked up a sack as well on a blitz in the second half. The defense is only allowing an average of 96.2 total yards of offense through the first 5 games, and most of those yards were given up when the starters came out at the end.

Coach Carl Fruechte's offense tried out a new look this week with Justin Burg moving from center to tight end, and Hunter Hoscheit moving over to take Burg's spot. The double tight end formation put a wall of seven blockers right at the line of scrimmage, and allowed Devan Heaney and Tanner Gran to pick their way through with success. If defenses try to stack 8-9 guys in the box to stop the run, the Warriors two big tight ends Burg and Seth Twite, will run right past you into the secondary. They did that with ease Friday night as Burg was wide-open twice for 52 yards, and Twite had an easy 12-yard touchdown grab. The extra blockers also gave quarterback Austin Bauer plenty of time to throw downfield, and he connected again on a perfect strike to Colton Lampert in the back of the end zone for the first score of the night. Bauer's mechanics are really impressive when you see his throws on film, and the 7-on-7 work the Warriors offense put in this summer is really starting to pay off.

The highlight of the night was the Drew Stemper/Eli Ruesgen blocked punt return touchdown in the second quarter. It's fun to see all the seniors and starters get excited for a kid like Eli Ruesgen when a big play is made like that. When Ruesgen picked up that ball, those guys in front of him made sure he had a clear lane to the end zone, and he was mobbed on the sidelines when he got there. This team supports everyone, it doesn't matter if they're a freshman or sophomore...or a senior that doesn't get on the field as much. Caledonia Football is one unit, and when they have success it's because of everyone, not just a select few elite athletes. 

Southern Football Alliance - Blue

Caledonia  38  14   0   6  -  58

Kingsland   0    0    0   7  -   0

First quarter: C—Colton Lampert 13 pass from Austin Bauer (Alex Goergen kick); C—Tanner Gran 15 run (kick failed); C—Eli Craig safety; C—Devan Heaney 28 run (Goergen kick); C—Sam Stemper 27 interception return (Goergen kick); C—Mitchell Schmitz 4 run (Goergen kick); C—Jacob Winjum safety.

Second quarter: C—Seth Twite 12 pass from Owen King (Goergen kick); C—Eli Ruesgen 15 blocked punt return (Goergen kick).

Fourth quarter: K—Marcus Plaehm 6 pass from Quinn Larson (Leo Thoss kick); C—Austin Heim 27 pass from King (kick failed).

Rushing: K—Reese Eickhoff 15-33; C—Heaney 5-80.

Passing: K—Larson 2-12-2-9; C—Bauer 6-8-0-91, King 2-2-0-39.

Receiving: K—Plaehn 2-9; C—Justin Berg 2-52.

Total yards: K—46-9—55; C—133-130—263.

Fumbles: K—0-0; C—0-0.

Records: K 0-4, 0-4; C 5-0, 5-0.