Warriors finish off Goodhue 13-0 to capture Southern Football Alliance Blue Division title 

By Dugan Thomas

Caledonia quarterback Austin Bauer hands off to Tanner Gran and follows the lead block of Hunter Hauser-Caldwell through the Warriors offensive line.

GOODHUE, MN - 10/15/2014

Caledonia needed one more victory to finish off an undefeated regular season, and win the Southern Football Alliance Blue Division for the second year in a row. It had to travel 107 miles to Goodhue Minnesota to accomplish this feat on Wednesday night. They did it with a tough defensive effort, the Warriors picking off three Goodhue passes, and only giving up 23 yards on the ground to the Wildcats in the 13-0 win. It was Caledonia's 31st consecutive regular season victory, and it's 9th conference title in the last 11 years.

Goodhue opened up the game with a four receiver spread set, and quarterback Jacob Pasch out of the shotgun. The first two quick passes were complete, but Caledonia's Jacob Winjum and Alex Goergen made two impressive open field tackles to stop the Wildcat receivers in their tracks. The 3rd down pass fell incomplete and Goodhue had to punt quickly.

Tanner Gran took the punt from his own 42-yard line, and was up the sidelines for a big gain to Goodhue's 37-yard line. The Warriors picked up a first down behind the running of Devan Heaney, and then capitalized on the next play.

Caledonia quarterback Austin Bauer saw 9 defensive players stacked in the box, with Colton Lampert 1-on-1 on the outside. That's a mismatch just waiting to happen, and the Warriors executed perfectly. Bauer took a three-step drop and launched a perfect pass over the shoulder to Lampert in the end zone for 27-yard score. Lampert had a step on his defender and with outstretched arms he hauled it in for a pretty pitch and catch touchdown to put the Warriors up early 6-0.

Goodhue responded on the next series driving deep into Caledonia territory behind the passing of Jacob Pasch, and the receiving of Tyler Schumacher. A long pass down the sidelines, and a juggling catch by Schumacher kept the drive alive, but Caledonia didn't break. At the 10-yard line Pasch looked for Schumacher again on a double-move in the end zone, but Jacob Winjum wasn't fooled. Winjum went deep into the corner and picked the pass off at it's highest point, while getting a foot inbounds to stop the drive, and keep the Wildcats off the board.

The second quarter quickly became a defensive battle with both squads punting multiple times. Goodhue's second punt in the quarter was disastrous as they muffed the punt snap, and turned the ball over to the Warriors at their own 45-yard line.

Tanner Gran slipped out of the backfield and caught a 10-yard pass from Bauer to pick up a first down to open the drive. Then Caledonia's quarterback audibled again. This time Bauer faded back and fired to Tanner Langen running down the seam. Langen made a beautiful one handed highlight catch at the goal line and took it in for a touchdown. The end zone celebration was short lived because of a penalty flag. The men in stripes called a holding penalty on the offensive line to bring the play back and wipe the touchdown off the board. I watched the play multiple times on tape, and I didn't see anything on the line that would've warranted that call. It was just the beginning of a long night for the Warriors, because the players, the traveling fans, and the officials were not getting along at all, and it became a dogfight for the rest of the game.

The penalty wiped out Caledonia's momentum, and they turned the ball over on downs four plays later on an incompletion to Tanner Gran near the end zone. The Warriors defense stepped up and held Goodhue on their next possession though, and Caledonia went into halftime holding a 6-0 advantage.

The Wildcats tried to trick the Warriors on the second half kickoff with a pooch kick, and it backfired on them. Big Brandon Tornstrom fielded the kick at his own 42-yard line, and took it out to midfield to give Caledonia great field position. With a loaded power-I formation, the Warriors went to work. Devan Heaney picked up twelve yards on the first carry aided by a nice block from Mitchell Schmitz. Then Schmitz took one himself for 9 yards, and Tanner Gran was called on next.

Gran hit the right side and followed Hunter Hauser-Caldwell through the hole, all the way down to Goodhue's 8-yard line for a 22-yard gain. Two Heaney runs set up Caledonia at the 3, and quarterback Austin Bauer took it himself on the next play into the end zone to put Caledonia on the board again. The Alex Goergen extra-point kick was good, and the Warriors were up 13-0 early in the third quarter.

Goodhue mounted two drives in the third quarter where they were moving the ball, but Caledonia's defense came up big both times. Jacob Winjum made a good defensive stop on a fourth down pass to keep the receiver just short of the line to gain to stop the first. Then Tanner Langen blanketed wide receiver Tyler Schumacher on a fade pass, and intercepted it with a great catch over his shoulder to stop the second.

In the fourth quarter the Warriors stayed on the ground offensively, kept the clock moving, and relied on their defense. Caledonia had a mysterious pass interference called on them to keep Goodhue's drive alive at one point, but their defense stepped up big again none the less. Jacob Winjum dropped back and intercepted Pasch again in the end zone to keep the Wildcats off the board with about 4 minutes left in the game. A great play by Winjum to shut down Goodhue's momentum, and enable the Warriors to run more time off the clock.

Goodhue had one more chance with the ball, but Caledonia's defense shut them down in a hurry. Linebacker Seth Twite shot through and picked up a huge sack to send the Wildcats back, and they eventually turned the ball over on downs with a couple incompletions. With no timeouts left Goodhue was unable to stop the clock, and Caledonia was able to grind it out the rest of the way for the 13-0 victory.

The long drive, the Wednesday night schedule, and the hometown officials definitely didn't make it easy for the Warriors, but they played a great game and pulled out another undefeated regular season. They now go into the section playoffs as the #1 seed, and are guaranteed at least two playoff games at home. The quarterfinal matchup is Tuesday night, October 21st at 7:00 PM in Caledonia against Hayfield. The Warriors blasted Hayfield 53-0 on September 12 in their last match-up. 

Game Notes:

Jacob Winjum led the defensive effort with 11 tackles, and 2 huge interceptions in the end zone to stop Goodhue drives and keep points off the board. I think the Goodhue coaches saw the size advantage they had with their best receiver Schumacher over Winjum, but they underestimated Winjum's athleticism. Jacob's speed keeps him stuck to the receivers, and he can really flip his hips, get his head around, and find the ball quickly.

Seth Twite had 8 tackles, 2 quarterback sacks, and a pass deflect on a great night in the middle of Caledonia's linebacker alignment. Seth's speed and athleticism kept him in Goodhue's backfield all night long, and he was all over the field making plays. Caledonia had 6 total sacks on the night, with Eli Craig, Hunter Hauser-Caldwell, Case McCormick, and Justin Burg all netting a sack each.

Sam Stemper learned this week that his shoulder injury was more serious than thought, and it looks like it could keep him out for the rest of the year. A tough break for Sam and the rest of the Caledonia football team, as Stemper has been a leader and difference maker for the Warriors all year long. Hunter Hauser-Caldwell filled in for Stemper at linebacker and had an excellent game with 8 tackles and a quarterback sack. Hunter also does a great job on kickoff and punt coverage, and he had a number of big hits Friday night that caught my eye.

Caledonia's offensive line doesn't get enough praise for the work they do in the trenches, but the one player that stood out in the Goodhue game was Hunter Hoscheit. He plays with a mean streak on every snap, and has an impressive strong frame that keeps him dominating his opposition. He had a number of pancake blocks that caught my eye, and he plays tough to the whistle on every play. The right side of the line carries most of Caledonia's beef with Hoscheit and Brandon Tornstrom, and they are an impressive force to deal with on every snap. 

Southern Football Alliance - Blue

Caledonia  6  0  7  0  -  13

Goodhue    0  0  0  0  -   0

First quarter: C-Colton Lampert 27 yard pass from Austin Bauer (kick failed).

Third quarter: C-Austin Bauer 3 yard run (Alex Goergen kick).

Rushing: C-Devan Heaney 21-70, Tanner Gran 8-42, Mitchell Schmitz 4-18, Austin Bauer 3-10; G-Garett Huemann 16-25.

Passing: C-Austin Bauer 3-5-0-42; G-Jacob Pasch 14-30-3-126.

Receiving: C-Colton Lampert 1-27, Tanner Gran 1-10, Tanner Langen 1-5; G-Tyler Schumacher 10-91.

Total Yards: C-104-42-182; G-23-126-149.

Fumbles: C-0-0, G-0-0.

Records: C-8-0, 8-0; G-6-2, 6-2.