Caledonia cruises in the first round 49-8 over Hayfield

By Dugan Thomas

Caledonia running back Ben McCabe blew past everyone in the secondary, on his way to a 33-yard touchown in the second quarter.

CALEDONIA, MN - 10/21/2014

When you beat a team 53-0 in the regular season, it's definitely tough to get up for a rematch game that nobody wants to play. The Warriors were sluggish in the first quarter, and looked like a team that was overlooking their opponent a little. They overcame it quickly in the second quarter looking like the title contenders they are, and rolled to an easy 49-8 victory Tuesday night over Hayfield in the opening round of the playoffs.

When Caledonia kicks it in high gear, the speed and skill shine through, and they dominated Hayfield in the ten minutes leading up to the half. Devan Heaney finished with 140 yards rushing in the game, and tallied 4 touchdowns to go with it.

The first touchdown Heaney found a huge hole in the middle, cut to his left, and was gone down the sidelines. A 31-yard dash with blocks by Justin Burg and Colton Lampert to spring Heaney into the end zone.

On the next defensive series, Hunter Hauser-Caldwell made two consecutive impressive plays from his cornerback position. He came up on a wide receiver screen and drilled the Hayfield receiver behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of yards. Then on the next play he jumped in front of a route over the middle, and picked off Hayfield quarterback Cameron Rutledge to give the ball back to the Warriors.

Caledonia turned the ball over on their next two possessions, but the Warrior defense got the ball back and they went to work. Austin Bauer found Colton Lampert down the left sidelines for a 28-yard pass completion. Then on the next play Devan Heaney struck again. Heaney carried over right side, broke a tackle, cut back to the left, and sped into the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. The Alex Goergen extra-point kick was good, and the score was 13-0 Warriors.

The Vikings couldn't do anything on their next series, and had to punt deep in their own territory. The punt snap sailed over the head of Hayfield's punter, and he swatted it out of the end zone for a Warriors safety. Another special teams safety on the year for Caledonia, and they would receive the ball right back. This time Hayfield tried a quick onsides kick, and it failed miserably. Case McCormick recovered at the Vikings 35-yard line, and quickly the Warriors struck on the very next play.

Caledonia running back Ben McCabe found a hole off right tackle, cut back against the grain, and used his sprinter speed to outrun everyone to the end zone. An impressive display of vision in the open field, and pure speed put McCabe on the highlight reel, and sent Caledonia to a 21-0 advantage.

The Warriors defense forced another punt on the next series, and Hayfield couldn't execute again, leaving Caledonia with great field position. A couple Devan Heaney runs later, the Warriors found the end zone again, this time Heaney took it in from a yard out. His third touchdown on the night, and the score was 28-0 Caledonia.

Hayfield's back was broken by this time, and they knew it, unable to generate anything offensively. That wasn't the case for Caledonia. Enter Owen King at quarterback for the Warriors, and he struck through the air quickly. Tanner Gran put a move on his defender, and burnt him bad down the left sidelines. King's pass was right on the money, and Gran sprinted into the end zone for a 53-yard touchdown reception. The Goergen extra-point kick made the score 35-0 Warriors, and they weren't done yet in the half.

Punts were definitely the devil for Hayfield on the night, this time it was Alex Goergen who bolted through and wreaked havoc. Goergen blocked the punt cleanly, with Ezekiel Ott scooping and scoring the other way for a 37-yard touchdown. The Caledonia special teams unit has been doing it all year, and they extended it to the playoffs to bring the score to 42-0 just before halftime.

The second half consisted of one more Devan Heaney touchdown before the starters went out in the third quarter, and a running clock in the fourth. The second-team units were able to get some work in, and Caledonia was able to savor a first round win. The final score was 49-8, and Caledonia dominated after the first quarter, putting on a show for the hometown fans.

The next challenge in the semifinal round will be a familiar one. Chatfield outlasted Dover-Eyota in triple overtime Tuesday night to meet #1 seed Caledonia for another playoff showdown. This time, Chatfield limps into the postseason losing 2 of it's last 3 games, and will have to travel to Caledonia Saturday night to meet the undefeated Warriors at home. The game will be at 7:00 PM, Saturday night at Caledonia High School, with the winner advancing to the Class AA Section 1 finals in Rochester next Friday night. 

Game Notes:

Devan Heaney had a huge night for the Warriors, with 140 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. He was impressive with his cuts and side steps, moving through the hole and using his speed to get through the secondary. Probably the best I've seen Devan run all year, and he's peaking just at the right time. The Warriors ground game needed a jolt, and they put up 175 yards total, mostly in the first half.

The Warriors offensive speed was on display with Ben McCabe and Tanner Gran as well. McCable looked like he was shot out of a cannon when he blew past me near the sidelines on his 33-yard touchdown run. He's only a sophomore, but he's been training with his uncle Carl Fruechte on the Caledonia track team last spring, and it's definitely showing. Tanner Gran blew by his defender on his 53-yard touchdown reception, and Hayfield had no shot to catch him. When Tanner turns on the jets, he gets full speed in a hurry, and he's lights out.

Defensively, the Warriors totaled 5 sacks, with Ezekiel Ott nabbing 2. Case McCormick, Eli Craig, and Tanner Langen each chipped in one. Hunter Hauser-Caldwell had a great night with 6 tackles and an interception. Mitchell Schmitz had 8 tackles, and Seth Twite finished with 7. Sophomore Brandon Robley made quite an impression in the fourth quarter with two big jarring hits, and an interception from his linebacker position. He's definitely a newcomer who stood out easily, and will be one to watch in the years ahead. 

MN Class AA Section 1 Quarterfinal

Caledonia  6   36  7  0  -  49

Hayfield     0   0    8  0  -   0

First quarter: C—Devan Heaney 31 run (kick failed).

Second quarter: C—Heaney 23 run (Alex Goergen kick); C—safety, Tanner Langen tackled punter in end zone; C—Ben McCabe 33 run (kick failed); C—Heaney 1 run (Goergen kick); C—Tanner Gran 53 pass from Owen King (Goergen kick); C—Ezekiel Ott 37 blocked punt return (Goergen kick).

Third quarter: C—Heaney 13 run (Goergen kick); H—Gunner Scott 39 run (Dylan Arndt pass from Cameron Rutledge).

Rushing: H—Scott 1-39; C—Heaney 16-140.

Passing: H—Rutledge 9-26-1-103, Drew Olive 0-2-1-0; C—Austin Bauer 4-7-1-56; King 2-3-0-52.

Receiving: H—Matt Slowinski 2-38; C—Gran 2-61.

Total yards: H—33-103—136; C—175-108—283.

Fumbles: H—1-1; C—3-2.

Records: H 1-8; C 9-0.