By Ryan Pitts
The Caledonia Argus
It was a cool crisp night on Friday as the Warriors traveled to Kasson-Mantorville to take on the Gophers from Chatfield in the Section 1AA Championship. This game was much closer throughout compared to earlier in the year when the Warriors beat the Gophers 41-8 in the fourth game of the year on homecoming. The Warrior’s scoring on the night came from three offensive scores from Senior Quarterback Noah King to Sophomore wide receiver Elijah King along with a defensive touchdown.
The Warrior defense looked sharp early as senior linebacker Jack Strub intercepted a Gopher pass at the Gopher 45 yard line. The first offensive drive was plagued with penalty flags but on a fourth and twenty from the Gopher 35 yard line, Noah King hit Elijah King along the opponents sideline for the touchdown. A missed PAT gave Caledonia a 6-0 lead five minutes into the game.
Chatfield was able to move the ball on the next series when they went for a fourth and one on their own 44. The Gopher’s tailback was able to find a seam and hit it up the middle for a 36 yard gain. A few plays later, Chatfield had the Warriors on their heels on their own 10 yard line. A Gophers fumbled reverse toss sweep on a third and one backed them up to a fourth and fourteen. Chatfield tried the same play right after and once again they fumbled but this time Isaiah Forrester was able to recover it. The Warriors were unable to capitalize on he drive and forced to punt.
After punting, the defense held strong and forced Chatfield to punt at mid field. A high snap went over the punters head and defensive end Ezra Dvorak was there to quickly scoop it and score it for the touchdown. The Warrior PAT was good as Caledonia took a 13-0 lead with nine minutes in the first half.
Chatfield’s offense after the touchdown was forced to punt again right away. Then Caledonia’s drive was quickly halted at midfield but a fumble. Chatfield then gained momentum and marched 58 yards for their one and only score of the night, Warriors leading 13-7 with two minutes before halftime. Chatfield then onside kicked on the kickoff but Caledonia recovered it. Warrior’s quickly made good work of the field position. Noah King tacked on a 24 yard run to put the Warriors in Gopher’s territory. A few plays later, Noah King hit Elijah King across the middle. King stretched the ball out over a defender to get the 18 yard passing touchdown. Brody Johnson tacked on the PAT and Caledonia led 20-7 with 50 seconds until halftime. A Chatfield pass was then intercepted by Noah King and run back to the 13 yard line. Caledonia was unable to score with seven seconds left and went into halftime with a 20-7 lead.
Out of halftime, Caledonia went to a steady ground and pound game to chew up clock. The defense was sturdy as they forced Chatfield to punt on all three of their second half possessions. Caledonia chewed up over eight minutes of third quarter clock on two possessions.
Caledonia’s final score came at the beginning of the fourth quarter after Chatfield was forced to punt out of their own end zone. Elijah King caught the ball at midfield and returned it to the Gopher’s 30 yard line. Three plays later, Noah King was forced out of the pocket and threw a high ball to the center of the field. Elijah King leaped up and caught it over three defenders on the goal line for the 29 yard touchdown pass.
The defense then forced a quick three and out and the offense ran out the remaining game clock with a 27-7 victory and Caledonia’s sixth Section 1AA title in a row and thirteenth trip to state in the last 15 years.
Noah King was 16 of 28 throwing for 171 yards and three passing touchdowns. King also rushed 16 times for 117 yards.
Elijah King caught 12 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Donnie Lakey caught three passes for 8 yards.
Dalen Lemke rushed 15 times for 28 yards.
Noah King and Jack Strub each recorded an interception. Isaiah Forrester and Ezra Dvorak each recovered a fumble, Dvorak’s for a 24 yard touchdown. Elias and Ezra Dvorak each recorded a quarterback sack.
Jed Kasten led all tacklers with eight solo tackles followed by Isaac Denstad and Noah Jennings with six. Jacob Staggemeyer recorded five solo tackles.
Brody Johnson was three of four on points after touchdowns.
First Downs: Caledonia 17, Chatfield 8
Rushing Yards: Caledonia 143, Chatfield 53
Passing Yards: Caledonia 171, Chatfield 54
Total Yards: Caledonia 314, Chatfield 107
Total Plays: Caledonia 59, Chatfield 41
Time of Possession: Caledonia 29:07, Chatfield 18:53
Caledonia’s next game with be the State Quarterfinals vs Pipestone Area at Rochester Mayo High School on November 8th, at 7:00PM.
Good Luck and Go Warriors!