Football drops a heartbreaker to Bloomington Jefferson

By Bruce Karnick
Posted 9/29/23

The Raiders football team fell to 1-3 on the season with a 22-15 loss at Bloomington Jefferson on Sept. 21. The Jaguars Marching Band even played the Raider fight song as they ran onto the field, …

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Football drops a heartbreaker to Bloomington Jefferson


The Raiders football team fell to 1-3 on the season with a 22-15 loss at Bloomington Jefferson on Sept. 21. The Jaguars Marching Band even played the Raider fight song as they ran onto the field, which was a very cool gesture on their part.

Hastings won the first possession of the game and Cade Kimmes took the opening kickoff near the right sideline across the field to the Raiders sideline and then 90 yards for the touchdown to give Hastings the early lead 20 seconds into the game.

The night looked like it was going to be all Raiders when the defense stepped up and forced the Jaguars to punt. Hastings was moving the ball well until a fumble at the Jefferson 44-yard line was recovered by the Jaguars. Hastings quickly stopped that threat and was back on offense. Another costly turnover by Hastings, a high pass slipped through the hands of a Raider receiver and was caught on the tip by a Jaguar defender, set Jefferson up at the Raider 19. Two plays later, Jefferson was an extra point away from tying the game. The extra point was missed so Hastings clung to a 7-6 lead.

Both teams failed to move the ball on their next drive resulting in traded punts and then Hastings was on the move again making it into Jefferson territory. Another high pass was tipped by a Raider receiver and intercepted by Jefferson. Cormac Radford had his second interception of the night and five plays later; the Jaguars had the lead. A successful two-point conversion and the Raiders were trailing 14-7 at the half.

The second possession of the second half for Jefferson was a four play, 61-yard touchdown drive that included a 50-yard touchdown reception. The Jaguars converted a second two-point play and took the lead 22-7.

Hastings took the next drive 69 yards on eight plays for the touchdown. Quarterback Lucas Foss connected with Brady Nickel for a six-yard touchdown pass with 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Hastings converted on the 2-point conversion, narrowing the gap to 22-15.

The ensuing kickoff was chaos. Jack Sieben launched a bomb to the Jefferson sideline near the corner of the field. For some reason, the Jaguar players scattered and let the ball roll like it was a punt, not a kickoff. Hastings quickly pounced on the ball but was unable to maintain possession outside of the Jaguar endzone. The ball squirted into the endzone where Hastings recovered it. Everyone thought it was a touchdown and that the Raiders were now within one point of tying the game. The referees signaled touchdown and the points went up on the board. The problem is the ball went into the endzone. Unlike the NFL, the Minnesota State High School League rules state that once the ball goes into the endzone on a kickoff, it is automatically a touchback and it goes to the receiving team at their 20.

The defense did a great job holding Jefferson and that gave Hastings two opportunities to score. The first drive ended with a turnover on downs, but the defense quickly put a stop to Jefferson’s offense to get the ball back. Unfortunately, the ball proved to be too much to hold onto for a third time and it went through the hands of another Raider receiver into the hands of Radford who logged his third interception of the game.

Offensively for Hastings, Foss was 10-for-22 passing with 72 yards with one touchdown. On the ground, Ryan Clemens ran 15 times for 62 yards, Sawyer Tjomsland had five carries for 19 yards and Antwhane Pate saw the ball four times for nine yards. Creed Peterson had five receptions for 53 yards. Jack Cloutier had three catches for nine yards, Brady Nickel had one catch for six yards and a touchdown. Kyan Esterby had one catch for four yards. The offense ran 48 total plays for 167 total yards and four turnovers.

Defensively, the Raiders allowed 207 yards on 56 plays, they forced seven punts out of 10 possessions and no turnovers.

After the game, Head Coach Dana Strain was proud of the Raiders no-quit attitude.

“Our kids keep battling and you know, we make some plays, and we keep giving ourselves a chance, they have no quit in them. We're just leaving too many plays out on the field that are hurting us and a lot of it is self-induced problems with penalties tonight, we're not breaking down in space at times defensively, so we are missing some tackles and we got some drops. Those are things that we control. We just have to get better with those things. The kids hang in there and whenever it looks like their backs are completely against the wall, they keep coming back and giving ourselves a chance, so I am proud of them for that,” he said.

Speaking on the dropped passes, Strain said it could be a youth thing because they are catching a lot of balls at practice, and they will keep catching a lot this week.

“We'll just go back to work. This doesn't really change much of what you do other than just renewed focus on areas that we have to get better on. We'll go back and meet with the team on Monday and remind them what they're doing well and continue to stress those positives because there are a lot of good things within the game that we're doing well. Then we will remind them, hey, here's some areas that we control. The good news is a lot of our improvement is going to come from things that we have control over. So, we'll just go to work on those with a renewed focus and we will stay positive with the kids and remind them to do a lot of good things,” explained Strain.

The Raiders take on Cretin Derham Hall on Sept. 29 at 7:00 p.m. at Todd Field, then they travel to Armstrong High School the following Friday, also at 7:00 p.m. The Cretin Derham Hall game is also Homecoming, so pack the stands with blue and gold.