The Raider football season is upon us and there is a plethora of new varsity players looking to make a splash on the field.Their first chance came against the Owatonna Huskies at Owatonna’s …
The Raider football season is upon us and there is a plethora of new varsity players looking to make a splash on the field. Their first chance came against the Owatonna Huskies at Owatonna’s brand-new complex. Hundreds of Raider fans including an impressive student section made the hour plus drive.
The night was warm but very windy coming in from the south endzone which caused chaos for special teams and passing. Hastings started at the 20 and looked to be poised to give the Owatonna defense fits all night. New varsity quarterback Lucas Foss hit Jack Cloutier for a long pass and Hastings was on the move. That drive was quickly stymied by the Husky defense and the Raiders turned the ball over on downs.
Owatonna started on their own 37 and quickly marched down the field to score the game’s first touchdown on a 40-yard pass.
The Raiders then had another drive that resulted in a turnover on downs. The Huskies were stopped by the Raiders and forced a punt. Hastings third drive resulted in a punt and this time Owatonna was able to score to increase their lead 14-0.
Both teams made key defensive plays on the next four total drives which included the end of the quarter. The Huskies started their drive at their 11-yard line and the Raiders came up big forcing a punt. The punt went straight up and the wind forced it to the Raiders sideline and back toward the Owatonna endzone where the Raiders took possession on the Husky six yard line. Four plays later, Foss and the entire offense pushed the ball over the goal line for the first Raider score of the season. The game was 14-7 in favor of the Huskies.
Unfortunately, Owatonna took the final drive of the half to go 80-yards in less than two minutes to go up 21-7 before the half.
That one Hastings touchdown ended up being the last score of the game for the Raiders, but not for Owatonna. The Huskies came out at the half and scored on three of their last four possessions to end the game 42-7.
The Hastings offense had a total of 155 yards on 47 plays. Foss recorded nine passes for 89 yards on 23 attempts with no interceptions and no touchdowns through the air.
Ryan Clemens led the Raiders in rushing with 45 yards on 14 carries. Foss ran five times for seven yards and a touchdown. Cole Zeien had four carries for 16 yards. Defensively, the Raiders saw 60 plays and allowed 368 yards.
After the game, Foss participated in his first interview with one question, what did he learn from his first varsity game at quarterback?
“We just have to connect on the big plays. I missed a couple of guys on some pretty big throws, and we just have to learn from it. Come back and get it back next week,” he said.
Head Coach Dana Strain who is always willing to talk after the game gave a good description of the things he saw on the field.
“I thought we did a lot of good things that we can build on. I thought we protected well, I thought with a junior quarterback, he stood in there and stood tall all night long and made good decisions. In the throwing game, we had guys that shook loose at times, so that's encouraging. We just got to get a little bit better, a little bit cleaner getting the ball on those receivers. At times we ran it well, we've got two guys that ran it. I thought they both looked good. Cole Zeien came in and did a great job for us. Defensively, we got pressure at times up front, and they made more plays than we did. When the game was in the balance, every time they needed one, even if we were right in their hip, they made that play. They made more plays than we did, but again, it's encouraging that you're right in their hip and defended the run well at times. It will be a good chance for us to get better from film, but I saw a lot of positive things to build on,” Strain said.
The Raiders will host Two Rivers on Friday, Sep. 8 and then host Mahtomedi on Thursday, Sep. 14, both games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. starts.