Cambridge-Isanti got off to a great start in its Sept. 23 Homecoming battle against section-rival St. Cloud Tech, but the Tigers shut out the Bluejackets in the second half to record a 27-14 road victory.
On the second play from scrimmage, C-I quarterback Clayton Jennissen hit senior wideout Jonah Poppen on a slant, and Poppen raced 89 yards before being caught at the Tech 1. Trent Chromy plowed over from the right side for the touchdown on the next play for the blazingly quick 7-0 lead.
The C-I defense held Tech to a 3-and-out on the Tigers’ possession. On Tech’s second series, Jennissen picked off a pass in traffic, but three incompletions kept the Jackets from taking advantage of the good field position.
Following another SC punt, Chromy drug a trio of Tigers into Tech territory on a solid run. But a Jennissen pass deflected off a receiver’s hands, and Tech cornerback Sam Coulter returned it 64 yards to knot the score at 7-7 before the first quarter ended.
Sam Thomas’ long reverse kick return was wasted when the Jackets went 3-and-out. Following two more traded punts, the Tigers worked into C-I territory on a long catch-and-run to the 11 yard line. But the Tigers’ field goal attempt clanked off the right upright, preserving the tie.
The Jackets then began a nice drive upfield on the ground. With 2:31 to go in the half, Cole Bakke got great blocking on a sweep-right and went 41 yards for a touchdown to keep the Jacket faithful excited during the halftime shows.
But mistakes again began beating the Jackets. They lost two fumbles in the second half and finished with 70 total yards in penalties as Tech slowly took over the game. The Tigers pulled to within 14-12 on a 9-yard run by Jacob Peterson in the third quarter. Tech gained a 19-14 lead three minutes into the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by Jesse Lavoi. Peterson added insurance with an 8-yard scoring run with 2:27 to play.
Bakke finished with 164 yards on 27 carries for C-I, with Jennissen closing with 144 yards on 6-for-18 passing. Jennissen also hit well from his safety spot, leading the Jackets with 10 tackles.
The Bluejackets need to put together a perfect game at Monticello Sept. 30 to begin building momentum since they close the regular season with arguably the three toughest conference matchups (St. Michael-Alb. Oct. 7, Becker Oct. 14 and Rogers Oct. 20).
Elk River 3-0, 4-0; Rogers 3-0, 4-0; Buffalo 2-2, 2-2; Becker 1-1, 3-1; St. Michael-Alb. 1-2, 2-2; Monticello 1-2, 2-2; Big Lake 1-3, 1-3; Cambridge-Isanti 0-3, 0-4.
Section 8AAAAA leaders: Elk River 4-0, St. Cloud Tech 4-0, Buffalo 2-2, Brainerd 2-2.