Bluejacket Football smothers St. Michael in opener

FULL STORY: In a distinctly defensive battle at the Aug. 30 season-opener, the visiting Bluejackets held off St. Michael-Albertville by allowing just 109 yards total offense, marking down an 8-0 victory.

Surprisingly by the score, there was just one turnover in the game (a STMA fumble), and the teams combined for 11 punts.

The Knights moved the ball well with a short passing game and screens on the first possession of the Mississippi 8 opener, reaching a 1st-and-goal inside C-I territory.

“Defensive end Darren DeBaere came up big for us after that, making a tackle for a loss of 14 yards which really slowed their momentum,” replayed Bluejacket Coach Mike Hennen.

C-I soccer star Josh Rouse, returning for his second football season, broke up the shutout with a 30-yard field goal just into the second quarter. Late in the third quarter, punter Jake Johnson landed a punt that was downed at the STMA 1-yard line.

“On the next play, linebacker Chance Laidly penetrated off the edge when they were running a slow shotgun sweep, and D-tackle Weylin Iglesias gobbled up the runner for a safety,” continued Coach Hennen.

The final score came  on a 37-yard Rouse field goal with 3:48 remaining in the game. The Bluejackets totaled 149 yards on offense, with feature fullback Chance Laidly accounting for 61 yards on 19 carries. Sophomore quarterback John Solberg was 5-for-11 in passing for 46 yards in his varsity debut. Wideout Matt Kuehn made two leaping catches for 31 yards. Travis Holt and Kyle Chromy led the defense with 9 tackles each. Johnson averaged 32.7 yards  on his six punts.

“Our time of possession advantage was huge against the Knights (30:27 to 17:33),” finished Coach Hennen. “We didn’t make any mistakes on offense which hurt us. The one fumble we had deep in our end was covered by Travis Holt on a real heads-up play.”

Next up: The Bluejackets home opener Friday, Sept. 7 (7 p.m.) vs. Sauk Rapids-Rice. The Storm, who moved into C-I’s former Section 8AAAAA this season, were tripped last week 28-27 by Fergus Falls.

Mississippi 8 Football

Cambridge-Isanti 1-0; Rogers 1-0; Monticello 1-0; Duluth East 1-0; St. Michael-Alb. 0-1; Big Lake 0-1; Buffalo 0-1; Duluth Denfeld 0-1.