Playing punishing football on both sides, Cambridge-Isanti upped its record to 2-0 by smacking Sauk Rapids 21-6 in the Sept. 7 home opener. The Bluejacket offensive line created holes for impressive running from fullback Chance Laidly and wingback Travis Holt which led the way to victory.
C-I picked up steam after blocking a Storm field attempt early in the second quarter. The offense drove 85 yards, with Holt’s no-quit running featured on multiple sweep-rights. Laidly pounded in on a right-trap from 11 yards for the team’s first touchdown of the season at the 6:15 mark of the stanza.
“We made our blocks and just took it to them. We just worked as a whole unit,” described Laidly post-game. “We love each other. I think that works.”
The 7-0 lead stood through halftime, then the Jackets took advantage of a short field as Holt scored from 7 yards out to make it 14-0. He also had a long sweep run off that same play which reached the Storm 11.
“That’s our 121 Sweep. That’s actually the second play we put in the playbook every year,” described Holt. “We came out in the second half with a little more energy in the second half. When we got the ball we were able to drive down the field. Our linemen understood the defense a little better, and we were able to pick up the blocks. We had green grass to run for.”
Middle linebacker Kyle Chromy forced and recovered a SR fumble on the next series, and the Jackets cashed in again on a 6-yard Holt sweep for a 21-0 edge. Laidly pounded a Storm defensive back on a crushing run which set up Holt’s score.
“I just try to always be pumped. I feel like I play better when I’m all riled up,” said co-captain Laidly. “That’s how I play. It feels so good to be 2-0. We took weight off our shoulders with the first win, and now we’re just moving forward.”
John Solberg followed by picking off his third pass of the game. The Storm continued to go to the air, moving downfield and scoring on an 11-yard QB keeper by Joel Haller. Following the cover of an onside kick attempt, the Jackets wore the clock while driving to the SR 1, but coolly let time run out as opposed to punching in an unnecessary final TD.
“We played good defense in that first half, but we weren’t flying around. We weren’t taking care of stuff,” said C-I Head Coach Mike Hennen. “I thought the boys really did a nice job in the second half. ‘Intensity! Intensity! Intensity’ That’s what we left the locker room with, and the boys picked it up real good in that second half.”
“Whenever we need a big stop, there’s always Gossen or ‘Day Walker’ to stuff up the middle. DeBaere is always snagging someone with one hand on the outside, or Weylin’s wrapping up someone with his long spaghetti arms. We seemed to have decent coverage by us D-back guys. We were a little shaky on that one drive (allowing a floating 3rd-and-16 completion deep in Sauk’s end), but we’re trying to rotate new guys in and get comfortable with our coverage.”
• Next up: The Bluejackets head to 2-0 Monticello Sept. 14. The Magic are featuring a power running game of their own this early season.
Cambridge-Isanti 21, Sauk Rapids 6
First Downs 19 15
Rushing 49/311 26/86
Passing 3/1/1 19/12/3
Passing Yds 7 115
Total Yds 318 201
Bluejacket Individual Stats
Rushing: Laidly 28/143, TD; Holt 14/107, 2 TD; Thomas 3/52; Solberg 2/6. Passing: Solberg 3/1/1- 7 yds. Receiving: Holt 1/7. Tackles: Vavra 10, Laidly 7.5, Gossen 6 (sack), Holt 5.5, Kuehn 5, Swanson 5, Iglesias 4 (1.5 sacks). Kicking: Rouse 3/3 X-pts, 4 kickoffs 55.3 avg; Johnson 2 punts 30.5 avg, 1 inside 20.
Mississippi 8 Football
Monticello 2-0, 2-0; Cambridge-Isanti 1-0, 2-0; Rogers 1-0, 2-0; Duluth East 0-1, 1-1; St. Michael-Alb. 1-1, 1-1; Big Lake 0-1, 0-2; Buffalo 0-1, 0-2; Duluth Denfeld 0-1, 0-2.