In the pre-season outlook, Cambridge-Isanti Coach Mike Hennen warned of the team speed Rogers can bring to the gridiron. That element was a major factor when the Royals defeated the Bluejackets 17-0 Oct. 17 to secure a tie for the Mississippi 8 championship with Monticello.
The loss dropped Cambridge-Isanti into the No. 2 seed for this week’s Section 7AAAAA playoffs. The Bluejackets (6-2) will host No. 3 Bemidji (6-3) in the semifinal game at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27.
The Lumberjacks hammered hapless Duluth Denfeld 40-14 in the 7AAAAA quarterfinals Oct. 23. Brady Schmidt returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown as the ‘Jacks went on to lead 27-0 after the first quarter. Bemidji will be dangerous since they are coming off a 2011 season finishing as the Class 4A runners-up.
Chisago Lakes (6-2), by virtue of a 24-21 win over Irondale and the C-I loss, got the No. 1 seed in the section. They will host No. 4 St. Francis who beat No. 5 Duluth East 35-13 Tuesday night.
The Bluejackets will need a stronger overall game than they showed in the conference showdown at Rogers to advance in the playoffs. Once again, the Royals stacked the box to take away C-I’s power running game. Fullback Chance Laidly was limited to 76 yards on 23 carries; his longest run of 13 yards came on the Jackets’ first series.
The Royals took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter which was all about field position after their punter spiraled a great kick to bury C-I at the 9 for its second possession. A three-and-out set up Rogers at the CI 33 which led to a 40-yard field goal by Kent Hoover.
The Jackets went nowhere on their next possession, and the next punt was nearly blocked. Rogers took over at the CI 31, and QB Connor Henderson quickly found a wide-open Parker Veith down the middle for a 31-yard scoring pass play.
The Jackets’ deepest penetration into Rogers’ territory came on their opening drive of the third quarter. On a 3rd-and-18, Travis Holt took in a pass and broke across midfield to the R 40, but Royals’ D-back Nate Weber made a heads-up play by ripping the ball from Holt for a turnover to end the threat.
Rogers drove the 60 yards on slick counter runs by Jake Owens to go up 17-0, with Weber diving in from the 1 yard line for the TD. The Jackets did not employ a hurry-up offense despite having the full fourth quarter to work with in order to cut into the 17-point deficit.
Rogers 17, Cambridge-Isanti 0
First Downs 8 14
Rushing 33/88 45/232
Passing 16/7/1 13/4/1
Passing Yds 61 35
Total Yds 149 267
Bluejacket Individual Stats
Rushing: Laidly 23/76; Thomas 6/15. Passing: Solberg 16/7/1- 61 yds. Receiving: Holt 5/42; Vavra 1/13; Swanson 1/6. Tackles: Holt 14, D.Johnson 12, DeBaere 10.5, Vavra 10.5, Miller 9, Gossen 8.5, Laidly 3.5, Solberg 3.5. Kicking: Rouse 1 kickoff 60 yds.; J.Johnson 8 punts 29.1 avg.
Mississippi 8 Football FINAL: Rogers 6-1, 7-1; Monticello 5-1, 7-1; Cambridge-Isanti 5-2, 6-2; St. Michael-Alb. 3-3, 5-3; Buffalo 3-3, 3-5; Duluth East 1-4, 2-6; Big Lake 1-5, 2-6; Duluth Denfeld 0-6, 0-8
Section 7AAAAA standings: Chisago Lakes 6-2; Cambridge-Isanti 6-2; Bemidji 5-3; Duluth East 2-6; St. Francis 1-7; Duluth Denfeld 0-8.