Featuring the hard running of Max Gust, St. Francis handed Cambridge-Isanti its first loss of the season in a 27-18 battle on the Sept. 20 Bluejacket Homecoming evening.
The Saints set the tone right off the bat by recovering an onside kick on the opening kickoff. Going through the air initially, they cashed in when QB Tyler Pallum hit a wide open Blake Moreno for a four-yard TD.
C-I went three-and-out on its opening series, and the Saints rolled 78 yards to quickly make it 14-0. A key play in the drive was wideout Dylan Schroeder’s catch-and-run to pick up a 3rd-and-19, and Gust sprinted in from 23 yards out for the TD.
The Bluejacket offense clicked on the ensuing possession, driving 78 yards on the legs of Hunter Vavra, Max Knowlton and Kyle Chromy. Vavra swept left to pick up a 3rd-and-7 to reach the Saint 25, then Chromy finished it off with a five-yard burst off the left side. The extra-point snap was muffed, keeping the score 6-14.
D-back John Solberg got the home crowd rocking when he next picked off a deflected pass, received a couple good blocks, and went the distance on a 40-yard return. Reegan Lane, Vavra and Solberg all had strong defensive plays to snuff the Saints’ last chance before halftime.
Late in the third quarter, St. Francis went to Gust up the middle on several chewing runs, and his seven-yard TD moved his team ahead 20-12 just into the fourth quarter.
C-I came back with a strong drive featuring Vavra left sweeps, but a 4th down pass was batted away, stalling the march at the SF 25. The Saints then went right back to running Gust and fullback Dom DeJarlais up the middle. A great play fake sprung Gust for his 10-yard hat trick touchdown and a 27-12 lead with 2:02 to go.
Keeping battling, Solberg scrambled 51 yards on C-I’s next play. Following a Chromy 12-yard reception, Solberg next ran in a five-yard TD, but the two-point pass was defended well by SF’s Nate Svihel, keeping it a two-possession score. The Saints then covered the onside kick, and their student section stormed the field when the final seconds ticked away.
The two teams could very well meet again in the Section 7AAAAA playoffs.
“I thought we battled back into the game after getting down early 14-0 and then closing that gap to 12-14 before the half. This group of players will never give up and expects to win. It was a fantastic game, but we came up on the wrong end of it. I thought we made some improvements in pass defense, but had way too many missed tackles to beat a good team like St. Francis,” said C-I Coach Mike Hennen.
This Friday, the Bluejackets head to Rogers for a huge Mississippi 8 Blue game on the Royals’ Homecoming night.
“Rogers has been putting up a ton of points. We need to slow them down on offense and control the time of possession when we’re on offense to win this game,” forecast Coach Hennen. “I think we match up with them well, and it is going to be a great game.”
St. Francis 27, Cambridge-Isanti 18
First Downs 18 11
Rushing 43/225 37/223
Passing 4/1/0 17/8/1
Passing Yds 12 83
Total Yds 235 308
Bluejacket Individual Stats
Rushing: Vavra 15/110; Solberg 5/61, TD; Chromy 12/41, TD; Knowlton 4/20. Passing: Solberg 4/1/0- 12 yds. Receiving: Chromy 1/12. Tackles: Kuehn 10, Knowlton 10, Lane 7, Simon 7, DeBaere 5, Chromy 5, Nelson 4. Kicking: Schintz 2 punts 21.0 avg.
Mississippi 8 Football: Blue Div.: Rogers 3-0, 4-0; St. Michael-Alb. 2-0, 4-0; St. Francis 2-2, 2-2; Cambridge-Isanti 1-1, 3-1; Buffalo 0-2, 1-3; Duluth East 0-3, 0-4. Red Div.: Chisago Lakes 3-0, 4-0; Monticello 2-0, 3-1; Princeton 2-2, 2-2; North Branch 1-1, 1-3; Big Lake 0-2, 0-4; Duluth Denfeld 0-3, 0-4.