October 9, 2003 at 11:20 a.m.
Big Lake 14
The execution was there when it had to be, still, you can’t blame Bill Weiss for grabbing some oxygen after the game.
Sloppy at times and brilliant at others, the Chisago Lakes football team used their big play offense to win their fourth game in a row and their fifth on the season, taking down Big Lake 27-14. The victory keeps the ‘Cats in the race for the conference crown, now one game off the lead with two remaining.
The most commonly used word in the first quarter was punt as both teams struggled to move the ball. The Wildcats most impressive drive of the quarter brought them down to the Big Lake 25 before the Hornets took the ball back with an interception. After 12 minutes of football, the score was 0-0.
Turnovers plagued the start of the second quarter. Mike Tschida opened it up with his first of three interceptions in the game, only to have Big Lake take it right back after recovering a Thomas Moody fumble. Things were getting tight for Chisago, too tight.
Finally, the Wildcats broke the plane of the end zone late in the second quarter for their first score of the game. Coming off a 186 yards, one touchdown performance the week before against Annandale, Aaron James padded his stats with a burst up the middle from five yards away, giving the ‘Cats a 7-0 lead.
However, Big Lake also used a late quarter boost to generate some offense. With time winding down towards halftime, the Hornets struck for a 20 yard touchdown run. After the extra point was blocked, Chisago Lakes took their 7-6 lead into the locker room.
Heading into the third, the tension was rising on the Wildcat sideline. Sure, they were in the lead, but most felt the lead should’ve been more.
They got their chance right away. Big Lake went to the air to open up the second half, music to the ears of Tschida. The junior quickly scooped up his second interception of the game, giving the ‘Cats an early break.
A break they couldn’t capitalize on. Facing fourth down from the Hornets 15 yard line, the Wildcats didn’t make it, marking the second time in the game where the Wildcats had gotten inside the Big Lake 25 and failed to score. The score remained 7-6.
Finally, late in the third quarter, a break.....or should I say a break-away. With 1:01 left on the clock, James rumbled his way through the line, then past the linebackers, then past the secondary, sprinting 42 yards for his second touchdown of the game. The score gave the Wildcats a 14-6 lead moving into the fourth.
It took the ‘Cats two more possessions to add to their lead. On the heels of a two touchdown performance last week, Todd Froberg produced the big play this time, running in from 52 yards away for Chisago’s third rushing touchdown of the game. The lead was 21-6.
Still, things were far from over. The Hornets used one play to respond with a long run of their own from 65 yards out. After the two point conversion was successful, the ‘Cats lead was back to seven.
Standing on the sidelines in shock was Moody. Convinced that the Wildcats needed to answer immediately, Moody talked with Marcus Burgin about what needs to come next. After the Hornets recovered the onside kick, the Wildcat defense took it right back with a fumble recovery of their own. Moody and company had their chance.
On the heels of a 30 minute delay because of an injury, Moody rolled right on the option and decided to keep it, weaving through defenders all the way down the sidelines. When the smoke cleared, Moody had sprinted 43 yards for the touchdown, his first of the season. It was the third rushing touchdown of the game spanning 40 yards or more for the Wildcats.
Now leading 27-14, Big Lake’s hopes were getting slimmer and slimmer by the second. Tschida eventually squashed them all together with another interception in front of the Hornet sideline. It was the junior’s third pick of the game, securing a 27-14 Chisago win in front of their homecoming crowd.
The hard fought battle pushed the ‘Cats record to 5-1 on the season, 4-1 in the Rum River conference. Up next, a road trip to Milaca before coming back home to play North Branch for the final game of the regular season.