September 18, 2003 at 2:35 p.m.
St. Michael-Alb. 13
It was the last football game John Silver ever went to. Boy was he proud. The constant supporter and all-around sports fanatic, watched the Chisago Lakes Wildcats play one of their best games in recent memory, upsetting St. Michael-Albertville 17-13 last Friday night. It was like the ‘Cats had something a little extra that night against the Knights, some added inspiration. We now know why. John wouldn’t of had it any other way.
The Wildcats roared onto the field to start the game, controlling play with their defense. One week after surrendering 42 points to Foley, Chisago Lakes was ready to prove a point.
The ‘Cats struck first Kyle Hannah connected with a 15 yard field goal, giving the Wildcats a 3-0 lead. The advantage lasted around 30 seconds. On the ensuing kick-off, the Knights returner broke loose for 92 yards, erasing the lead in a matter of seconds. After the extra point sailed through, the St. Michael lead was pushed to 7-3 after the first quarter.
However, in the second, the Wildcats were ready to answer with a score of their own. After a Mike Tschida 15 yard scamper, Aaron James rattled off two consecutive runs, the second was a three yard touchdown, putting Chisago Lakes back in front 10-7.
Unfortunately, that gave enough time for St. Michael to fight back. A 27 yard pass play paved the way for the Knights on the ground as they used four plays to punch the ball in the end zone from seven yards away. The score jumped St. Michael back in front 13-10 at the half.
“You never want to give up a score right before the half or on special teams and we gave up both,” said Chisago Lakes head coach Bill Weiss. “But, our guys are experienced enough to see the big picture and not panic. Yes it was disappointing, but we knew we would come back. Nobody hit the panic button.”
Instead, the Wildcats opened up the second half by going back to the basics. Defense, defense, defense. They passed with flying colors.
As the Chisago defense shut down the Knights throughout the third quarter, the Wildcats offense got something going. On the heels of a costly turnover the drive before, the ‘Cats did some damage when they got the ball back.
Leading the way was senior Danny Reed who moved the chains with a first down run, then followed that up with runs of 14 and 47 yards. The 47 yard sprint brought him into the end zone. Chisago had their lead back, 17-13 heading to the fourth.
Defense remained key in the final quarter as the ‘Cats “D” controlled the clock while their offense ran it down. Still, the Knights were left with one more shot at the end.
St. Michael took to the air down the stretch, moving the chains with throws of 25 and 21 yards. Before you knew it, St. Michael was close to the goal line, real close. Standing at the Chisago Lakes 11 yard line, the Knights game winning pass attempt sailed through the back of the end zone as time expired. Somehow, some way, the Wildcats had held on to win. After the game, standing on the Chisago Lakes sidelines was John Silver. His smile was a mile wide.
“It was exciting right to the very end,” smiled Weiss. “We felt we had a pretty good grasp about what they were trying to do. We had a good group of guys on the field so I felt pretty comfortable when the game was on the line. You’re a lot more nervous as a fan than you are when you’re on the sidelines. It was more fun than anything.”
The script could not have been better for the Chisago Lakes defense who struggled the week before versus Foley. Needing a win, the unit responded with their best game of the season.
“Defensively, we had a great night. We held them to 173 total yards and a lot of those yards were in the fourth quarter through the air,” commented Weiss. “It might have been one of our better efforts since I’ve been here. Playing a team like that, as good as they are, and shutting them down was great. They really played well.”
On offense, Chisago Lakes racked up 213 yards, all on the ground. Reed led the rushing attack with 97 yard and a touchdown.
The win moved the ‘Cats record to 3-1 in the Rum River Conference with Princeton next on the road.
Chisago Lakes 17
St. Michael-Alb. 13
1 2 3 4 F
STMA 7 6 0 0 13
Chisago Lakes 3 7 7 0 17
CL- Hannah 15 yrd. Field Goal
ST- 92 yrd. kick-off return
(Kick good) 3-7
CL- James 3 yrd. TD run
(Kick good) 10-7
ST- 2 yrd. TD run
(Kick failed) 10-13
CL- Reed 47 yrd. TD run
(Kick good) 17-13
Chisago Lakes statistics
Tschida- 1-7, 0 yrds.
Reed- 14 rush, 97 yrds., TD
James- 7 rush, 53 yrds., TD
Tschida- 14 rush, 33 yrds.
Froberg- 8 rush, 30 yrds.
Hannah- 1 rush, 2 yrds.
Burgin- 1 rec., 0 yrds.