September 25, 2003 at 1:34 p.m.
Bill Weiss, Chisago Lakes head football coach, doesn’t believe that a perfect game is ever possible in the game of football. But, he’ll also tell you that last Friday’s 26-14 win over Princeton was pretty close.
“Yah, it was pretty close,” said Weiss. “You can always go back and say we should’ve done this or we should’ve done that, but that was a great game. We were playing a pretty good team. We played very, very well. All across the board, our guys got it done.”
Princeton is a pretty good team. Going into last Friday’s match-up, the Tigers were labeled the team to beat. Standing at 3-0, Princeton had outscored their opponents 109-29 through the first three weeks of the season, catching the eyes of football fans from around the state. That showed in the polls this past week when the Tigers were rated 10 in class 4A. The Wildcats changed all of that.
Behind their home crowd, Princeton marched down the field on their opening drive, punching the ball into the end zone on a three yard quarterback sneak. With the extra point, Princeton had a 7-0 lead after one.
Hoping to turn things around, Weiss and his staff turned to the Wildcats running game to turn the tides, specifically, the Chisago offensive line. They responded.
Working with good field position, a two yard run by Aaron James opened up the second quarter followed by a 14 yard run by Danny Reed. Two plays later, Reed found some room off the right side of the line, breaking loose for a 12 yard touchdown run. With the kick, the game was tied 7-7.
The Wildcat defense kept the momentum going. In the second, Princeton’s offense started to answer back. Two big plays of 31 yards and 26 yards put the Tigers at first and goal, looking to re-take the lead. After Princeton was stuffed on three consecutive runs, the Wildcat defense forced a fumble on fourth and goal, recovering the ball inside their own 10 yard line. The momentum continued to build.
Behind a dominating offensive line, the ‘Cats began to drive. Reed, Todd Froberg, and Kyle Hannah continued to move the chains on the ground with run after run, eventually putting the Wildcats at first and goal with time winding down in the half. After a Chisago time-out, a Froberg sweep to the left put the senior in the end zone with seconds left to play, capping a 17 play drive. With the kick, the Wildcats had a 14-7 lead at the half.
As Chisago marched onto the field to start the third quarter, they were looking to shut the door. After Princeton fumbled the ball back to the Wildcats to start the third, they did.
The ‘Cats unleashed another jaw dropping drive, this time stretching 11 plays. On third and four from the 23 yard line, Mike Tschida found a massive hole on the right side of the line and sprinted to paydirt for a 20-6 lead. The Chisago Lakes running game was too much.
“As a unit, the offensive line played really well,” remarked Weiss. “Princeton was a tough team, rated number 10 in state, and they went to the state tourney last year. Our O-line had a great surge and we had some running backs that ran hard. Kyle Hannah was hitting the holes hard. Often, their safety had to come up and make the tackle and whenever that happens, you know your running game is working. It was great the way they all played.”
After the Tigers fought back to pull within 20-14, the Wildcat offensive line made one final statement. Driving in the fourth quarter, Reed broke loose again, this time scampering 71 yards for his second touchdown of the game. The run was Reed’s second touchdown run of more than 45 yards over the last two weeks, catapulting Chisago in front for good.
Jim Achartz and the Wildcat defense did the rest, causing three turnovers alone in the fourth quarter, two on Achartz interceptions, putting the final touches on a 26-14 win.
“That might have been one of our best regular season games we’ve played in a couple of years,” commented Weiss. “We wanted to limit their offense, that was our plan. A good way to do that is by controlling the ball. Our best defense is our offense, and to be able to control the ball like we did and eat up the clock, that was really fun to see. Overall, all across the board, I thought we played great.”
As a team, Chisago Lakes finished the game with 279 yards rushing on 49 carries compared to 196 yards on the ground for Princeton. Reed led all rushers with 146 yards, the most this season.
Defensively, although sometimes quiet, Chisago Lakes was anything but. The Wildcats “D” has now allowed 69 points this season but 42 of those came in week two versus Foley. Take away that, and the ‘Cats defense is allowing 6 point seven points per game.
“Foley was so unlike our normal defense and I knew that when the game was being played,” said Weiss. “The last couple of games is more like it, that’s the way I thought our defense would play this season. We still have a long way to go but we’re making progress every time we step onto the field.”
Now 3-1, Chisago Lakes is tied with Foley for second place in the conference, behind only North Branch.
Chisago Lakes 26
1 2 3 4 F
Chisago Lakes 0 14 6 6 26
Princeton 7 0 0 7 14
P- 3 yrd. TD run
(Kick good) 0-7
CL- Reed 12 yrd. TD run
(Kick good) 7-7
CL- Froberg 4 yrd. TD run
(Kick good) 14-7
CL- Tschida 23 yrd TD run
(Kick failed) 20-7
P- 14 yrd. TD pass 20-14
CL- Reed 71 yrd. TD run 26-14
Chisago Lakes statistics
Tschida- 1-1, 23 yrds.
Reed- 17 rush, 146 yrds., 2 TD
Hannah- 14 rush, 57 yrds.
Froberg- 5 rush, 31 yrds., TD
James- 5 rush, 22 yrds.
Tschida- 4 rush, 17 yrds., TD
Moody- 3 rush, 3 yrds.
Ficocello- 1 rush, 3 yrds.
Froberg- 1 rec., 23 yrds.
Chisago Lakes- 302 yards
(279 rush, 23 pass)
Princeton- 325 yards
(196 rush, 129 pass)
Chisago Lakes- 0