September 23, 2004 at 8:23 a.m.
Chisago Lakes 20
The first four minutes were like a nightmare for Bill Weiss and his Chisago Lakes football team. As the old saying goes, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Versus Princeton last Friday, in the first 240 seconds of the game, it all went wrong.
Let’s review....first of all, on the opening kick-off, Chisago Lakes senior Brian Arndt returned the kick, only to get hurt on the play. Arndt, the ‘Cats starting halfback, did not return the rest of the game.
Then, after a Devin Swanberg punt pinned the Tigers deep inside their own 10 yard line, on their first play from scrimmage. Princeton broke free with a 94-yard touchdown run, taking a quick 7-0 lead.
If that wasn’t enough, on the Wildcats next drive, on their first play of the drive, a fumble gave the ball right back to the Tigers. They scored five plays later, pushing their lead to 13-0. Chisago didn’t know what hit them.
“We pinned them deep, it was a great punt and a great job from our punt team. You couldn’t have asked for a better situation, but then we had a breakdown on defense; it just wasn’t a good situation,” remarked Weiss, head Chisago Lakes football coach. “It was a really frustrating way to start. Princeton definitely sent a message.”
Loud and clear.
“It think it was just bad luck. You look at that fumble for example, it wasn’t poor ball handling on our part, you just ask yourself, how did that happen?” replied Weiss. “Down 13-0, that puts you in a hole right away against a very good team. It certainly wasn’t where we wanted to be.”
Down 13-0, the ‘Cats answered back, delivering a message of their own with their first substantial drive down the field, ending with a Mike Tschida three-yard touchdown run, trimming the Princeton lead to 13-7.
“Once we scored it was a six point game. I think we were felling alright at that point,” added Weiss. “We just couldn’t get anything going defensively. That plus all of our turnovers, it made it hard for us to stop them.”
Unfortunately, the Tigers were far from finished, ending the first quarter of play with a bang on a 44-yard touchdown pass, moving the score to 19-7 after one quarter.
The Princeton lead continued to grow in the second quarter with two more Tiger touchdowns, one on the ground and the other through the air. Meanwhile, the Wildcats stalled, thanks in large part to three more turnovers. Princeton’s lead at halftime was 33-7.
“We just told the guys at halftime to forget about the score and play hard,” said Weiss. “At that point, we just wanted to make a game of it.”
And they did. While neither team scored in the third quarter, Chisago picked away at the lead in the fourth with two scores, both coming from Tschida. The first was a 64-yard touchdown run while the second was a 15-yard touchdown pass to Robbie Sandgren, making the score 33-20 with five minutes left.
Desperate for another crack at the end zone, Chisago got the ball back with time expiring but was not able to punch it in, closing out the 33-20 Princeton win. Despite the loss, the Wildcats ran into the locker room with an extra spring in their step, outscoring the Tigers 13-0 in the second half.
“We kept enough pressure on them to keep it a game. It was a moral victory for us,” remarked Weiss. “It’s pretty easy for a young team to just roll over when being down by so much but the kids didn’t quit. The way they played in the second half was certainly a positive.”
Look for the Wildcats to try and build on that second half when they host St. Michael Albertville this Friday in their homecoming game. Chisago and St. Michael are both tied for fifth in the conference at 1-2 overall.
“Homecoming is a great time, a fun event,” commented Weiss. “Our home atmosphere is just awesome. The kids always respond really well at home and it’s coming at a perfect time. We want to get back on track and build on that second half against Princeton.”
Game time Friday night is slated for 7 p.m.
Chisago Lakes 20
1 2 3 4 F
Chisago Lakes 7 0 0 13 20
Princeton 19 14 0 0 33
P- 94 yrd. TD run
(Kick good) 0-7
P- 2 yrd. TD run
(Kick failed) 0-13
CL- Tschida 3 yrd. TD run
(Kick good) 7-13
P- 44 yrd. TD rec.
(Kick failed) 7-19
P- 20 yrd. TD run
(2 pt. conversion good) 7-27
P- 10 yrd. TD rec.
(Kick failed) 7-33
CL- Tschida 64 yrd. TD run
(Kick failed) 13-33
CL- Sandgren 15 yrd. TD rec
(Kick good) 20-33
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