October 5, 2006 at 7:11 a.m.
Senior J.D. Ford returned the opening kickoff 17 yards to the Wildcat 36 yard line. Junior running back Brandon Mueller and junior fullback Jake Spehar led the Wildcats on a ten-play scoring drive capped off by Jennissen’s 10-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the game. Christian Swanberg’s extra point gave the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead.
Early on, it looked like the Hawks were going to make a game of it. Starting from their own 28 after the ensuing kickoff, they went 72 yards in nine plays, mostly through the air. A 12-yard touchdown pass on fourth down capped off the drive and tied the game at 7-7.
The Wildcats got the lead right back on a two-play drive. A 14-yard run by Spehar put the ball at midfield. On the next play, Jennissen called his own number again and thrilled the crowd with an electrifying 50-yard touchdown run to put the Wildcats up 14-7.
The Wildcats continued to rain on the Hawks’ parade. After a 20 yard loss on third-and-seven, the Hawks were forced to punt from their own 17 yard line. The Hawks seemingly punted out of danger and it looked like the Wildcats would start their next drive at midfield. But a penalty forced Cooper to re-kick, and disaster struck for the visitors. They ball squibbed off the side of the punter’s foot and went just three yards, giving the Wildcats a first down on the Hawk 15. Jennissen ran to the 1 on first down, and then carried it over the goal line for his third touchdown of the first quarter and a 21-7 Wildcat lead. Then the skies opened up and the rain was no longer figurative.
The Wildcats stopped the Hawks on their next possession early in the second quarter. The teams traded fumbles, and a Zach Sill interception put the ball at the Hawk 18. Junior running back Jon Lien ran 17 yards on first down, then plowed into the end zone to put the Wildcats up 28-7. Before the half ended, Jennissen scored on a seven yard run and threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Rob Wilson to put the Wildcats up 42-7 at the half.
The Hawks fumbled on their own 35 on the first drive of the third quarter. On the Wildcats’ first play of the second half, Mueller galloped 35 yards for another Wildcat touchdown. The Wildcats added another score midway through the third quarter as senior defensive back Chris “Magic Hands” Wille intercepted an errant Hawk pass and ran 21 yards to pay dirt. Wille, hampered early in the season by an injured thumb, has three interceptions in the Wildcats’ last three games.
The Hawks added a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats put an exclamation point on the victory on their last drive. A 35 yard run by junior fullback Mike Rosenthal put the ball on the Wildcat 48. On the last play of the game, backup quarterback Eric Reed, a junior, raced 52 yards for a touchdown to make the final score Chisago Lakes 62, Robbinsdale Cooper 15.
Jennissen led the Wildcats with 128 yards on 13 carries, and Mueller added 96 yards on ten carries as the Wildcats racked up 377 yards rushing for the game.
“Early on, it looked like it was going to be a close one’” said Wildcat head coach Bill Weiss. “We scored on the first drive. Then they came right back and marched down the field and scored in ten plays. But after that, things seemed to roll on all sides for us. We moved the ball on offense, shut them down on defense and got good special teams play.
“When the rain really started pouring, we were already up 21-7. Our guys seemed to be able to adapt, but the rain took Cooper out of what they normally do. Their offense relies on cutbacks, which were tough to execute on a sloppy field,” Weiss explained.
“Brian had a monster game for us. He made good reads and good decisions. That’s the beauty of our offense – you never know who it’s going to feature. One night it’s the quarterback, the next game it’s the fullbacks or the halfbacks. It depends on how the other team plays you. Tonight, our quarterback was the main guy for us.
“One of the keys to the game for us was getting four takeaways and turning the ball over just once ourselves. The interception by Sill and the fumble recoveries by L.T. Wright and Adam Gemuenden put us in great field position and led to short touchdown drives. And we scored the other touchdown directly on Wille’s interception. This was just one of those games when we really had things clicking. The offense got rolling, we took advantage of the takeaway and our special teams set up good field position. The combination of all of those things led to the game ending up as it did,” Weiss concluded.
The Wildcats (3-2 overall, 3-1 conference) travel to Columbia Heights this Friday, October 6, to take on the Hylanders (1-4 overall, 0-4 conference) at 7 p.m.
“The Hylanders struggled during the first half of the season. But they got their first win last Friday, so now they’ve had a taste of success. And it’s homecoming for them, which is always a special night. They’ll be rev’d up and will bring it to us hard. We’ll have to strap it on one more time, bring our game, and see what happens.”