Football: Raiders beat East Ridge, 14-12, in season's second game
It wasn't perfect. Hastings didn't dominate. Hastings didn't put East Ridge away when they had the chance.
But in the end, it counts for just as much.
It was, after all, a win. Hastings beat the new East Ridge Raptors Friday night at McNamara Stadium at Todd Field, 14-12.
"We're excited we got a win," coach Dana Strain said. "Defensively, I thought we played well. Offensively, we played well, but we had a hard time finishing drives. If we can clean that up, we like the direction we are headed in."
East Ridge took the lead in the second quarter on a short touchdown run. They missed the extra-point attempt, and led 6-0.
Hastings countered with a nice drive capped off by a 12-yard touchdown run by sophomore Tyler Mellick. It was his first varsity touchdown.
Tom Ling added an extra point and Hastings led 7-6.
The Raiders then went on another nice drive, this one spanning eight plays and 77 yards right at the end of the first half. Tony Hammes caught a touchdown pass from Matt Anderson and Ling booted another PAT through the uprights to give Hastings the 14-6 lead.
In the fourth quarter, East Ridge added a touchdown and went for the two-point conversion to tie it.
Hastings defensive back Dan Guelle broke up the pass attempt, and Hastings held on to the lead.
"That was a huge play by Dan," Strain said.
The Raptors got the ball back one more time. They were stopped, thanks in large part to a big sack on third down by Tom Sieh.
Strain said Ryan Doffing had a couple big tackles during the game, as did Jake Berens.
Theo Schroeder had a fumble recovery for Hastings.
Sieh had eight carries for 50 yards. Matt Anderson had six carries for 27 yards, Dan Guelle had six carries for 17 yards, Tyler Mellick had four carries for 26 yards, Berens had one carry for two yards and Brian Yates had two carries for one yard.
Anderson completed 10 of 17 attempts for 110 yards and a touchdown.
"I thought he played fairly well," Strain said of Anderson. "Matt has done a nice job for us. We didn't turn it over, and a lot of credit for that goes back to the quarterback position."
Hammes led Hastings in receptions and yards with six catches for 72 yards. Nick Gmiterko had one catch for 26 yards. Peter Schultz had one reception for six yards, Mellick had a catch for three yards and Guelle had a catch for three yards.
East Ridge showed the Raiders all kinds of different looks defensively, including some very aggressive blitzes.
"They were bringing eight guys at some times," Strain said. "Our offensive line performed very well. We protected the quarterback quite well, considering they were bringing so much pressure."
Linemen Blake Reynolds, Eric Best, Jordan Denardo, P.J. Mike, Jake Cox and tight end Peter Schultz got a lot of credit from Strain for their efforts.
Hastings will play at Park of Cottage Grove in a 7 p.m. game Friday. The Wolfpack is off to an 0-2 start with a 35-15 loss to Stillwater and a 34-26 loss to No. 8-ranked Woodbury.
"I've seen both of their films," Strain said. "In both of those games, they've been very competitive. In each of those games, they moved the football pretty well."
The natural rivalry between Park and Hastings is as strong as ever, and that should certainly add to the atmosphere Friday.
"It's a big rivalry for Hastings," Strain said. "Our kids get up for Park week in every sport."
The Wolfpack runs an option, much like White Bear Lake, which Hastings lost to in the season opener, 35-18.
Hastings will continue to emphasize turnovers -- not having any of their own, and forcing some upon the Wolfpack.
In the season opener, Hastings turned the ball over three times and lost. In week two, the Raiders forced one turnover and won.
"We'd still like to generate more turnovers," Strain said. "Against Park, if we can do that, it would be a huge plus."