Football: Raiders fall to Forest Lake, Woodbury
For the second week in a row, the Hastings boys football team entered the locker room at halftime facing a big deficit.
Two weeks ago, the Raiders were able to rally for a thrilling come-from-behind win over Roseville.
Last week, though, Hastings wasn't able to do that.
The Raiders fell behind to Forest Lake, 32-0, and ended up losing 44-13.
The Rangers entered the game with a 1-4 record. Hastings, meanwhile, came in with a 3-2 mark. The records, though, were somewhat deceiving. Forest Lake played a very tough first five games and ended up losing to the top teams in the Suburban East Conference, including Stillwater, Cretin-Derham Hall and Woodbury.
Hastings coach Dana Strain knew the game would be a tough one, and he was right.
"They're better than their record indicates," he said. "But, we didn't play well, either. That was the biggest disappointment in the game. It was one of those nights. We didn't play well, and they did."
With 9:36 remaining in the first quarter, Forest Lake scored its first touchdown, coming on a six-play, 65-yard drive. A two-point conversion gave the Rangers a quick 8-0 lead.
Less than four minutes later, Forest Lake scored again, this time on a four-play, 48-yard drive. Another two-point conversion, and it was 16-0 Forest Lake.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same. Forest Lake capped off a 16-play, 76-yard drive with a touchdown run and a two-point conversion. And, one more touchdown run from Kevin Nelson, and one more two-point conversion, made it 32-0 at the half. Nelson had three touchdowns.
"We weren't very aggressive to start the football game off," Strain said. "That was something we did execute better in the second half. We gave ourselves an opportunity to be competitive in the second half. We didn't do that in the first half.
"We just weren't ready to play, for whatever reason. That falls on the coaches as much as it does anybody else. We had opportunities when we looked on film where we were in position and could have had some nice defensive plays. We consistently missed those opportunities in the first half."
Hastings opened the scoring in the second half when Dan Guelle scored from 11 yards out. A two-point attempt failed, and Hastings trailed 32-6.
Forest Lake scored just seconds later, though, on a 53-yard run. Early in the fourth quarter, the Rangers added another big play, scoring on a 51-yard touchdown run. Zach Riedeman scored on both long runs, and he, too, finished with three touchdowns for the Rangers, who rushed for a total of 361 yards on Hastings.
The final touchdown of the game was scored by Hastings. Matt Anderson completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Nick Gmiterko. Tom Ling converted on the point-after-touchdown.
"We did perform better in the second half," Strain said.
Hastings had a big play when Tom Sieh recovered a fumble and ran it back for a touchdown. The return was called back, though, following an illegal block.
Sieh was the rushing leader for Hastings, earning 64 yards on three carries. Guelle had 52 yards on nine carries, Anderson had 38 yards on 11 carries, Jake Berens had 17 yards on four carries and Tyler Mellick had 16 yards on eight carries.
Tony Hammes had one reception for 29 yards.
Hastings lost to Woodbury on Wednesday night, 42-28.
Touchdowns were scored by Mike Hill, Nick Gmiterko (two) on receptions from Hill and Tom Sieh.
Sieh rushed for 114 yards on 18 carries to lead the Raiders on the ground.
Gmiterko had six catches for 89 yards.
Woodbury rushed for a total of 370 yards.
The regular season concludes at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, with a game at Stillwater.
The first playoff game for Hastings will be Oct. 27.