Rangers rain on Raiders' homecoming
In three plays, the Forest Lake Rangers covered 56 yards, scored a touchdown and took a 6-0 lead. Just five minutes had been played in Friday's homecoming game here in Hastings, and things didn't look good for the blue and gold.
It didn't take long, though, for the outlook to change. Hastings scored seven minutes later and took a 7-6 lead when Aaron Stoneberg completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Matt Anderson, and Dylan Nelson converted on the kick.
Forest Lake countered with a score, but the Raiders marched down the field and set up a first-and-goal from the Rangers' four yard line. Anderson scored again and Hastings was prepared to take the lead back, but a penalty was called on Hastings. That negated the score and moved Hastings back. No problem. Stoneberg connected on a long touchdown pass to Ellis Williams, and the Raiders were set to, again, take the lead.
Williams, though, was called for offensive pass interference, then called for a penalty after disputing the call.
The scores were wiped off the board, and instead of going into halftime with a 14-13 lead, Hastings went in with a 13-7 deficit.
Just as penalties played a big role in the first half, they played a big role in the second half, too.
Early in the second half, Hastings pinned Forest Lake deep in their own territory, forcing a punt. The punter kicked the ball out of bounds and Hastings prepared to take over with the ball in great field position at the Forest Lake 35 yard line. Hastings, though, was whistled for roughing the punter. The Rangers got the ball back and on their next play, J.T. Jurasin raced 72 yards down field for a touchdown.
Forest Lake went up 21-7 and went on to win 28-13.
"It was disappointing," Hastings coach Dana Strain said. "We had some penalties that killed us. We have to clean that up. We're making that a point of emphasis this week in practice."
Anderson had a big game all around, with 65 yards rushing, including a 30-yard score, and 23 yards through the air, including the touchdown.
"Matt had a big game for us," Strain said. "Matt is going to be our go-to guy now as our tailback. He runs hard, and he did a great job in pass protection as well. It was a big night for him."
Stoneberg completed 11 of 25 attempts for 137 yards. Derek Bane and Matt Anderson also completed passes.
Williams finished with four catches for 97 yards and he had a big kickoff return, too.
Tony Hammes had five catches for 74 yards.
Ryan Doffing had one catch.
Strain said the offensive line of Peter Schultz, Taylor Wasvick, Brandon Anderson, Jake Anderson and Isaac Eichmann had a good night, too.
On defense, Jake Swenson had a fumble recovery for the Raiders.
Alex Boyer was praised, too, in his return to the lineup after being out with an injury.
"He played very well," Strain said. "It was great to get him back out there."
Hastings plays at Woodbury on Friday night. The Royals are 2-4 on the season and are led by a very strong passing attack led by quarterback Jake Quast.
Hastings then gets back to work right away for a game here Wednesday, Oct. 20 against Stillwater.
Playoffs begin Oct. 26.