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Football: Raiders rally to win homecoming game

Tony Hammes (No. 7) fields a kickoff during Friday night's game against Roseville. Dan Guelle is pictured on the left. Hastings fell behind 20-0 before rallying for four second-half touchdowns to beat Roseville and improve to 3-2 on the season.

Now that's a homecoming game!

The Hastings football team rallied in the rain from a 20-0 third-quarter deficit to beat Roseville Friday night, 27-20.

The game certainly didn't start well for Hastings, as the Raiders surrendered 13 first-quarter points. At halftime, down 13-0, Hastings coach Dana Strain simply said he was "not very pleased."

And things just got worse. Less than four minutes into the third quarter, Roseville scored again to take a 20-0 lead. It didn't look good.

"We weren't very happy at halftime," Strain said. "We came out and had another poor defensive series, probably our worst of the game. It really didn't look promising. What we talked about at halftime didn't carry over.

"We needed something to get us going."

Hastings found that something on its next drive, as the team marched down the field and scored on a touchdown pass from Mike Hill to Nick Gmiterko. It covered 17 yards.

"We had a nice scoring drive to get us on the scoreboard," Strain said. "That gave us a bit of life at that point."

Tom Ling kicked the extra point and the score was 20-7.

Strain knew, though, that the score would matter little if Hastings couldn't stop Roseville.

But the Hastings defense rose to the occasion and stopped Roseville.

The Raiders scored another touchdown after a nice drive, again on a pass from Hill to Gmiterko, this one covering 15 yards.

Ling converted the PAT and Hastings trailed 20-14.

On Roseville's next possession, a fumbled exchange put the ball on the ground. Hastings senior linebacker Bryan Schiefelbein grabbed the ball and rumbled downfield with it. He got all the way down to the Roseville one-yard line where he was tackled.

Matt Anderson ran the ball in from there to tie the game 20-20. Ling's extra point attempt was no good, so the score remained tied at 20.

It turned out that wouldn't matter at all.

On Roseville's next possession, Hastings' Ryan Doffing intercepted a pass to give Hastings the ball back.

And, again, Hill and Gmiterko connected for a touchdown with just 1:15 left to play. Their third and final hookup covered 30 yards. Ling kicked the extra point, and Hastings won 27-20.

"It was quite a game," Strain said. "We had a lot of kids who made a lot of plays. There were big plays all over the place.

"I don't think I've ever been part of a game quite like that one. "I've been part of some unusual games, some fun ones and some memorable ones. This one will certainly go down as one of the all-timers. Coming back from 20 points down in the third quarter? I'm very proud of the kids for hanging in there and still believing and still fighting."

Among the players with strong games was junior Nick Bachman. He didn't start, but came in for the second half and "provided numerous strong defensive plays," Strain said.

Schiefelbein's first varsity start was a big one, what with the fumble recovery and a couple other plays.

The offensive line had a strong second half, Strain said

"Our offensive line was really good in the second half," he said. "They made some adjustments at halftime and just played much better in the second half."

Hill completed nine of his 11 pass attempts for 126 yards.

On the ground, Anderson gained 61 yards on 21 carries.

Gmiterko had six catches for 93 yards. Peter Schultz had one catch for 14 yards and Dan Guelle had two for 19.

The win gives Hastings a 3-2 overall record. The other two Hastings wins have come over East Ridge and Park.

Vs Forest Lake

Hastings plays at Forest Lake Friday night. The Rangers have a 1-4 record, but they've endured a brutal first five games on the scheduled.

Forest Lake lost to Cretin-Derham Hall in the first game, 27-16, before beating Roseville in their second game, 33-15.

The Rangers then lost to Stillwater (35-0), Woodbury (39-12) and White Bear Lake (35-14).

"Literally, they've lost to the best teams in our league," Strain said. "Frankly, our schedule has been more favorable than theirs. They are a much better football team than their record indicates.

"We have to make sure we don't look at their record and think we're going to beat them, just because. That's not going to happen. WE're going to have to play well."