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Raptors too much for Raiders

Hastings senior Eric McCarthy looks for room to run after intercepting a pass during Friday night's game at East Ridge. (Rivertown newspaper group photo by Tom Carothers)1 / 3
Hastings quarterback Aaron Stoneberg looks over the defense at Friday's game, which was played through rain. (Rivertown newspaper group photo by Tom Carothers)2 / 3
Hastings senior Matt Anderson makes a tackle against an East Ridge opponent during Friday's game. Anderson also played on offense and scored a touchdown for the Raiders. (Rivertown newspaper group photo by Tom Carothers)3 / 3

In the first week of the season, the Hastings boys football team played White Bear Lake even in the first quarter, heading into the second at 0-0.

In week No. 2, Hastings trailed East Ridge just 7-0 after one quarter.

By halftime, though, each game looked much, much different.

Against the Bears, Hastings allowed 21 second-quarter points and trailed 21-0 at the half.

Against the Raptors, Hastings allowed 21 second-quarter points and trailed 28-0 at the half. Hastings lost both games, including Friday's 42-14 loss at East Ridge.

"We didn't play well defensively in the second quarter," Hastings coach Dana Strain said. "We gave up some points there in the second quarter, where if we could have held up a little bit better, we could have stayed more competitive and got it to halftime. That would have been a key for us. We just didn't do that and we let it slip away."

Hastings wasn't able to hang on to the ball for long when it had possessions, further contributing to the challenging night on defense.

"Offensively, we struggled throughout the night," Strain said. "We are just having a hard time right now, offensively. We'll keep working at it."

East Ridge built a 42-0 lead before Hastings found the end zone.

"They made more plays than we did on both sides of the ball," Strain said. "They're a good football team and we have to give them a lot of credit. We'll go back to the drawing board and get ready for this week."

Hastings got on the board in the third quarter when Ellis Williams caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Aaron Stoneberg.

Williams had a strong game in the first week of the season, and backed it up with another good performance against the Raptors, Strain said.

"This is two weeks in a row for Ellis," Strain said. "Clearly, he's one of the top guys on the field for us. That's exciting. He's only a junior. He, physically, looks the part. It's clear that we have to find ways to get him the football. If we can do that, he's going to make some things happen."

Williams had also scored another touchdown, but it was called back because of an illegal block.

Matt Anderson also scored for the Raiders. He ended up with five carries and 52 yards on the night.

Anderson has played some quarterback and some running back for the Raiders, but is being used primarily on defense this season. Either side of the ball, he's one of the team's top players, Strain said.

"He definitely is one of our best players on defense," Strain said. "We had some other guys who were able to do it offensively, so we didn't have to ask him to go both ways all the time. With injuries, we are no long able to do that. We've asked him to come across and help us on the offensive side of the ball as well."

Sophomore quarterback Alex Wiese was called up for his first varsity action with the team, and got in the game in the second half. He connected with junior wide receiver Dylan Nelson for a number of completions.

"Alex played well at quarterback," Strain said. "He did a nice job. He and Dylan hooked up a number of times. That was encouraging to see, and fun for a couple young guys to get in there and have some success."

Defensively, Hastings had a strong night from Eric McCarthy, who had an interception.

Vs Park

Hastings plays host to Park Friday night.

The Wolfpack has an 0-2 record on the season.

They lost to Stillwater, 35-0, and to Woodbury, 33-7.

"They're a hard-working football team that has been competitive through the first half of their two games," Strain said. "Like us, they're anxious to get a win, for sure. We're looking forward to it. It's a big rivalry and the kids are excited about it. It's almost like a second homecoming game."