Raider football wins fifth straight over Henry Sibley in season opener
Hastings’ season opener against Henry Sibley was a grind-it-out game fought in the trenches between two very good offensive lines. The Raiders won 13-6 over the Warriors thanks to a tremendous defensive effort that stifled Henry Sibley’s running game and slowed down their passing attack just enough to get stops.
The Raiders opened the game with a bang after the Warriors fumbled in their own territory on the opening drive of the game and Hastings recovered. Junior running back Corbin Leflay then scored on a 13-yard touchdown run and converted the extra point to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead.
The game slowed down as each team slugged it out until Henry Sibley was able to score on a 28-yard touchdown pass near the end of the first half, but they were unable to convert the extra point so Hastings led 7-6 at half.
Midway through the third quarter senior quarterback Trey Rogers scored on a 10-yard touchdown run but they failed to convert the extra point so they led 13-6.
After being pinned inside their 10 yard-line near the start of the fourth quarter, Hastings went on a drive that last over seven minutes and 80-plus yards. Though they failed to score after having a field goal blocked (which they recovered and nearly scored on anyways), it pinned Henry Sibley inside their own 20 with just two minutes left in the game. While the Warriors were able to sustain a drive, an illegal hands to the face penalty forced their comeback drive to stall and they turned it over on downs, allowed Hastings to run out the clock.
Senior captain T.J. Pottinger said that the win over Henry Sibley will help give them confidence for the rest of the season.
“Just knowing that we can grind it out,” Pottinger said. “Especially in the fourth quarter, if a team is coming at us and we’re winning, we know we can stop them now. We know we can win the close games.”
Hastings ran the ball 44 times for 249 yards and two touchdowns and attempted just two passes. Leflay rushed 17 times for 78 yards and a touchdown, junior Trey Petrich ran five times for 92 yards (including breaking away for 69 yards to set up Rogers score) and Rogers himself ran for over 40 yards.
Defensively, the Raiders forced two turnovers, the fumble on the opening drive and an interception by Pottinger in the first half. Pottinger also was all over the field and most likely had double-digit tackles on the game. He attributed that success to the week’s preparation.
“Mostly the coaches told me what to watch in film and they put me in the perfect spot,” he said. “They lined me up in the exact spot and they (Henry Sibley) seemed to run the ball at me a lot. So most of it is the coaches putting me in the right spot. I’d much rather they run right at me than away from me.”
Hastings travels to Hill-Murray next Friday, Sept. 8.