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Football season ends in Apple Valley

The Hastings Raiders football team was not able to slow down the Apple Valley Eagles’ high-powered offense nor get much going offensively themselves Saturday, Oct. 28, in Apple Valley. The Raiders fell in a blowout 56-13 and had their season end after making it to the section semifinals for the fourth year in a row. Hastings finishes with a 3-7 overall record this season including the section playoffs.

The game did not start off on a good note for the Raiders as Apple Valley started with the ball and drove 57 yards in just four plays, taking a 7-0 lead when running back Kellan McKeag scored from 10 yards out. After Hastings was forced to punt, the Eagles were driving again until the Raiders’ defense forced a fumble that was recovered by junior Ben Streeter. However, Hastings was unable to take advantage and punted again. This time, Apple Valley scored again after a 75-yard drive capped by another McKeag touchdown. The Eagles led 14-0 with two minutes and 27 seconds left in the first quarter.

Hastings started at their own 26-yard line and continued into the second quarter. On a fourth-and-2 from the Apple Valley 30, senior quarterback Trey Rogers handed off to junior running back Corbin Leflay who stopped and launched a pass to junior wide receiver Noah Kullmann. It appeared Leflay had overthrown his receiver, but Kullmann was able to run under it and make a bobbling catch in the end zone for Hastings first score. After the successful trick play, the Raiders trailed Apple Valley 14-7 with 10:57 left in the first half.

The result of Hastings score was an even more determined Apple Valley. The Eagles scored on their next possession after a 39-yard touchdown pass, and after stopping Hastings scored on the next drive to take a 28-7 lead into halftime.

Hastings started with the ball in the second half and had a decent drive going. However, on fourth down just into Apple Valley territory, the Raiders were unable to convert a fake punt and turned the ball over on downs. From there, the Eagles’ quarterback, Tyler Cardella, scored on a 30-yard touchdown run to give Apple Valley a 35-7 lead with 7:14 left in the third quarter. Under four minutes later, the Eagles put the game out of reach with another score to make it 42-7 and extended that lead to 49-7 going into the fourth quarter.

After the score, Apple Valley made the questionable decision to try an onside kick, though there is some debate on whether it was just a poorly executed squib kick. However, Hastings recovered started putting in seniors and the reserves in the fourth quarter. The Raiders added another score on a 14-yard touchdown run by junior punter and quarterback Hunter Kazmierczak. Hastings missed the extra point, and with a running clock for the rest of the fourth quarter, the final was 56-13.

Outside of Leflay’s touchdown pass to Kullmann (which was Hastings’ first passing touchdown of the season) the Raiders struggled to pass the ball. Rogers was completed three passes on eight attempts for 24 yards and an interception. Kazmierczak’s only attempt fell incomplete.

The Raiders were able to run the ball at times, though much of that production came in the second half. Leflay led the team in rushing with 16 carries for 93 yards, while Rogers added 40 yards on 13 attempts and Kazmierczak had his 30-yard scoring run.

Kullmann had one receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown, while Streeter added another catch for 20 yards and Leflay had a 7-yard reception.

Defensively, while Hastings was able to force the one turnover by Streeter, they were unable to stop Apple Valley’s rushing attack. The Eagles ran for 388 yards and five touchdowns on just 33 carries and average more than 11 yards per carry. Cardella also threw for 75 yards and three touchdowns.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

(651) 319-4502
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