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Raiders’ football goes 1-1 in sections, beats Henry Sibley but falls to Apple Valley

Joey Stricker (No. 35) tackles a Henry Sibley player assisted by Nick Blackford (No. 8). Also pictured are Josh Miser (No. 85), Trey Rogers (No. 7) and Nathaniel Wiese (No. 11). PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH WASVICK1 / 8
Nathaniel Wiese comes down with the catch against the Henry Sibley defender during Hastings' section playoff win. PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH WASVICK.2 / 8
Josh Miser tackles the Henry Sibley quarterback as he attempts a pass during the Raiders' victory. PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH WASVICK.3 / 8
Anthony Fraser and a host of Raiders tackle the Apple Valley runner as Noah Bzoskie looks on. PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH WASVICK.4 / 8
Alex O'Connor (No. 39), Nick Blackford (No. 8), John Cole (No. 60), and Trey Rogers (No. 7) defend against an Apple Valley play. PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH WASVICK.5 / 8
Colin Sieh recovers a fumble during the game against Apple Valley. Also pictured is Noah Kullman. PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH WASVICK.6 / 8
Hastings trips up the Apple Valley ball carrier during their section playoff loss to the Eagles. PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH WASVICK.7 / 8
Jack Tousignant tries to stop the Apple Valley quarterback during Saturday's game. PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH WASVICK.8 / 8

Hastings Raiders’ football ended its season Saturday after going 1-1 in section playoffs. On Tuesday, Oct. 25, the Raiders beat fifth seed Henry Sibley at home 43-22, but then they fell to the first seed Apple Valley Eagles on Saturday, Oct. 29, 28-21. Hastings finishes the season with a 5-5 overall record after having taken fifth in the East Metro Red sub-district.

Henry Sibley

Hastings used a spectacular second half to blow out the Warriors 43-22 in the first round of section playoffs. The first half was back and forth between the two teams, with Henry Sibley leading 16-14 at halftime until the Raiders exploded for 29 points in the second half.

Running back Ovie Embu started off the scoring late in the first quarter with a 81-yard touchdown run to put the Raiders up 7-0. However, the Warriors responded with a touchdown of their own at the end of the first quarter on a 27-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion to take an 8-7 lead. Henry Sibley then added another score midway through the second quarter to go up 16-7. The Raiders were able to strike back at the end of the half with another touchdown from Embu, this time a seven-yard touchdown run to only be down 16-14.

As back and forth as the first half was, Hastings came out of the halftime firing on all cylinders, both offensively and defensively. Quarterback Colin Kummer broke away for an 85-yard touchdown run just minutes into the half and Embu ran in the two-point conversion to put Hastings up 22-16. The Raiders’ defense really started to play well, forcing a Warrior turnover on downs which Hastings immediately capitalized on when Embu scored his third touchdown of the game on a 69-yard shovel pass from Kummer. With the score now 28-16, cornerback Colin Sieh grabbed an interception and returned it to inside the Henry Sibley red zone. Embu added his fourth touchdown of the game on a five yard run to put Hastings up 36-16 at the end of the third quarter.

Hastings sealed the game early on the fourth after Kummer completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jake Brake, with the Raiders going ahead 43-16. Henry Sibley was able to score at the end of the game to make the final score, 43-22.

Embu ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries, Kummer added 96 yards and a touchdown on six carries and Clay Harris carried the ball eight times for 34 yards. Kummer completed three passes on six attempts for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Jake Brake, Embu and Nathaniel Wiese each had one reception, Brake’s and Wiese’s for touchdowns. Sieh had his interception and Sam Gantman had a fumble recovery.

Head coach Dana Strain said he was very happy with how his team played against the Warriors.

“I was very impressed with our kids, especially since we were playing Henry Sibley for the second time,” Strain said. “We played as well in the second half as we have played all year and probably as well as I’ve seen a Hastings team play in a while.”

Apple Valley

The game against Apple Valley was hard fought, especially in the first half where both teams went back and forth.

Once again the Raiders struck first on a big play from Embu, this time a 75-yard touchdown run to put Hastings up 7-0. After Kummer fumbled at the Eagles’ 35, Apple Valley responded with a 13-yard touchdown run of their own by running back Mario Lewis.

To start the second quarter, Hastings struck again on a seven yard touchdown pass from Kummer to Cody Leflay to go up 14-7. Right before the half, the Eagles tied the game after quarterback Noah Sanders scrambled for a 27-yard touchdown on a broken play. The game was tied 14-14 at half.

In the second half the Raiders’ defense struggled to get a stop when they needed it, and Apple Valley was able to control the clock and the game with two long, methodical drives for touchdowns to take a 28-14 lead with 10 minutes left in the game. Kummer was able to cut the Eagles’ lead to 28-21 with four and a half minutes left on a four-yard touchdown run. However, it appeared that Apple Valley would run out the clock with under two minutes left after they broke a 54-yard run to ice the game. Inexplicably, the Eagles chose to pass rather than run out the clock and the quarterback fumbled, which was recovered by Drake Guck and gave the Raiders one last shot. The game would end, though, after Kummer was intercepted by linebacker Ben Speece and Apple Valley ran the clock out, sealing their win.

Embu ran for 146 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Kummer added another touchdown and 65 yards on 11 rushes, as well as completing nine passes on 18 attempts for 81 yards and a touchdown and interception. Jake Brake had three receptions for 26 yards, Wiese also had three catches for 52 yards and Cody Leflay had the one touchdown catch for seven yards. Wiese also had an interception on a failed Apple Valley flea-flicker and Sieh recovered a muffed punt but the offense was unable to capitalize.

Coach Strain said the defensive struggles in the second half were a simple result of not being able to get off the field.

“We had a hard time getting a defensive stop when we needed it in the second half,” Strain said. “All night long it seemed like we just missed making plays on those key third or fourth downs.”

Offensively, Strain said Apple Valley showed them some things they hadn’t seen on tape and it took some time to adjust.

“They (Apple Valley) adjusted defensively after the first half,” Strain said. “They ran a defensive front we hadn’t seen before and it took us a few series to adjust to it, but it wasn’t anything major.”

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.

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