Raider football beats South St. Paul 35-9 to finish season 7-1
Hastings football ended its regular season on a high-note Wednesday night with a 35-9 win at South St. Paul over the Packers. The win is also of historical significance for the Raiders as they have not beaten the Packers since making the switch to the Metro East Conference back in 2014 and through the creation of districts in recent years. It also seals a top-two seed and first-round bye in the Section 3AAAAA playoffs for the Raiders, who will play the winner of No. 3 Park and No. 6 Henry Sibley on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Todd Field at McNamara Stadium.
The Raiders jumped on South St. Paul quickly and took a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Senior running back Corbin Leflay scored two touchdowns in the first quarter (from eight and five yards out) and junior kicker C.J. Brenny made both extra points. The Packers got on the board midway through the second quarter with a 25-yard field goal, but Hastings responded with another touchdown from Leflay, who broke a 63-yard scoring run to make it 21-3, which was the score at halftime.
Hastings increased their lead when senior wide receiver Ben Streeter scored on an eight-yard touchdown run with 10 minutes, 13 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 28-3. Leflay then scored his fourth touchdown of the game on a 30-yard run with 3:40 left in the third quarter and the rout was on at 35-3. South St. Paul finally scored a touchdown in garbage time on a five-yard touchdown run with 4:27 left in the game to make it the final 35-9.
The Raiders ran for over 280 yards, most of which came from Leflay, and the defense held the Packers to under 200 total yards. Leflay carried the ball 24 times for 237 yards and four touchdowns in another dominating performance. Junior Joseph Nauer rushed eight times for 23 yards and Streeter added his touchdown run.
Senior quarterbacks Sully Levos and Hunter Kazmierczak combined to complete 3-of-7 passes for 28 yards as there was little need for a passing game. Those three passes were split between junior Jackson Kirchoff, Streeter and junior Thomas Ritt.
While the Packers ran for over 100 yards, they averaged under three yards a carry as they rushed almost 40 times. Their passing game was non-existent as the Hastings defense limited them to completing just 2-of-7 passes for under 30 yards. The defense also forced two fumbles which were recovered by seniors Trey Petrich and Godswill Pepple.
Hastings has a nine-day break because of their first-round bye before they have to play again. Should they beat the winner of Park or Henry Sibley, they would play in the Section 3AAAAA championship game to go to state on Nov. 2. On the other side of the bracket is St. Thomas Academy with the No. 1 seed and they will play the winner of No. 4 Apple Valley and No. 5 Bloomington Kennedy.