By Bady Ambrose
Special to the Caledonia Argus
With a bruising ground game tearing up huge chunks of the field and an opportunistic defense taking advantage of every opportunity, the Caledonia Warriors made sure Homecoming 2012 was a good one as they hammered Dover-Eyota 49-14 Friday night at Caledonia High School.
On a beautiful fall evening for football, the Warriors scored three times in the first quarter and moved at will up and down the field. Led by senior Brad Strub, who rushed for 170 yards on just 15 carries, Caledonia improved to 3-0 with a dominating effort.
“Overall I’m real happy with a lot of the effort, especially the young kids,” said coach Brent Schroeder. “It looked like they were all having fun and playing physical.”
Having fun might have been an understatement. Caledonia scored on their first four possessions of the game and got a defensive touchdown from senior Zach Kasten when he intercepted a pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown that gave the Warriors a 35-0 lead with 4:49 left in the first half.
Strub ran wild through the Eagles defense, picking up huge chunks of yardage on nearly every carry as he finished the night with an 11.33 yards per carry average and had runs of 34 and 55 yards in the first half alone.
“He’s running right now with a gear I didn’t even know he had,” said Schroeder, “I knew he was going to run hard and be one of our top backs, but I don’t think anybody was expecting that.”
Caledonia went up 7-0 on an 18 yard touchdown pass from Alex Varney to Alex Goetzinger less than three minutes into the game and took a 14-0 lead on Varney’s keeper around the right side from 21 yards out on the Warriors next possession.
Adam Buttell then hauled in an 18 yard pass for Caledonia’s third score of the quarter. Strub gave the Warriors a 28-0 lead with 6:01 left in the first half on a three yard run and Kasten’s interception return all but put the game away after West Spier drilled D-E quarterback Justin Johnson at the 4:49 mark.
Caledonia finally gave the ball up on down on their next possession, and the Eagles took over at their own 20 yard line with 1:36 left in the half. But three plays later Buttell picked off a Johnson pass and rumbled in from 40 yards out to give Caledonia a 42-0 lead at halftime.
Jacob Cuda scored the Warriors final touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter. Dover-Eyota would score a pair of touchdowns late, one a 63 yard pass from Johnson to Brady Boynton and the other a 15 yard score between the duo again with four minutes to play.
Up next now for Caledonia will be a trip to Fillmore Central this Friday. “It’s always been a great, great matchup. We’ve played them before in the playoffs and it’s always a great rivalry with those guys,” Schroeder said. “They’re going to be cranked up, they were right there with us last year.”
D-E 0 0 0 14 — 14
Caledonia 21 21 0 7 — 49
First quarter: C—Goetzinger 18 pass from Varney (Schmitz kick); C—Varney 21 run (Schmitz kick); C—Buttell 18 pass from DeMorett (Schmitz kick).
Second quarter: C—Strub 3 run (Schmitz kick); C—Kasten 35 interception return (Schmitz kick); C—Buttell 40 interception return (Schmitz kick).
Fourth quarter: C—Cuda 1 run (Schmitz kick); DE—Boynton 63 pass from Johnson (King kick); DE—Boynton 15 pass from Johnson (King kick).
Rushing: DE—Donlinger 18-44; C—Strub 15-170.
Passing: DE—Johnson 3-8-2.-86; C—Varney 4-9-0-40; DeMorett 1-2-0-18.
Receiving: DE—Boynton 2-78-yards; C—Buttell 3-39.
Total yards: DE: 85-86—171; C: 309-58—367. Fumbles-lost: DE—1-1; C—1-1.
Records: D-E 0-3; C 3-0.