By Brady Ambrose
To say that Caledonia is hitting on all cylinders may be the understatement of the season. The Warriors, ranked #1 in the state in class AA, locked up an undefeated regular season and the #1 seed in the upcoming playoffs as they marched to a 40-13 win Oct. 17 over Kingsland at Adams.
Led by Jacob Cuda, who rushed for 148 yards on 21 carries, Caledonia exploded for 40, first half points as they scored at will against the Knights (1-7) and locked up the Three Rivers South Conference championship in the process. “It’s a great reward for the kids. It’s not as easy as everybody thinks it is. We’ve had some close games this year,” Caledonia coach Brent Schroeder said.
Jacob Swindell scored a pair of touchdowns on runs off 38 and five yards, Brad Strub scored on a 23 yard run and Alex Varney hit Levi Schmitz with a 34 yard strike. Cuda added a 24 yard run, and West Spier rumbled in from 57 yards out as the Warriors took a 40-0 lead at halftime. The Knights got on the board on a 70 yard bomb from Jacob Rindels to D’Angilo Funches in the second quarter and added a two yard run from Marshall Oeltjen in the fourth quarter.
“We wanted to get it over in a hurry,” Schroeder said. “They had some injuries but you never know what to expect.”
The win improved the Warriors winning streak to 20 games overall and was their 25th straight TRC win.
• The running game
Eight different Caledonia players had at least one carry in the game as the Warriors were able to rest most of their starters. Besides Cuda’s 148 yards on 21 carries, Strub had 67 yards on 7 carries (9.57 ypc), Swindell averaged 5.7 yards per carry, gaining 40 yards on seven carries.
• The passing game
Varney was 3×3 for 42 yards and a score, Mason DeMorett was 1×3 for 38 yards and Austin Bauer was also 1×3. Totals – 5×9 for 78 yards and one touchdown.
• The rushing defense
Caledonia held Kingsland to 98 rushing yards, with Oeltjen netting 55 yards and Rindels 48 yards. Junior Blaine Knutson led the Warrior defense with eight tackles, while Collin Coffield added six and Sean Conner, Evan Welscher and Alex Goetzinger added five each.
• Team defense
In their eight wins, Caledonia has given up just 47 points for an average of 5.875 points per game allowed. “It’s the way we’ve always been,” Schroeder said, “We are playing well on defense and we have to keep it going.”
• Team offense
In eight games, the Warriors are averaging 30.5 points per game.
Caledonia will now turn their attention to the upcoming playoffs. With their 8-0 record the Warriors are the #1 seed in section 1AA and have received a first-round bye. They will host either #4 Triton (6-2) or #5 seeded St. Charles (2-6), who played Tuesday night at Dodge Center, Saturday night at 7 p.m. at CHS.
Undefeated Lewiston-Altura (8-0) is the #2 seed and will play #7 seed Hayfield (1-7) with #3 seed Chatfield (7-1) hosting #6 seed Dover Eyota (1-7). Schroeder said that while upsets happen, his team and staff are preparing for Triton. “St. Charles is coming around, but we are getting ready for Triton. They have a good running back and a talented freshman. We’ve had scouts up there and we know who their studs are.”