By Brady Ambrose
The Caledonia Warriors improved to 3-0 on the season with a 40-8 thrashing of Goodhue Friday night at CHS during the annual Homecoming game.
The Warriors, ranked #1 in the state in class AA in the first Associated Press poll of the season, got a huge night from Ryan Pitts. The senior running back sliced and diced his way through the Wildcats defense for 196 total yards, including 148 on just 10 carries, two catches for 48 more yards and a total of four touchdowns, including three in the second alone as the Warriors came back from an early 8-0 deficit to score 40 unanswered points.
Head coach Brent Schroeder said, “Coach Fruechte is doing a great job with the offense, especially the offensive line. I was really proud of the way they came out in the second half and just blew them off the ball. They’re still growing, and we had quite a few different guys in there tonight – I’m proud of those guys.”
The start of the game was anything but smooth, as Goodhue took the opening kickoff and put together an 18 play, 58 yard drive that ended with a two yard touchdown run by Riley Huemann.
“You got to give credit to Goodhue. They’ve been in the state tournament numerous times, and they had some of our defensive things figured out,” Schroeder said. “We had to throw everything in the basket and adjust, and some of our seniors like West Spier figured things out in a hurry on their line and figured out what they were doing to us and made adjustments. Then things started to shut down for them.”
It was all Caledonia after that.
On their second possession of the second quarter and trailing 8-0, the Warriors took over at their 34 yard line. On third and nine, Pitts took the handoff from Mason DeMorett and raced 64 yards for his first score of the night at the 9:57 mark.
Trailing 8-6 Caledonia forced a three-and-out by the Wildcats and took over at their own 43. DeMorett hit Sean Conner with a 22 yard completion to the Goodhue 36, and on the next play DeMorett hit Pitts down the left sideline. Pitts raced in from 36 yards out to give the Warriors the lead at 13-8 with seven minutes left in the first half.
The Caledonia defense then set up the next score when Sam Schulte picked off a pass from Goodhue’s Tyler Schumacher to put the Warriors back in business at the Wildcat 20 yard line. Three plays later Austin Bauer rolled in from four yards out to extend the lead to 20-8 with 4:30 left in the half.
The wheels then fell entirely off for Goodhue.
On their first play from scrimmage the Wildcats fumbled and Spier, who spent more time in the backfield than the Goodhue players did, recovered at the Wildcats 25 yard line. Five plays later Pitts scored from five yards out to push the lead to 27-8
Goodhue then put together a decent drive to end the first half, stringing together nine plays before punting. The Warriors took over at their own 15 with 36 seconds left and ran out the clock, taking a three-touchdown lead into halftime.
Caledonia didn’t waste any time getting on the board again as Pitts scored from 45 yards out on Caledonia’s second play of the third quarter for a 34-8 lead.
The score stayed at 34-8 the rest of the third and for half of the fourth quarter.
With 3:06 left in the game junior Devan Heaney took a handoff from Bauer and raced 64 yards for the final score of the game, which gave the Warriors the 40-8 win. “He (Heaney) is a hard working weight room kid, and kids like that deserve a big run,” Schroeder said.
Caledonia rolled up 438 yards of offense, 363 coming on the ground and another 75 through the air with Pitts leading the way. He averaged 14.8 yards per carry in the game. The senior is averaging nine yards per carry (40 carries for 360 yards and five touchdowns) in the Warriors three wins. On defense, Alex Goetzinger had five tackles to lead Caledonia, and Adam Buttell, Jacob Winjum and Pitts had four tackles each.
Up next will be a trip to Southland Friday to take on the Rebels. “Coach (Shawn) Kennedy over there, they gave us a loss in 2010 and he does a great job. He probably knows us as good as anyone. They’re going to be well-prepared,” Schroeder said.
The Rebels are coming off a 41-0 loss to Chatfield and handed Caledonia their only loss in 2007, a 14-13 win in the final regular season game, one of just four losses the Warriors have suffered in the last six seasons.