Getting into playoff mode
By Brady Ambrose
The Caledonia defense pitched their third straight shutout, and Ryan Pitts passed the 1,000 yard mark as Caledonia rolled to a 40-0 win over Hayfield at Caledonia Friday night.
The Warriors, ranked #1 in class AA, remain undefeated at 7-0. They dominated Hayfield in every aspect of the game jumping out to a 33-0 lead at halftime and never looking back. “It was a good compliment from Hayfield – I credit their staff – they said we are getting better every week and that’s exactly what we have to do from here on out,” coach Brent Schroeder said. “We need to get better every week and stay healthy.”
Caledonia set the tone from the start. On their opening possession the Warriors put together maybe their best drive of the season when they marched 78 yards in just eight plays and took just 2:36 to take a 7-0 lead.
On the first play of the game quarterback Mason DeMorett hit Adam Buttell with an 18-yard gain to the 40 yard line. On the next play Pitts gained 15 yards to the Hayfield 45, and on the next play Pitts rumbled 15 more yards to the 30. Pitts didn’t stop there, though. On the very next play the senior gained 21 yards to the nine yard line. The Vikings were totally on their heels before the game was even 90 seconds old, and Pitts had 51 yards of rushing on his first three carries of the game. A holding call slowed the Warriors a bit, but DeMorett hit Sam Schulte with a six-yard touchdown pass to give Caledonia a 7-0 lead.
Schroeder was quick to dish out compliments for the opening drive. “That’s a credit to coach John Hauser, who stepped in for Carl (Fruechte) last week. They do a great job of getting the boys in the right position and the boys executed.”
After a Hayfield punt on their first possession, Caledonia took over at their own 15 with 5:31 left in the first quarter. On the second play Pitts, who needed 92 yards to reach the 1,000 mark, tore off a run of 43 yards to the Hayfield 43. Two plays later DeMorett hit Jacob Cuda with a completion to the Hayfield 14, and five plays later DeMorett scored from a yard out to put the Warriors up 13-0. The Caledonia defense then forced another punt, and the Warriors took over at midfield with 19 seconds on the clock. On the first play Pitts gained 20 yards as time ran out, but the Vikings got a turnover when they intercepted a DeMorett pass three plays later. Hayfield picked up a first down to their 35, but Shane Sheehan and Blaine Knutson sacked Hayfield quarterback Cameron Rutledge so the Vikings punted again three plays later.
Taking over at the Hayfield 41, Pitts scored on the second play of the drive from 34 yards out to put the Warriors up 19-0. On Caledonia’s next possession Pitts scored from seven yards out and then added a two-yard run with 17 seconds left in the first half that gave Caledonia a 33-0 lead. It also gave Pitts 181 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half, while the Warrior defense slammed the door shut on every Viking possession with Buttell getting an interception that set up Caledonia’s final score of the first half.
After the defense held Hayfield to a 3-and-out to start the second half, Caledonia took over at their 48 yard line. Jacob Cuda then took over the ground game rushing for 44 yards on three carries to give the Warriors a first and goal at the five. Two plays later Cuda scored to give Caledonia a 40-0 lead with 7:47 left and started the running clock.
The teams then traded possession the rest of the game, and the Warriors took off their pads with their 33rd straight win. Pitts ended the game with 181 yards on 15 carries, giving him 1,089 on 125 carries so far this season. Blaine Knutson led the defense with six tackles, and Shane Sheehan and Austin Bauer had five tackles each.
Up next for the Warriors will be a trip to Spring Valley Wednesday to take on Kinglsand at 7 p.m. in the final regular season game of the year. “It’ll be a short week, and then it’s playoff time,” Schroeder said. “The offensive line is starting to get it, and we learned a lot tonight at defensive tackle. We are getting ready for the playoffs.”