Homecoming hype motivates CloquetCloquet senior quarterback Sean Kedrowski admitted last Friday’s homecoming game with Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin was nerve-racking. Watching the first play, one could never tell.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
CLOQUET – Cloquet senior quarterback Sean Kedrowski admitted last Friday’s homecoming game with Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin was nerve-racking.
Watching the first play, one could never tell.
Kedrowski found senior tight end Nate Niemi over the middle on a 66-yard touchdown pass just 11 seconds into the Lumberjacks’ 49-30 rout over the Sea Range Conference rival Titans. The left-hander’s strike was part of a first-half explosion carrying Cloquet to their first Homecoming football win in more than two decades.
“It was a pretty special game, I was a lot more nervous than usual,” said the 6-foot, 185-pound Kedrowski, who threw 5-of-13 for 168 yards and scored three touchdowns along with his electrifying opening heave. “We saw an opening when the safety slid over and just took advantage. It feels good to win. We definitely didn’t want to lose this one tonight.”
Not only was it Homecoming – with full stands at Bromberg Field and overflowing parking lots – but it was the first time the Sea Range Conference foes had met since GNK won the Section 7AAA final over Cloquet last year at Malosky Stadium.
The Lumberjacks leveled the Titans with a barrage of scores coming from rousing plays on offense, defense and special teams. Cloquet rattled off the first 35 points and never trailed, despite GNK quarterback Jayden Gangle’s performance going 19-of-38 for 249 yards and three touchdowns.
“If we’re going to get to where we want to be, we’ll have to play like [Cloquet] did tonight,” said Titans Coach Bob Schwartz. “They beat us on both sides of the ball and in the trenches all night. They played well, not just at the start, but throughout the whole game. Call it homecoming or call it revenge, but [Cloquet] wanted it more than we did.”
Kedrowski’s trio of touchdown scores gave him 13 overall this season, while his 630 total passing yards and 56-percent completion percentage stats rank high in the area. Kaleb Kadelbach caught and Jeff Sarkela ran in scores, while Marquez Evans added a pair of rushing touchdowns and Niemi snagged a pair of scores from Kedrowski last week as well.
“We all played hard and executed well,” said Niemi, a 6-foot, 170-pounder with nice hands. “We were feeling confident and ready to go.”
Cloquet (4-1) has now toppled four straight opponents since their opening week double overtime loss at St. Louis Park. They next travel to conference arch rival Proctor Friday night.
“We’ve gotten better each week; I know that’s a cliché coaches use, but in our case, it’s true,” Cloquet Coach Tom Lenarz said. “That was as good of a start as we’ve had. We were clicking and had a sense of urgency. We have goals, and winning this game was one of them.”
Lenarz added that the win topped a week of Homecoming festivities, including a pep fest, dance off and powder puff football game, as well as a car smash and tailgate party before kickoff. At halftime, seniors Michael Baumgarten and Abbi Parenteau were crowned King and Queen.
“The kids really get into it,” Lenarz said about the week, which was brought up and eventually voted on by student and staff surveys to switch Homecoming from the winter season. “This whole thing was organized with kids. We kept it fun. Hopefully it’ll get bigger next year. It was a blast.”
Especially following their first play from scrimmage.
“It was huge, but we pretty much knew that was going to be our first play; we had been drawing it up all week,” Niemi said, noting they studied film all week to prepare themselves for the big game. “It was nice to get the crowd into it. I’m feeling pretty excited. I think everyone is. Time to dance!”
Homecoming nerves forgotten.