Cloquet's Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College is right where it wants to be under first-year head coach Robert Smith.

Last year’s defensive coordinator for the Thunder has his team at 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the East Division after three games in Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) play after a 42-14 win over Vermilion Community College on Saturday, Sept. 7, in Superior.

The Thunder, who prefer a fast-paced, offensive style, held Vermilion to 55 yards net rushing on 26 carries on the way to the win, in which Fond du Lac never trailed.

Quarterback Danny Jackson had a solid day through the air, completing 12 of 23 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns including a 75-yard scoring strike to Le’Quayvaious Greene.

Backup Nick Heath was 3-for-10 with a 24-yard scoring pass to Mason Klinger. Quri Hickman was the Thunder’s leading rusher with 112 yards on 22 carries and two scores.

The defense stood tall as well, intercepting Vermilion quarterback Goy Majiok five times and holding him to 11-for-37 through the air on the day.

The win was a solid one for Smith’s team. He could not be reached for comment by press time. Through three games, the Thunder are third in the MCAC in average scoring at 35.3 points per game, fourth in total offense at 327.3 yards per game, and second in the league in total defense at exactly 200 yards per game allowed.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College's Eric Grant holds on to make the tackle on Vermilion Community College's Keythan Drayton on Saturday, Sept. 7, in Superior. (Dave Harwig / Pine Journal)
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College's Eric Grant holds on to make the tackle on Vermilion Community College's Keythan Drayton on Saturday, Sept. 7, in Superior. (Dave Harwig / Pine Journal)

Their seven interceptions as a team are outpaced only by Itasca’s nine in the league.

Individually, Jackson is fourth in the MCAC in all-purpose yardage at 151.3 per game and touchdown passes with four. Hickman is sixth in the league in rushing and Jhanviey Nichols is tied for the conference lead in sacks with seven in only three games.

After opening their season with a 36-3 win at home against Minnesota State-Fergus Falls, the Thunder fell 38-28 in their second game at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton. They are unbeaten in two games at home.

The Thunder host Itasca Community College at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, before facing a major test on the road at Central Lakes College in Brainerd on Sept. 28 after a week off.

The other game to circle on the Thunder’s schedule is Oct. 5 at traditional power Rochester Community and Technical College.