Carlton-Wrenshall freshman quarterback Sam Ojibway threw two touchdown passes to lead the Raptors to a 26-0 home win over Northeast Range Wednesday, Nov. 11, in both teams' regular season finale.
After forcing Carlton-Wrenshall to punt on its first possession, Northeast Range drove into Raptor territory, but the drive bogged down and the Nighthawks turned the ball over on downs.
A few plays later, Ojibway found Austin Larva streaking down the sideline for a 65-yard score in the first quarter.
Ojibway has started all season and Coach Jeremy Zywicki was happy with the progress his young quarterback has made.
“He was playing junior high football last year for us and so it’s going to be a learning process for him,” Zywicki said. “He’s learning the offense and he’s learning timing as far as our routes go and where to throw to receivers as far as throwing them open. Yes, he missed some guys tonight, but he also made some great throws. He’s going to get there and be a great player for us.”
Senior Dan Eggert punched the ball in from a yard out late in the first quarter to give Carlton-Wrenshall a 14-0 lead at halftime. Eggert is the only running back the Raptors have in their backfield at this point in the season who is an upperclassmen.
In the third quarter, Ojibway found freshman Ryder Wrazidlo for a 10-yard strike and Wrazidlo scored again on a 5-yard run in the final seconds of the quarter.
Carlton-Wrenshall has been forced to rely heavily on younger players because of injuries, and the load they needed to carry has only grown in the last week. Senior Kyle Siiter — the team’s leading rusher — broke his tibia in a 22-7 loss Friday, Nov. 6, to Ogilvie. Wrazidlo and sophomores Larva and Peyton Johnson were key in the Raptors' offensive attack against the Nighthawks.
The Raptor defense also responded to an unexpected challenge when Northeast Range changed up their offense. Zywicki said in the film they had watched on the Nighthawks, they were a run-heavy team. Against Carlton-Wrenshall, they came out throwing the ball more than two-thirds of the time, forcing the Raptors to adjust their strategy.
“They threw the ball and we had to make an adjustment there,” Zywicki said. “They caught us with our hand in the cookie jar there and they made some big plays. Thankfully we stopped them before they got in the end zone and then the defense tightened up and we shut them down.”
Carlton-Wrenshall will move up to 11-man football for the section playoffs after playing 9-man all season, a challenge made more daunting by the injuries the Raptors have suffered this year.
“It’s going to be a challenge playing 11-man football when we have 15 men suited,” Zywicki said. “We have a lot of adjustments we need to make, we have to put some guys in places they haven’t played all year long, but we’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got.”
The Raptors don’t know who they will play yet in the Section 7A playoffs, but it will likely be an away game at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17.
Northeast Range 0-0-0-0—0
CW — Austin Larva 65 pass from Sam Ojibway
CW — Dan Eggert 1 run (Mason Perry pass from Ojibway)
CW — Ryder Wrazidlo 10 pass from Ojibway (pass failed)
CW — Wrazidlo 5 run (pass failed)