Football: Cannon Falls surges past St. Charles
WINONA – Tanner Carlson managed to be at the right place at the right time.
Trailing St. Charles 20-13 with 3 minutes, 50 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Cannon Falls put the Saints into an obvious passing situation deep in Bombers territory. Forced to go into the air, St. Charles quarterback Derek McCready chucked the ball up with the Cannon Falls secondary swarming.
After bouncing in the air, the ball came down into Carlson’s hands, and the junior was off to the races for the score.
“I was lucky Kyler (Banks) was there to tip it up,” Carlson said. “I just watched it in [to my hands] and scored,” Carlson said.
Combine Carlson’s score with a successful two-point conversion on a pass from Mason Beissel to Banks and the Bombers were able to pull ahead of the Saints on the way to a 21-20 Southern Football Alliance cross-division game.
“It was a great team win,” Carlson said.
After play was postponed on Friday due to heavy rain and lightning, the game was moved to Paul Giel Field in Winona due to field conditions in St. Charles.
It was a game that the Bombers were relieved to win, and was one that shows the team still has some things to solve.
“We know now we have a lot of stuff to work on,” said Cannon Falls head coach Josh Hofstedt. “We have a week here to get better and we better, because we got (Plainview-Elgin-Millville) coming up.”
Both teams started Saturday’s game off slowly before St. Charles finally struck. Starting from their 19-yard line, the Saints marched down the field before quarterback Derek McCready found Cole Wagaman in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown toss with 5:23 left in the first half.
Down 6-0 at halftime, St. Charles struck again with a big pass play. Facing 4th-and-15, McCready threw up a prayer and found wideout Cody Nicklay down the sideline for a 37-yard touchdown to go up 12-0.
In what could have been a back-breaking score, the Bombers shook it off. After forcing the Saints into a turnover on downs, quarterback Mason Beissel went deep on Cannon Falls’ first play, hitting Jordon Flemmons in stride for a 72-yard touchdown to help put the score at 12-7.
“We saw that their corners were looking at me more than they were looking at the receivers, so we knew we could get stuff over the top of them,” Beissel said. “Then Jordon beat his guy and we got over the top of ‘em.”
Said Flemmons, who had four catches for 145 yards: “That was a spark. It set us off.”
St. Charles’ next possession ended disastrously with a botched snap on the punt, giving Cannon Falls the ball on the Saints’ 6-yard line. On 3rd-and-goal, the Bombers’ drive looked in danger as the shotgun snap got away from Beissel.
The junior signal-caller scooped up the ball, rolled right, avoided a sack and chucked the ball in the end zone. There, all the tip drills in practice paid off again for Banks as Flemmons hauled in the ball for an 8-yard score and a 13-12 lead.
“I was just worried about getting hit. Then I saw Kyler and put it up and thought, ‘I have faith in you, go grab it,’” said Beissel, who went 15-for-22 for 251 yards. “I’m like, ‘Where did it go’ and Jordon had it.”
Flemmons added, “Kylie tipped it and I slid under it and caught it.”
Cannon Falls seemed to have the momentum, and it took St. Charles one play to take it right back. Running a counter trap, running back Ricardo Chavez found some open room and went 48 yards for a touchdown to help put the Saints back up 20-13. The Bombers had trouble shutting down the counter, with Chavez running for 168 yards on 13 carries.
“It was hard to see who had the ball with all the movement and backs going every way,” Carlson said. “It was hard to read.”
McCready went 17-for-28 in the air for 125 yards, but the Bombers got the last laugh with three interceptions: two by Garrett Beach and the game-changing pick from Carlson.
“Their routes were kind of the same as our flood (routes),” Carlson said. “We kind of jumped the passes a little bit.”
Sneaking away with a win on Saturday, the Bombers play host to PEM Friday at John Burch Park.
“With all the big plays we had, we should have been in better control of the game the whole time,” Hofstedt said, “but fortunately we came out with a win.”