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Football: Tigers crush Goodhue

Lake City's Elliot Cox (left) and Donovan Miller (right) bring down Goodhue running back Dillon Huemann in the second quarter of Friday's Hiawatha Valley League Gold Division game in Goodhue. The seventh-ranked (Class AAA) Tigers held Huemann to 23 yards rushing in a 48-0 shutout.1 / 3
Lake City running back Will Balow (middle) drags a pack of Goodhue defenders during the first quarter of Friday's Hiawatha Valley League Gold game in Goodhue.2 / 3
Goodhue's Alex Weckerling (right) looks upfield as Lake City's Ben Schramski closes in on a tackle during the first half Friday in Goodhue.3 / 3

GOODHUE -- On scoring plays alone in Friday's 48-0 blowout victory, the Lake City football team outgained Goodhue 352-219 in total yards of offense.

Big plays came in bulk for the Tigers' offense, going up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, and holding a 41-0 lead at halftime over the Wildcats to remain undefeated in the Hiawatha Valley League Gold Division.

"Lake City's very talented," said Goodhue head coach Tony Poncelet. "If you're going to shut down the run, they're going to throw over the top of you. And if you go into shutting down the pass, they'll run all around you. There was little room for error in this game."

With the victory, along with Triton's 27-21 victory over Zumbrota-Mazeppa, the seventh-ranked (3A) Tigers clinched a share of the HVL Gold title, and will look to win the division outright on Wednesday against Z-M at home.

"We want to come out and have a couple good days of practice and show them who's boss," said Lake City senior Coleman Sweeney.

After weeks of running over teams with their rushing attack, the Tigers (6-1, 6-0 HVL Gold) took to the air early on against the Wildcats, hoping to patch up an inconsistent aerial game.

In one half of work, quarterback Ben Schramski completed 6 of 7 passes for 270 yards and four scores of 50-plus yards. Schramski opened the team's first drive with a 55-yard touchdown strike to Sweeney for the 7-0 advantage.

"Our line really played well tonight and I had all the time in the world, which was really nice," Schramski said. "Throughout the season, we've gained trust and momentum with each other. It was a lot of fun tonight.

"We've had a lot of shaky moments this year," Schramski added. "Dropped passes, me missing guys and not making the right read ... it's been a rough go. And tonight, we finally started clicking. Everything worked for us."

Sweeney and Schramski connected for another long score in the second quarter with a 57-yard touchdown. Christian Custer and Jake Griebenow also got in on the scoring act with touchdown receptions of 57 and 67 yards, respectively.

"We wanted to establish the pass right away because the last couple weeks, we had a few hiccups there," said Sweeney, who finished with three catches for 141 yards. "We came out and executed. Jake, Will (Balow), Christian and I all made plays.

"We came out and we pride ourselves on making those big, explosive plays. That's what we did tonight and it's what we want to do every night."

Not to be outdone, Lake City running back Mitch Kuchinka made the most of his limited chances in the backfield, rushing for 111 yards and a pair of scores on seven carries. Kuchinka scored from 31 and 55 yards, all in the first quarter. With the game in running time, Luke Hartzell added a 30-yard rushing touchdown with 1 minute, 11 seconds remaining.

Lake City finished with 497 yards of total offense.

"We put four or five guys out there where you can't focus on one of them," said Lake City head coach Trevor Narum. "You can double-team one of them, but you leave another guy one-on-one. We're blessed to have a lot of weapons, both in the running and passing game."

Through a combination of The Tigers' quick-strike offense building a huge lead and a physical opposing defense, Goodhue's offense struggled to get anything going in the contest.

Coming off a 233-yard, five-touchdown performance last week, Wildcats running back Dillon Huemann was held to just 23 yards on eight carries on Friday.

Sophomore quarterback Tyler Schumacher was 13 of 30 passing for 99 yards and three turnovers, including a fumble at the Lake City 1-yard line.

"Our defense the last three weeks has played better and better," Narum said. "We've gotten better defensively and we tackled well tonight.

"We're happy we played physically and we didn't allow any big plays for our first shutout of the year."

Goodhue (3-4, 2-3 HVL Gold) closes out the regular season at home Wednesday against Winona Cotter.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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