by Bruce Strand
Elk River Star News
In a duel of two teams with big-play capabilities, the Rogers Royals were able to spring a few of them while cramping Cambridge-Isanti’s style on Friday evening.
The Royals cruised to a 38-0 homecoming win and improved to 5-0, dropping the Bluejackets to 3-2.
“We have a couple of big-play threats and it was huge when Gunnar sprung that long run,” said coach Marc Franz. “But we were also able to keep their big play guys in check, too. Their quarterback is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball, and they have power backs, and we didn’t allow them to consistently run over us. We made them use the long field and they struggled with that.”
Gunnar Bloom broke away for a 76-yard touchdown that made the score 14-0, and added a 40-yard gainer that set up another TD later in the second quarter. The junior tailback piled up 154 yards on 10 carries, also scoring on a four-yard TD.
The Royals didn’t have much going in the air but added their third third defensive touchdown of the year, a field goal, and Nate Weber’s touchdown dashes of 21 and six yards.
“Our line played great. They opened some big holes,” said Bloom. “On that long touchdown, we had the pulling guard (Joel Ende) out front, and our quarterback (Connor Henderson) made a block downfield that was awesome.”
Andrew Piehl, a 6-4, 240-pound sophomore tackle, picked up a fumble and scored from 18 yards out, after Weber and Jake Walker sacked Bluejacket quarterback John Solberg.
Isaac Aanerud booted a 37-yard field goal and just missed a 47-yarder that cleared by 20 yards. Aanerud was kicking with the wind at his back on both those attempts. He also boomed three kickoffs beyond the end zone.
Franz commented that “it’s always nice to win at homecoming” and called this win his team’s most complete performance.
“Cambridge is a big, physical team,” he noted. “I’m real happy he we matched up with them physically. Our special teams played well, too. Wind was a factor for both teams. Our punting and our kicking game, we won that battle.”
Rogers plays at Monticello (4-1) next. The Magic have lost only to unbeaten STMA by 14-7.
Cambridge-Isanti quarterback John Solberg loses the ball when sacked at the 20-yard line by Rogers’ Jake Walker (89) and Nate Weber, with Andrew Piehl (72) approaching …. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
… and Piehl, Rogers defensive tackle, scoops up the ball with clear sailing to the end zone 18 yards away. His touchdown put the Royals up 24-0. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Gunnar Bloom (25) bucks for the last few yards of a 40-yard gain before he was tackled by Matt Kuehn (7) and John Solberg (2). Rogers’ No. 88 is Joey Donley. (Photo by Bruce Strand)