by Bruce Strand
Elk River Star News
Gunnar Bloom ran wild for 348 yards, including touchdowns of 64, 85 and 59 yards on consecutive carries, as the Rogers Royals stayed unbeaten with a 41-24 win over Big Lake on Friday evening at home.
The Royals will duel St. Michael-Albertville, also 7-0, for the Mississippi 8 Conference championship Wednesday evening in Rogers.
Bloom, junior halfback, had four touchdowns in all, and averaged 29 yards in his 12 carries. The Royals totaled 471 yards in just 30 rushes (16.7 average).
“Gunnar had some really explosive runs in that third quarter,” said Royal coach Marc Franz.
Big Lake (1-6) stunned the Royals early, taking a 10-0 lead with a 17-play drive capped by quarterback Tyler Halverson’s six-yard run, then a nine-play drive for Ben Mitchell’s 28-yard field. During that span, the Royals had the ball for just one play, with Big Lake lineman Shayne Imre forcing and recovering a fumble.
“You have to give Big Lak a lot of credit,” said Franz. “They have some nice skills people and came up with a good plan to keep the ball out of our hands, and we found ourselves behind 10-0.”
However, the Royals pulled ahead 13-10 by halftime with Bloom’s 25-yard TD and quarterback Connor Henderson’s 44-yard TD.
“I was pleased with the way our kids made some adjustments on the fly,” said Franz. “Big Lake has new coaches and came up with some new wrinkles we have not seen before, but our kids responded well.”
The Royals then rang up 28 points in the third quarter, with Bloom launched for those three straight long sprints to the end zone and Nate Weber adding a 10-yard score.
Bloom has rushed for approximately 900 yards. He has scored 15 touchdowns, 11 rushing, two on punt returns and two on passes.
“Now we turn all our attention to St. Michael-Albertville,” said Franz. “That should be a really fun football game with a great atmosphere.”
Rushing — Big Lake 42-123, Rogers 30-471
Passing — Big Lake 167-30-251-0, Rogers 2-5-3-0
Penalties — Big Lake 4-25, Rogers 9-80
Turnovers — Big Lake 0, Rogers 1 (fum.)
Rushing — Bloom 12-348, Henderson 3-68, Travis Dietl 7-44, Weber 3-16, Steve Hines 1-10, Isaiah Fofanah 2-7, Jake Owens 1-6, Adam Heyer 1-2
Passing — Henderson 2-5-3-0
Receiving — Bloom 2-3