Fourth-ranked Raptors take over

A glitter-adorned horse led the Forest Lake football team onto the field in front of a packed stadium Friday night in celebration of the Rangers’ homecoming week.

Forest Lake faced the No. 4 team in the state and was unable to control East Ridge, falling 42-0.

The Raptors intercepted a Ranger pass on the third play of the game and marched back downfield to score just minutes into the game. After East Ridge forced a three-and-out, the home team gained a stop on East Ridge’s second possession.

Senior Leighton Bierman started the series of stops with a shoelace tackle. An incomplete pass brought East Ridge to third down and 11 yards, but the Raptors broke down the home team’s pass coverage for a first down.

Following another first down, Bierman pressured the Raptor quarterback out of bounds for no gain, and junior Nick McCormick knocked away a pass on the next play. Senior Mike Aho kept the opposing running back at bay with a stop to bring up a fourth and 5 on Forest Lake’s 30-yard line. East Ridge went for it, but a forced fumble ended the drive.

The Ranger defense got back to work four plays later. Forest Lake stopped the Raptors in three downs with the help of senior Brent Kinder on pass coverage up the middle.

Despite an opening 7-yard run by Bierman on the ensuing possession, a bad snap on third and 2 sent the Rangers back 16 yards, forcing a punt with little time remaining in the first quarter. The score remained 7-0 East Ridge.

The excitement would end there for Forest Lake fans, as the Raptors opened the second quarter with a touchdown pass from the red zone to go up 14-0. Four minutes later, the Raptors scored again to put their lead at 21-0.

The Raptors contained Bierman to 24 yards on six carries after the senior recorded 80 yards on 10 carries the prior week against Woodbury. Bierman also led the defense with two tackles for loss to add to his two against the Royals.

Sophomores Nic Norem and Patrick Kasl and seniors Zach Rosenthal and Zach Voss all earned one tackle for loss.

Junior Brandon Rogers and sophomore Payton Zeidler split quarterback duties. Zeidler started, going 3-5 for 13 yards while Rogers went 4-7 passing for 37 yards. Zeidler also recorded 69 passing yards against the Royals two weeks ago, going 6-12, including one touchdown pass to senior Dan Wassman.
Aho added 38 yards on five receptions in the battle against East Ridge.

Forest Lake, which is 0-6 this season, is on a 19-game losing streak with its last win coming on Sept. 30, 2011, in a 43-42 win over Roseville. Forest Lake has scored 35 points this season, while giving up 237.

Four teams in the Suburban East Conference are ranked in the top 14 teams in Class AAAAAA as of Wednesday, Oct. 2, according to the Associated Press: East Ridge, Roseville, Cretin-Derham Hall and Mounds View. Cretin-Derham Hall is the only SEC team that Forest Lake will not face this year.

The Rangers travel to Roseville on Friday for a 7 p.m. matchup. The Raiders have scored 167 points this season and gave up 100, 42 of which were to East Ridge earlier this fall.