Almost every time the Hastings offense started to gain some momentum, either a mistake or turnover prevented them from converting the opportunity into points. The result was a 21-7 loss to the South St. Paul Packers in the regular season finale Wednesday night, Oct. 18, at McNamara Stadium at Todd Field.

Had the Raiders come out with the win, it was speculated that they would be able to host a home section playoff game next week. However, the loss helped put Hastings as the fifth seed in section 3AAAAA and now they will have to travel to no. 4-seeded Henry Sibley on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

South St. Paul drove down the field for touchdowns in their two first-quarter possessions. After receiving the opening kickoff the Packers quickly drove 65 yards in under three minutes, all on the ground, and scored on a 12-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 with nine minutes and five seconds left in the first quarter. Hastings was able to drive down to the South St. Paul 42 yard line before turning it over on downs. The Packers then took the ball 58 yards and scored on a 19-yard touchdown run with 2:33 left in the first. At the end of the first quarter, South St. Paul led 14-0.

Late in the second quarter, after the Raider defense held on fourth down at their own eight to force a Packers turnover-on-downs, junior running back Corbin Leflay was able to flip the field with a 49-yard run. However, Hastings turned the ball over on downs again to South St. Paul at the Packers’ 28 after a mixup in the backfield on third down, which ended the Raiders’ best chance at scoring in the half.

Hastings started with the ball in the second half and once again stalled in South St. Paul territory, this time after having to take a first-down sack. The Raider defense then came up big to force a Packers fumble at the Hastings 31, but the offense immediately gave the ball back to South St. Paul with a fumble of their own. Starting at the Raiders 25-yard line, the Packers scored on another 19-yard touchdown run to make it 21-0 with 7:14 left in the fourth quarter.

Hastings was able to get on the board after a five-yard touchdown run by Leflay capped a 73-yard drive that was set-up by a long run by senior quarterback Trey Rogers and a South St. Paul roughing-the-passer penalty. The Raiders trailed 21-7 with 4:57 left in the game.

Hastings attempted an onside-kick but it was recovered by the Packers at the 50-yard line. South St. Paul wound the clock down to 1:11 until they were forced to turn the ball over on downs, but the Raiders were unable to continue the comeback and fell 21-7.

Hastings ran the ball very well against South St. Paul but were unable to finish drives. Leflay had another big game as he ran for 144 yards and a touchdown on just 17 carries. Rogers ran 10 times for 52 yards and as a team the Raiders rushed for 226 yards on 33 attempts.

A brisk wind throughout the game made passing the ball difficult at times. Rogers completed just 4-of-11 passes for 34 yards as a couple of his deep throws were held up by the wind. Junior wide receiver Noah Kullman had two receptions for 19 yards while sophomore Jackson Kirchoff and junior Alex O’Connor each had a reception.

The Raiders travel to Henry Sibley on Tuesday, Oct. 24, for the first round of section playoffs. Hastings beat the Warriors in the season opener 13-6 at Todd Field. Should the Raiders win, they would go on to play against top-seeded Apple Valley at Apple Valley on Saturday, Oct. 28.