The Hastings Raiders football team was nothing short of dominant when they hosted the Hill-Murray Pioneers Friday night and won 36-6. The Raiders scored 36 points or more in their second straight game and have only given up one touchdown so far this season. Hastings improves to 2-0 and will welcome the Park Wolfpack next Friday, Sept. 14.
Hastings once again controlled the line of scrimmage, running for over 250 yards while holding the Pioneers to negative yardage on the ground. After forcing a punt, the Raiders worked with a short field and junior C.J. Brenny knocked in a 32-yard field goal to give them a 3-0 lead just five minutes into the game. The next possession, senior Alex O'Connor recovered a Pioneer fumble at the Hill-Murray 23 yard line and senior running back Corbin Leflay scored from 9 yards out. The XP was no good and Hastings led 9-0 with 5:30 left in the first quarter. The Raider defense then forced another turnover, this a time an interception by senior Kevin Klosowski that he returned to the Hill-Murray 29. Leflay then scored his second touchdown of the game from 23 yards out and the extra point was good. Hastings led 16-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The two teams went back-and-forth in the second quarter until senior Trey Petrich recovered a Hill-Murray fumble at the Pioneers' 39. Senior quarterback Sully Levos then scored on a 18-yard touchdown run and Hastings led 23-0, which would be the score at halftime.
Hill-Murray attempted an onside kick to start the second half but the Raiders recovered at their own 43. Leflay then scored his third touchdown of the game on a 40-yard breakaway run and the extra point was good to make it 30-0 Hastings with nine minutes left in the third quarter. Later in the third quarter, junior Josh Anderson scored on a 2-yard touchdown run but the extra point was no good and it was 36-0 Raiders. Hastings then put in the reserves in the fourth quarter and Hill-Murray finally got on the board with less than two minutes left in the game and a running clock. The final was 36-6 Hastings.
The Hastings rushing attack was spectacular the entire game. As a team they ran for 252 yards on 38 carries and five touchdowns. Leflay ran for three scores and 178 yards on 18 carries, Petrich ran seven times for 45 yards, Anderson went for 30 yards and a touchdown on five carries and Levos had his touchdown run. Levos also completed five passes for 23 yards, while Leflay and juniors Jackson Kirchoff and Thomas Ritt all caught passes for the Raiders.
Leflay said that the Raiders' offensive success can be attributed to a mindset that they have adopted this season.
"We've just been communicating in huddles," he said. "And we have this thing right now, we call it 'CTC", which means control the controllables. So it's basically like, the refs are out of the picture, the coaches are out of the picture, it's only us. So if we make a mistake we're staying positive, we're not getting down on it, we're talking through everything."
So far this season, Leflay has run for 332 yards and five touchdowns in just two games. While he had a great season last year, it looks like he has taken his game to even another level.
"Definitely my after-contact (has improved)," Leflay said. "I'm still driving my feet, I know last year I did it a little bit but this year it's definitely picked up. Then reading, just reading the defense. I've been reading them a lot better than last year, making cuts that I didn't usually."
Meanwhile, the defense showed no mercy. Not only did it hold the Pioneers to negative yards rushing, the Raider defense held them to just 47 total yards and the one touchdown. They also forced four turnovers, the fumbles recovered by Petrich and O'Connor and then interceptions by senior Ben Streeter and Klosowski.