Titans rout Raiders
DRAKE – TGU opened the season with the same speedy, balanced offense that became a staple in 9-Man Region 3 football in recent years.
The Titans cruised to a 52-14 rout of host Drake-Anamoose in season and region openers for both teams Tuesday. Senior quarterback Eli Luna – an all-state defensive selection in 2013 – rushed for a game-high 111 yards and a score. He also passed for a game-high 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“We knew we had speed coming in,” Luna said. “We’re not the biggest team out here, but speed is definitely an advantage.”
TGU opened the contest with a seven-play, 57-yard scoring drive capped by an 8-yard touchdown run by junior Lane Schmitt. The Titans alternated with rushing and passing TDs for their first five scores.
Sophomore Cole Bethke scored on a 42-yard reception and caught the 2-point conversion to lift TGU to a 16-0 lead with 2:33 left in the opening quarter.
“They had power,” said first-year D-A coach Ethan Brooks. “Power killed us, and penalties and poor tackling killed us.”
Poor tackling gave the Raiders a glimmer of hope as Garrett Uhlich – one of just three D-A seniors – went 90 yards on a kickoff return.
Schmitt, who finished with 94 yards on eight carries, responded about one minute later with a 46-yard TD run. Senior wideout Colter Thorp (2013 all-state) sprung Schmitt with a couple of key blocks up the left sideline. Schmitt led all receivers with 60 yards.
“You’re never pleased,” TGU coach Scott Thorson said. “We talked at halftime about having a million things to work on. (We) can be a great team if (we) want to be.”
The million things proved tough to spot as TGU led 44-6 at the half.
Luna connected with Schmitt on a 51-yard reception for the fourth score. The shifty quarterback scored on a 46-yard run soon after and TGU capped the half on a 5-yard fumble return for a touchdown by senior lineman Bryce Green.
Sophomore Kolter Schell ran the Titan offense in the second half. Uhlich scored his team’s only other TD as running-clock was in play in the second half. He scored from 46 yards out in the fourth quarter and finished with a team-high 106 yards on 15 carries.
D-A junior tight end Cordell Volson, a huge target at 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, led the Raiders with 40 yards on five receptions. Volson had three catches early and drew consecutive 15-yard, pass-interference penalties.
“We played a little slow defensively, but didn’t give up a lot of points,” Thorson said. “They’re a good team and I think we just wore them down.”
TGU adjusted and limited anything big through the air as junior quarterback Corey McClintock missed targets on seven straight passes after completing his first five. TGU sophomore Caleb Cross had an interception late in the second quarter with the Raiders inside the TGU 30-yard line.
The Titans play again tonight at 6 p.m., against visiting Parshall-White Shield. D-A plays at Dunseith at 7 p.m.