Gophers shutout Cougars in football

LEIF ERICKSON/CHATFIELD NEWS Tate Karver returns a punt for the Gophers as a Zumbrota-Mazeppa defender tries to bring him down.

LEIF ERICKSON/CHATFIELD NEWS Chatfield quarterback Reid Johnson is ready to throw a pass while Johnny Frank blocks a Zumbrota-Mazeppa defender.

LEIF ERICKSON/CHATFIELD NEWS Corey Erickson trips up a Zumbrota-Mazeppa running back with other Chatfield teammates in pursuit.

LEIF ERICKSON/CHATFIELD NEWS Max Aug hauls in a pass for the Gophers over the outstretched arms of a Zumbrota-Mazeppa defender.
Bill Bentson

It only took the Chatfield Gophers one minute and 13 seconds to score their first touchdown against Zumbrota-Mazeppa Friday night, and that was just the beginning of the shutout run for the Gophers. 

Freshman Sam Backer scored the first of his four touchdowns on the opening 56-yard drive.  Backer carried the ball on all three of the drive’s plays. AJ Karver kicked the extra-point (PAT) for the first score, giving the Gophers the 7-0 lead. 

An interception by Nate Bernard set up the next Chatfield score after Zumbrota-Mazeppa had been moving the ball on an eight-play drive.

Nine plays later, Backer got into the end zone from 1.5 yards out for his second score.  Karver recorded his second PAT and the Gophers were rolling at 14-0.

Seth Goetzinger recovered a fumble for the Gophers’ second take-away, but the possession was short-lived as Z-M picked off a pass for Chatfield’s first turnover.

The Gophers bent, but they didn’t break in the next Z-M drive, which consumed nearly eight minutes and 45 yards, but netted no points. 

The Gophers got their third score, and the third score for Backer, on their next drive, which took just four minutes and covered 70 yards.  Backer scored on a four-yard run, Karver kicked the extra point and the Gophers went into the halftime break with a 21-0 lead.

Corey Erickson had a nice defensive play to thwart a long pass play and help the Gophers stop the Cougar drive before the half ended.  Reid Johnson threw his second interception, but Z-M wasn’t able to do anything of significance, as the first half ended.  Also making a nice defensive play were Johnny Frank and Chance Backer.

The second half started with three punts, two by Z-M and one by Chatfield, before the Gophers picked up their fourth touchdown. Chatfield had excellent field position, getting the ball on the Cougar 33-yard line. Ben Roline got the score, scampering in from the two-yard line.  There was no attempt for the extra point as the snap from the center was muffed. Still, Chatfield had a commanding lead at 27-0.

On Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s second possession of the second half, Campbell Berge and Chance Backer had quarterback sacks to help set up the Gophers’ fourth score.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Chatfield was first and 10 on their own 38-yard line.  On two successive plays, Chatfield lost yardage.  On third and 14, Backer got the ball and ran to the left, finding his path blocked.  He reversed directions and found room down the right side of the field for a 66-yard touchdown run. 

That 66-yard touchdown run capped off his work with his fourth touchdown and 271 yards (unofficial) on 24 carries.  Not a bad night’s work.

Other unofficial stats: Passing: Reid Johnson, 5/10, 64 yards, 2 interceptions.  Receptions: Chance Backer, 3 catches for 19 yards; Max Aug, one catch for 32 yards; and, Masyn Remme, two catches for 13 yards.  Rushing: Ben Roline, six carries, 26 yards and one touchdown; Aug, two carries, 11 yards and Johnson, one carry for four yards.

Bryan “Bubba” Neis coordinated the stats with the Chatfield News for this game.

Friday night the Gophers face Lake City for its Homecoming game.