The Austin Packers football team, the No. 6 seed in the Section 1AAAAA football playoffs were on the road at Northfield Tuesday night to take on the third-seeded Raiders, as the Packers were looking to avenge a 21-20 loss to the Raiders in the opening game of the season. Northfield, though, had other plans as Tate Journell scored three touchdowns, one rushing, another on a long kickoff return and another receiving as the Raiders bolted out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on their way to a 48-14 win.
Austin fumbled on the very first play of the game, and the Raiders recovered at the Packer 28-yard line. Three plays later, Charles Monaghan rumbled 11 yards into the end zone and a 7-0 Northfield lead after Pablo Gallardo’s extra point.
Austin was forced into a three-and-out on their next offensive possession, and a booming 53-yard punt from Joe Ewing pinned the Raiders back on their own 5-yard line. Raiders quarterback Soren Richardson was able to complete a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Jackson Jerdee on third down to the 25-yard line, and on the next play from scrimmage, sophomore running back Kamden Kaiser found running room on the left side of the line, sprinted into the secondary and outran everyone to the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 Northfield lead.
Things went from bad to worse for the Packers on the ensuing kickoff as Gallardo’s squib kick bounced toward the right sideline, and the Raiders recovered the unintentional onsides kick at the Austin 47. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Tate Journell took a handoff from Kaiser on a wingback counter and sprinted 47 yards into the end zone and a 21-0 Northfield lead after one quarter.
The Packers started their next drive at their own 28 and had the ball for nine plays, but they were eventually forced to turn the ball over on downs to Northfield at the Raiders 29. Northfield then started a methodical march down the field, and on the fourteenth play of the drive, running back Ian Stanton bulled into the end zone from a yard out to give the Raiders a 28-0 lead at the half.
Northfield received the second half kickoff and kept their momentum from the first half rolling when Journell fielded the kick inside the 1-yard line, sprinted up the middle, broke a tackle at the 25 and took it the rest of the way for a Raider touchdown and a 35-0 lead. He also caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Richardson later in the quarter to make the score at that point 41-0, and Kaiser added another long touchdown run, this one from 45 yards out to increase Northfield’s lead to 48-0.
On the ensuing drive after Kaiser’s touchdown run, the Packers started from their 36-yard line. On the first play of the drive, quarterback Jack Lang rolled right on the option, kept the ball himself and sprinted 64 yards for an Austin touchdown to make the score 48-7. The Packers registered the only score of the 4th quarter when senior running back Joseph Walker capped off a 14-play, 80-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run for the 48-14 final.
Austin’s season came to an end with a record of 1-8, while Northfield is now 4-5 on the year, and they will travel to Owatonna Saturday evening to take on the Huskies, the No. 2 seed in Section 1AAAAA in the semi-finals. Top-seeded Rochester Mayo will host No. 4 seed Rochester Century Saturday evening in the other semi-final, as the Panthers downed fifth-seeded Rochester John Marshall Tuesday evening 40-28.