HAMMOND – It was a tale of two different halves as the Colfax football team gave up 34 points in the first two quarters to the St. Croix Central Panthers, then held them to just six in the second half as they lost their second game in a row 40-6 Sept. 7 on Central’s home field.
Panther seniors Carl Moll and Cody Nyhagen can’t graduate soon enough for the Vikings players, coaches and fans as quarterback Moll took control of the game by running or passing for six touchdowns in the game and although the Colfax defense kept Nyhagen under wraps most of the game on the offensive side, he made his presence known on the defensive end many times. In last year’s game between the two teams, Nyhagen caught seven passes for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns but was held to one reception for 34 yards this game.
Central scored on their first possession on a four yard run by Moll and a two point pass to Tyler Lathe and the Vikings turned the ball over on their first turn with the ball when Nyhagen intercepted a Colfax pass.The Viking’s defense forced a punt however when Sawyer DeMoe broke through and sacked Moll on third down. But on first down for Colfax, the Panthers picked off another pass thrown by Dillon Lloyd and two plays later Moll lit up the scoreboard on a six yard run. The Vikings stuffed the two point run try and were down 14-0 with just under three minutes to go in the first quarter. Colfax went three and out on their possession and the Panthers picked up two first downs on a Colfax penalty during a run by Nyhagen, and a long pass completion before Moll found Lathe open for a 14 yard TD pass for a 20-0 lead with less then a second left in the quarter.
The Panthers tacked on six more points on another Moll to Lathe connection, this time from 17 yards out and Michael Hover broke up the two point pass attempt, leaving the Vikings down 26-0 at the 8:06 mark of the second stanza. Hover then did his part on the offensive side to avoid a shut out as he took the kickoff back 85 yards on an electrifying run down the right sideline for six points. It appeared Lloyd ran the ball in for a successful conversion but another penalty on the Vikings nullified it. Leaving the score at 26-6.
Colfax held the Panthers to just four yards on their next turn, forcing a punt but the Vikings couldn’t get their offense going and along with a holding penalty and a face mask penalty, they allowed Central to take control again. Moll eventually scored on a six yard run and the two point pass to Lathe gave the Panthers a 34-6 lead at the half.
“We just didn’t have an answer for Moll in the first half,” Colfax coach Mark Maloney said. “He is a great athlete and a leader and we couldn’t coral him. He controlled the game for them.”
But the Colfax coaches made some adjustments during the break, which resulted in shutting down the Panthers the whole third quarter and most of the fourth. Both Ethin Kiekhafer and Trevor Secraw tackled Panther runners for a loss but on the offensive side, the Vikings shot themselves in the foot with several dropped passes and a couple of more penalties.
Jeremiah Wait ran for 10 yards to pick up a first down for the Vikings early in the fourth quarter, but again they were stopped when Lloyd was sacked and threw a pair of incomplete passes while on the run. Central still had their starters in and the Vikings defense shut them down on their next possession, but after going three and out again, they gave the ball back on a punt and Central scored their final points on a 33 yard pass from Moll to Dante Carlson. The two point run was stuffed bringing the final score to 40-6.
“We just are not jelling as a team right now,” Maloney said. “We need to start playing together.Our defense was much better the second half and hopefully we can continue that into our next game. But we need to get things going on both sides of the ball if we are going to win any conference games.”
Noah Pretasky rushed for over 100 yards picking up 106 on 10 carries. All of his yards were hard earned and he had a couple of long runs called back on penalties. Lloyd was eight for 23 in the passing department for 41 yards with a pair of interceptions and Kiekhafer and Pretasky both snared two of those passes. Colfax had 187 yards of total offense while the Panthers finished with 415.
Colfax takes a 1-2 record into their home game against Spring Valley this Friday night.