OAKLAND — If Oakland-Craig's goal was to put the rest of Class C2 on notice, the Knights achieved it.
The Class C No. 4 Knights scored on seven of their eight possessions in the first half while limiting No. 6 Hartington Cedar Catholic to 34 yards before halftime en route to a 50-13 win here Friday.
"Hartington CC always plays physical, and we had to match that or exceed that. I thought our kids really came out on both sides of the ball," Oakland-Craig coach Joe Anderson said. "Our front seven — even our wide receivers — were really blocking well, and that really set the tone for the game."
Senior quarterback Colton Thomsen completed 7 of 8 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores as the Knights built a 50-0 halftime lead.
"Last week (a 28-0 win over Crofton), we kept it kind of vanilla, but we told him he was going to have to make plays for us," Anderson said. "He made a couple big third downs that he converted early in the game that kept our drives going and kept the momentum on our side. I thought he played a great game tonight."
But it was Blake Johnson who got the Knights going.
Following a 28-yard pass from Thomsen to Caden Nelson on the second play of the game, Johnson raced past the Trojan defense for a 40-yard score to get the Knights on the board. He then set up their next score with a fumble recovery three plays into Cedar Catholic's first possession.
Ian Lundquist then scored the first of his two 2-yard touchdown runs to cap the drive and give the Knights a 12-0 lead with 7 minutes, 8 seconds left in the opening quarter before another Cedar Catholic miscue — a botched punt snap — set up Thomsen for a 1-yard run that gave Oakland-Craig a 20-0 lead with 5:33 left.
"We just didn't get off to a good start. We couldn't get the ball past the 50, and we couldn't get any stops and the momentum just rolled against us," Cedar Catholic coach Chad Cattau said. "We dropped some passes early and missed some tackles — a lot of fundamental things that we've got to clean up."
It was more of the same in the second quarter.
Lundquist got it started with his second TD on the second play of the quarter before Thomsen connected with Coulter Thiele on a 53-yard pass to push the lead to 36-0 with 8:00 left.
Before Cedar Catholic recorded its initial first down of the game, a quarterback sneak from the Trojans' 11-yard line resulted in Thomsen's second rushing touchdown and a 44-0 lead. And immediately after Cedar Catholic moved the chains for the first time — on a 12-yard completion from Myles Thoene to Tate Thoene — Jaron Meyer picked off a Myles Thoene pass to set up a 21-yard touchdown run by sophomore Tavis Uhing to build the lead to 50-0 with 21 seconds left in the first half.
For good measure, Thiele added an interception on the second-to-last play of the half.
"It kind of snowballed on them. They're a better football team than they showed tonight," Anderson said. "They made a few miscues, but our guys took advantage of that. Sometimes you don't take advantage of those turnovers, and it kind of swings back the other way."
Oakland-Craig's deep stable of running backs helped prevent that swing.
Lundquist led the way with 54 yards on 10 carries, Johnson followed with 52 yards on just two touches and Uhing carried the ball nine times for 45 yards to help keep the clock running after halftime. Meyer added 43 yards on five carries, and Thomsen had 33 yards on four rushes as the Knights finished with 295 yards on the ground and 430 yards of total offense.
"We've kind of got a four-headed monster. They just rotate, and it's kind of whoever is fresh," Anderson said. "Between Ian, Jaron, Coulter and Blake — all those guys play together. They block for each other, and it's neat seeing that."
Cedar Catholic, which fell to 0-2 after opening the season with a loss to No. 2 Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur, got on the board in the third quarter on a 16-yard run from Easton Becker, who finished with 43 yards on four carries. Nathan Potts added 40 yards and a touchdown on seven carries with Tate Thoene completing 3 of 5 passes for 54 yards — all in the second half.
"I think our kids will bounce back. We've got too much pride to just fold after an 0-2 start," Cattau said. "I think we'll be OK. We've just got to get back to work."
Cedar Catholic 0 0 6 7 — 13
Oakland-Craig 20 30 0 0 — 50
O-C: Blake Johnson 40 run (kick failed), 9:53
O-C: Ian Lundquist 2 run (run failed), 7:05
O-C: Colton Thomsen 1 run (Jaron Meyer run), 5:33
O-C: Lundquist 2 run (Wyatt Seagren pass from Thomsen) 10:28
O-C: Coulter Thiele 53 pass from Thomsen (Lundquist run), 8:00
O-C: Thomsen 11 run (Seagren pass from Thomsen), 3:39
O-C: Tavis Uhing 21 run (run failed), :21
HCC: Easton Becker 16 run (run failed), 5:11
HCC: Nathan Potts 36 run (Ted Bengston kick), 4:37