East Ridge ninth-grade football: Raptors freshmen go unbeaten for third-straight seasonThe Raptors recently completed a third consecutive undefeated season in the Suburban East Conference with a 34-28 win over Mounds View on Wednesday, Oct. 17.
By: Patrick Johnson, sports editor, South Washington County Bulletin
Even though the East Ridge varsity team is starting a freshman at quarterback, the East Ridge ninth-grade football team didn’t skip a beat in 2012.
The Raptors recently completed a third consecutive undefeated season in the Suburban East Conference with a 34-28 win over Mounds View on Wednesday, Oct. 17.
Led by head coach Mike Tollefsbol, aka Toz, going undefeated again was probably not a goal of East Ridge to start the season, but it became an unspoken one as the season progressed.
East Ridge’s offense was led by quarterback Kjetil Cline and a deep team of explosive running backs that easily averaged over 7 yards per carry over the season and favored the team’s heavy run-first approach.
The running back committee was led by Alex Johnson and Danny Lowe as well as Jeremy Balagot, Logan Seekel and Josh Knazze.
When dropping back to pass, Cline and Griffen Davis connected on numerous well-timed wheel routes that defenses did not seem to have an answer for, leading to 30- to 50-yard scoring strikes.
On defense, the Raptors were unforgiving against the run and were led by linebackers Alex Johnson and Logan Pantila. In addition, players like defensive ends Noah Pittman and Alex McCabe often hurried, pressured or sacked opposing quarterbacks. Cline also managed the defensive backfield, which had five interceptions in just the last three games, two ending in touchdowns.
All-in-all the unbeaten season suggests the future is bright for East Ridge football.