NICOLLET - The Nicollet Raiders started their season off with a win on Thursday night when they defeated Southwest United 25-20.
After being forced to punt the ball away on their first possession, the Raiders forced a fumble and got the ball back deep in Wildcats territory. The Raiders took advantage of the turnover soon afterwards when quarterback Dalton Elliott completed a nine yard touchdown pass to receiver Evan Guffey. Kicker Matt Fischer tacked on the extra point and the Raiders were off to an early 7-0 lead.
Nicollet's defense went on to force a quick three and out, and only minutes after their first connection, Elliott found Guffey on the receiving end of a 45 yard touchdown pass to take a 13-0 lead.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Nicollet’s Evan Guffey (24) forces Kurt Schmitz (33) of Southwest United to fumble the ball during the first quarter Thursday at Nicollet High School. The Raiders would recover the ball on the play.
The Raiders' offense went cold for the rest of the first half as they were not able to find the endzone again.
Meanwhile the Wildcats were not going to lay down without a fight, and they scored twice to make the score 13-12 when the two teams went in for half time.
The Raiders' offense loked unstoppable when they came out for the second half. They used a balanced rushing and passing attack to march the ball down the field 70 yards and score on a 15 yard run by running back Tanner Elliott.
The game seemed to be out of hand when the Raiders fooled the Wildcats with a play-action pass. Elliott found receiver Kenny Fischer all by himself on a 73 yard touchdown pass which made the score 25-12.
The Wildcats, however, remained stubborn and returned the following kickoff deep into Nicollet territory. They scored with 1:22 remaining to pull within five points of Nicollet.
The Wildcats used a couple of timeouts at questionable times before Nicollet's last possession which allowed the Raiders to run out the clock after fielding an onside kick.
The final score of the game was 25-20.
Guffey said the team was excited to be playing
"It felt good getting back into game mode and being able to hit someone who has on a different color jersey than I do. We had some first game jitters and we definitely have some things we need to work on, but we will get it done."
Tanner Elliot was the work horse for the Raiders on the ground rushing the ball 13 times for 119 yards and a touchdown.
Dalton Elliott completed 33-of-55 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns, while Guffey had 11 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
The Raiders' defense was led by Matt Christensen who had 20 total tackles, while Tanner Elliott added 13 tackles, and Guffey intercepted a pass.
Nicollet (1-0) plays again next Friday at home against Madelia.