Sometimes the playbook can be as simple as just give Mitchell Stanchina some space for Northfield. The 6-foot, 3-inch, 195-pound senior running back gobbled up yards Friday for the Raiders in a 40-14 bounce-back win against Rochester John Marshall at…
Sometimes the playbook can be as simple as just give Mitchell Stanchina some space for Northfield.
The 6-foot, 3-inch, 195-pound senior running back gobbled up yards Friday for the Raiders in a 40-14 bounce-back win against Rochester John Marshall at Memorial Field in Northfield. The speedy Stanchina finished with four total touchdowns, two on the ground and two through the air for Northfield (1-1) in its first win of the season following a 33-21 loss to Mankato East in the season opener.
Stanchina rushed for 134 yards on eight carries, including a 69-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that extended the Raiders’ lead to 40-7. Stanchina also had a 13-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. He added a 2-yard touchdown reception later in the second quarter and sprinted 20 yards for another touchdown in the third quarter.
“It felt great,” Stanchina said. “The line was working really hard, the defense was coming up with some big stops. It just seemed like everything was clicking.”
Northfield has found more uses for Stanchina than coming out of the backfield. Multiple times the Raiders lined Stanchina in the slot receiver spot to give him more opportunities in the open field.
“When he gets into that secondary with a head of steam, he’s tough to stop,” said Northfield head coach Bubba Sullivan, who recorded his 200th career victory with the win.
The Raiders committed five turnovers in the season-opening loss and had just one turnover against the Rockets (0-2) who lost their season opener 20-14 to Winona.
Northfield quarterback Mason Zick completed 14 of 22 passes for 151 yards and Gavin Rataj led the team in receiving with four catches for 45 yards. Zick found six different receivers in the game and scored from 7 yards out for the game’s first score at the 9-minute, 33-second mark of the first quarter.
“We really preached on playing tougher,” Sullivan said. “Playing tougher, being more competitive. We weren’t happy with the way we played the first game. Just the want-to. We really worked on that. We executed, a little confidence always helps. I thought our defense played a real nice first half.”
That defense pitched a shutout for three quarters before Rochester John Marshall scored. Rockets quarterback Aaron Limberg rushed in from 18 yards out in the fourth quarter and later added an 8-yard run that made 40-14 after the extra point.
Rochester John Marshall finished with just 262 yards of total offense while Northfield gained 341 yards.
Limberg threw for 78 yards on 6 of 15 passing while Braden Black rushed for a team-high 100 yards on 14 carries.
“We definitely made a lot of changes on the offensive and defensive side,” Zick said. “In practice this week we were mix and matching guys to see who had the best mesh together. I think we figured it out. This week we definitely worked harder than last week. We turned up the intensity a little bit.”
The Rockets move on to face Mankato West, ranked No. 5 in Class 5A by the Associated Press, next Friday in Rochester while the Raiders, who went 8-1 last season but exited the section playoffs in the first round, will face rival Faribault in Faribault.