The Fridley Tigers took control of the game Friday night against Richfield early and cruised to a 65-7 road victory. With most of the starters on both teams playing only in the first half – who made an impression and…
The Fridley Tigers took control of the game Friday night against Richfield early and cruised to a 65-7 road victory. With most of the starters on both teams playing only in the first half – who made an impression and stood out amongst all the points scored and yards gained?
Kaleb Blaha Fridley quarterback/defensive back
Blaha did a little bit of everything for the Tigers. He has decisions to make on almost every play – should he hand off or keep the ball and run. Should he throw or keep it and run the ball himself? His decision making was almost flawless. In the first half, I think the Tigers had only one play the didn’t gain yards – an incomplete pass that Blaha overthrew. Blaha also played defensive back on a defense that only allowed one sustained drive. He scored three rushing touchdowns and threw one touchdown to receiver Micah Niewald.
Micah Niewald Fridley wide receiver
Speaking of the junior, the play that Niewald made that stood out most was a simple throw into the flat. It should have only picked up five or six yards, but Niewald got upfield so quickly he outran any angle the Spartans’ defenders had on him. He was finally knocked out of bounds after a forty-yard gain. Niewald used his speed to get wide open on a route down the middle of the field. He hauled in the catch and scored the team’s third touchdown. The senior also was a capable ball carrier – picking up yards on end around plays.
Cheick Kaba Fridley guard/defensive end
Allowing only seven points in the first half, many Tigers’ defenders played well, but no one stood out like Kaba. He was in the backfield early and often. His quickness and physical play stopped two of Richfield’s drives when he dropped Spartans’ runners for big losses. When Richfield tried to run his way, even when he didn’t make the tackle, he forced the play inside to his help. The defensive line put pressure on Richfield quarterback Ryan Miles all half, and Kaba had a hand in that too. He also starts at guard and helped open huge holes for the inside running game.
Jalen Shaw Fridley linebacker
Shaw was instrumental in stopping the Richfield offense. He was an excellent run stuffer in the middle but especially made his mark in the passing game. He dropped into the hook zone, and although the Spartans were able to complete the pass, Shaw’s reaction and tackle prevented a first down and a big gain. Later in pass coverage, Shaw read a throw over the middle, intercepted the pass and returned the pick for a touchdown.
Ryan Miles Richfield quarterback
Miles was under pressure the entire game. While his statistics will not be great, he played a great game. When Miles did get time to throw, he was effective in throwing short and medium-range throws. Because he was under almost constant pressure, he had to make plays on the fly. He used his legs to turn sacks into positive plays. The play that most impressed me was on their lone touchdown drive. He was lined up in the shotgun, but the snap was over his head. The junior bobbled the snap, gathered it and spun out of two tackles in the backfield. He then turned upfield and dove down to the two-yard line. The Spartans scored one play later.