Football: Thunder nicked up for title clash with Cathedral tonight

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

The Zimmerman Thunder will be missing some key players as they host St. Cloud Cathedral in a game that will decide the Granite Ridge Conference title Friday night.

Unavailable are top breakaway threat Collin Ashley, along with starting offensive linemen Josh Miller and Eli Muellenbach, all with injuries, while kicker Alex McGregor  will miss the game with strep throat, reports coach Tom Kish. He adds that running back Noah Lunning is a game-time decision.

Senior quarterback Ethan Lunning is the triggerman for Zimmerman. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)

The Thunder are 4-0 in conference, Cathedral 5-0. It will be Cathedral’s conference finale while Zimmerman still has Princeton on the schedule.

Cathedral comes in 6-0 overall. The Thunder are 5-1, losing last week to Fergus Falls 20-6 in non-conference.

Kish had these observations about Cathedral:

“Their defense plays really fast and has a lot of play-makers. Offensely, their QB is a great athlete who throws a great deep ball. They have two very quick and shifty running backs who are scoring threats anytime they touch the ball.”

Mathew Dodge has thrown only 49 times but has six touchdown passes.Waylon Bemboom has scored six TD’s rushing and two receiving. Bo Schmitz is the other back Kish mentioned.

For Zimmerman, senior QB Ethan Lunning is the key offensive player, passing for 710 yards and seven TD’s while leading the team with  239 yards rushing as well.

Ashley, who has gained 258 yards on nine receptions (28 per catch) with three TD’s, while averaging 5.1 yards on 35 rushes, has had finger and knee injuries the last two weeks.

Brandon Smith and Caleb and Noah Lunning also carry the ball for the Thunder.

“Our offense needs to get some momentum early,” said Kish, “and our defense needs to create multiple turnovers.”

Top tacklers for Zimmerman are Jeff Mueler (44) Jake Antolak  (36) and Mitch Robinson (32).  Jeremy Slonker has 6 sacks and Robinson 4.

Scores against common opponents might suggest an edge for Cathedral but only slightly. Cathedral beat Milaca 18-13, Little Falls 13-7, Mora 21-0 and Foley 32-6.

Zimmerman beat Milaca 21-19, Little Falls 33-13, Mora 8-7 and Foley 27-13.

 

GRANITE RIDGE CONFERENCE

Standings

St. Cloud Cathedral …………. 5-0     6-0

Zimmerman ………………….. 4-0     5-1

Foley …………………………… 2-2     4-2

Mora ……………………………. 2-2     3-3

Little Falls …………………….. 1-3    1-5

Milaca …………………………. 1-4    1-5

Princeton …………………….. 0-4    0-6

 

Games Friday

St. Cloud Cathedral at Zimmerman

Mora at Little Falls

Princeton at Foley

Milaca at Big Lake

 

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