by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Zero points one week, sixty-nine points the next week.
That’s the rather bizarre turn of events for the Zimmerman Thunder the last two weeks of the regular season.
The Thunder rumbled past St. Cloud Cathedral 69-27 on Wednesday evening at home, led by senior fullback Jeff Mueller with five touchdowns and 249 yards on 24 carries.
The Thunder had lost to Orono 40-0 the previous Friday in a non-conference game against a section rival.
“Offensively we played extremely well,” said coach Tom Kish. “It was good to see them bounce back this week. Jeff Mueller had a big night.”
The Thunder finished 5-2 for third place in the Granite Ridge Conference. They are 5-3 overall heading into the playoffs. On Tuesday, they will host Big Lake in the Section 5, Class 4 quarterfinals.
Mueller opened the game with runs of 60 and 26 yards, and added scoring jaunts of one, 21 and 18 yards.
After rushing for 148 and 109 yards the first two games, Mueller had between 28 and 63 yards the next five games, before erupting against Cathedral. His eight-game totals are 748 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Also rushing for touchdowns were Cam Korlath, Noah Lunning, and Trent Milless.
Trey Gabrielson scored on an 80-yard kick return that gave the Thunder a 28-7 lead.
Gabrielson also had a 38-yard punt return and caught two passes from Korlath for 60 yards. Hunter Smith closed the scoring with a 75-yard interception return. Alex MacGregor was 9-for-9 on conversions. Logan Olerich had a 44-yard punt return.
For Cathedral (3-5), quarterback Jeff Fasching fired three touchdown passes, two of them to Isaac Blitvich and one to Michael Manthei.
“Cathedral had a very good quarterback who made some nice throws,” said Kish.
Zimmerman 69, St. Cloud Cathedral 27
Cathedral …………. 0 14 7 6 — 27
Zimmerman …….. 21 13 7 28 — 69
Zim—Jeff Mueller 60 run (Alex MacGregor kick)
Zim—Mueller 26 run (MacGregor kick)
Zim—Mueller 1 run (MacGregor kick)
SCC—Isaac Blitvich 3 pass from Jeff Fasching (Elliot Jaye kick)
Zim—Trey Gabrielson 80 kick return (MacGregor kick)
Zim—Mueller 21 run (run failed)
SCC—Blitvich 10 pass from Fasching (Jaye kick)
Zim—Cam Korlath 7 run (MacGregor kick)
SCC—Michael Manthey 50 pass from Fasching (Jaye kick)
Zim—Noah Lunning 5 run (MacGregor kick)
Zim—Mueller 18 run (MacGregor kick)
SCC—Blake Addison 70 run (Jaye kick)
Zim—Trent Milless 10 run (MacGregor kick)
Zim—Hunter Smith 75 interception return (MacGregor kick)
Rushing — Mueller 24-249, Korlath 10-44, Mack Riley 1-6, Lunning 2-16, Andrew Nixon 5-17, Milless 1-10
Passing — Korlath 4-9-84-0
Receiving — Gabrielson 2-60, Mueller 1-8, Lunning 1-16
Tackles — Eli Muellenbach 5, Mitch Robinson 5, Mueller 4, Cory Jopp 4, Evan Langston 4
Sacks — Muellebach, Jopp
Fumble recovery — Gage Benjamin
Granite Ridge final conference
Little Falls 3-4
St. Cloud Cathedral 2-4