CAMBRIA – Last week, Cambria-Friesland let a 10-point lead slip away in the second half on its way to a 45-30 loss to Johnson Creek. There was no way the Toppers were going to let that happen again.
Cambria-Friesland put up 489 yards of total offense, and completely shut down Deerfield in a 54-0 romp over the Demons in a Trailways Small Conference game Friday night.
Cambria-Friesland coach Jim Bylsma said the most impressive thing about his team’s dominating performance was that it came with four players combining to play three new positions on the offensive line due to injuries.
The players who were playing in new positions on the line included sophomore Austin Braaksma at center. Sophomore Murphy Newbrough-Garde, who was playing left tackle, moved to left guard for the injured Austin Schepp on Friday, while the junior duo of Derek Schumacher and Bayleigh Sandborn split time at left tackle.
“They all rose to the occasion, so I’m proud of those kids,” Bylsma said. “And I’m also proud of how our senior leadership rallied around those kids who were playing in a position for the first time tonight. I have a feeling a lot of those guys earned their playing time tonight.”
Leading Cambria-Friesland (2-1, 2-3) on Friday was junior running back Max Raymond, who rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries. His 3-yard run got the scoring started midway through the first quarter.
Cambria-Friesland’s defense then got into the act. The Toppers, who held the Demons to just 65 yards of total offense, got the first of their two turnovers when junior defensive back Junior Ocampo Ramriez intercepted a Tyler Haak pass. That set up the Toppers for their second score, which came on a 1-yard run by senior Andrew DeBoer to make it 12-0 early in the second quarter.
The Toppers would get the ball back stopping Deerfield (0-3, 0-5) on its next possession when Newbrough-Garde shot through the line of scrimmage on a fourth-and-1 play and tackled Deerfield’s Logan Gesteland for a loss. It didn’t take long for the Toppers to score. A long run by quarterback Joseph Pulver set up Raymond’s two-yard TD plunge to make it 20-0.
The Toppers would make it 26-0 on their only passing score of the game – a 7-yard strike from Pulver to junior tight end Mason Owen. Then Cambria-Friesland’s second interception of the game, this time by Raymond, allowed Cambria-Friesland to score just before the half ended, as DeBoer got loose for a 39-yard touchdown run to make it 34-0 with 51 seconds left in the half.
Raymond’s third TD of the night – an 8-yard run – came on the first drive of the second half to make it 40-0. That score started the running clock, but the Toppers kept pouring it on, as a 3-yard touchdown run by senior running back Sawyer Quade would make it 48-0 with 1:31 left in the third quarter.
Cambria-Friesland found another way to score early in the fourth quarter, when sophomore Cade Burmania showed off his speed by shooting up the left sideline for a 58-yard punt return for a score that put the cap on the scoring for the night.
The win came in what was probably Cambria-Friesland’s most complete performance of the season.
“We’ve grown up the last couple weeks,” Bylsma said. “If you look at our entire season, we were ahead the whole ball game in Pardeeville, but couldn’t finish. We played two and a half tough quarters against Dodgeland, but it was too late. Last week with Johnson Creek, we dug ourselves into a huge hole, then all of a sudden woke up and charged ahead, but then we went back to our old habits. Once we play consistent, we’ll be very good.”
And the win makes a playoff berth a real possibility for the Toppers. They will have to win two of their final four games to become playoff eligible, and could maybe even put themselves in position to win a conference championship.
“The kids knew that if they are going to make the playoffs, or even challenge for a conference title, every game from now on is almost a must-win situation,” Bylsma said.
Next up for Cambria-Friesland will be a game at rival Rio next Friday night.
Deerfield 0 0 0 0 — 0
Cambria-Friesland 6 28 14 6 — 54
CF — Max Raymond 3 run
CF — Andrew DeBoer 1 run
CF — Max Raymond 2 run (Max Raymond pass from Joseph Pulver)
CF — Mason Owen 7 pass from Joseph Pulver
CF — Andrew DeBoer 39 run (Max Raymond pass from Joseph Pulver)
CF — Max Raymond 8 run
CF — Sawyer Quade 3 run (Andrew DeBoer run)
CF — Cade Burmania 58 punt return
First downs — DE 5, CF 27. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — DE 23-20, CF 47-431. Passing yards — DE 45, CF 58. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — DE 5-13-2, CF 4-7-0. Fumbles-lost — DE 0-0, CF 0-0. Penalties-yards — DE 2-12, CF 9-75.
Rushing: DE, Haak 7-24. CF, Raymond 14-169.
Passing: DE, Haak 4-12-2-44. CF, Pulver 4-7-0-58.
Receiving: DE, Lasack 2-19. CF, Raymond 1-19.