CALEDONIA — The Caledonia High School football team knows its identity.
It’s been ingrained by a decade of winning under the watchful eyes of coaches Carl Fruechte and Brent Schroeder. It’s a mentality of playing fast and physical, and worrying about your own team more than the one lining up across from you.
The Warriors, the two-time defending MSHSL Class AA state champions, put their personal stamp on Friday’s season-opening nonconference win over Lake City. In a game that didn’t feel in question after the first handful of snaps, Caledonia topped the visiting Tigers 39-7 and extended their winning streak to 29 games in front of about 400 spectators.
Caledonia flat-out dominated the first quarter. The defense forced three consecutive three and outs, and the offense responded with three touchdowns to spot the Warriors a quick 20-0 lead and there was no looking back.
Senior quarterback Owen King connected on passes of 48 and 27 yards on the first drive to put Caledonia (1-0) in the red zone and then a short run punched it in. He hit senior receiver Jordan Burg on a post route for a 28-yard score on the next series. Sophomore Noah King got in on the action and fired a strike to senior Andrew Goergen down the right sideline to set up the Warriors at the Tigers’ 2-yard line, and then executed a quarterback sneak for the score.
From then on the Warriors seemingly rotated players each series. Owen King played just a couple more series — one in the second quarter and the first of the second half — while Noah King took the reigns for a while. Noah King’s back tightened up after a drive in which he registered his second rushing touchdown of the game, Fruechte said, so he gave way to freshman Isiah Reinhart for a good portion of the second half.
The mix heavy use of younger players came with some frustrating moments for Fruechte and his staff, as the Warriors tallied 75 yards in penalties and had to burn multiple timeouts when players weren’t on the field when they were supposed to be.
“We started off really well but then we got into a bit of a lull in the second quarter, which really is disappointing to me,” Fruechte said. “We talk about a culture of excellence and being respectful to the game. We talk about that all the time. The Lake City kids played hard, we just want more.”
Lake City (0-1) showed little life on offense, as their triple-option attack was stifled time and again by a swarm of Warriors. Even in the second half, when Caledonia had a good number of sophomores on the field against the Tigers’ top unit, the Warriors still forced stops.
“We’re always striving for perfection. Our standards are real high. But overall, I thought we did a nice job of (stopping the run),” Fruechte said.
The Tigers scored their lone touchdown on an 82-yard kick return touchdown by senior Parker Schurhammer. A large hole opened up along the left hash and Schurhammer took it the distance untouched. Schurhamme was also one of Lake City’s feature backs, leading the team with 40 yards on 13 carries.
Goergen hauled in seven catches for 174 yards — all in the first half — to lead Caledonia. Senior running back Mason Steggemeyer had 47 yards on nine attempts and two rushing touchdowns.
“We started off really well but then we got into a bit of a lull in the second quarter, which really is disappointing to me.” Carl Fruechte, Caledonia coach