Garhett King fired two touchdown passes and a stingy St. Cloud defense nearly pitched a shutout, as the Bulldogs improved to 2-0 on the young season with an impressive 41-6 win over Golden, Colorado in a KSA Kickoff Game.
The Bulldogs dominated the first quarter, winning the field position game that allowed them to jump out to a 15-0 lead. Patrick Forsythe’s 46-yard run on St. Cloud’s first play from scrimmage set up a 27-yard field goal by Valdemar Guerra to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.
Two possessions later, the St. Cloud defense pinned the Demons deep in their own territory. Two plays later, Ryan Clancy stepped in front of a Joey Mancuso pass and returned the interception 27 yards for a touchdown. A big punt return on the next possession set up the Bulldogs on the Golden 26, and King hit Forsyth on a 16-yard touchdown pass to make it 15-0 with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Golden did not pick up its initial first down until the last play of the quarter.
“The fast start where we controlled field position in the first quarter was absolutely the key for us. Our defense scored a touchdown and along with our special teams gave our offense a short field for most of the quarter.” St. Cloud Head Coach Bryan Smart said. “When that happened , we were able to take control of the game from the beginning.”
St. Cloud extended the lead to 21-0 midway through the second quarter, taking advantage of a 38-yard pass play from King to Koren Perrin and 10-yard touchdown run from Forsyth They would tack on a fourth touchdown in the half when they followed Forsyth’s touchdown with a surprise on-sides kick and recovered the ball at midfield. Four plays later, King hooked up with Perrin for a 29-yard touchdown pass and a 27-0 lead at intermission.
The second half was all St. Cloud.
Tate Krisle returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown to increase the lead to 35-0, and force a running clock and Perrin tacked on a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 41-0. The Demons finally got on the board, driving 64 yards on its final possession with Mancuso scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run on the game’s final play.
“Can’t say enough about our defense and how they played tonight,” Smart noted.
“Obviously the shutout would have been nice, but they scored twice and kept them out of the end zone until the last seconds. It was a great performance.”
One area where Smart said he was still a little concerned was his offense.
“We didn’t really get a running game going to sustain a lot of drives. A lot of yardage came on big chunk plays and you can’t always count of getting those. We have a lot of skill players, so hopefully with another week of practice our offense will start clicking.”
Forsyth finished the game with 100 yards rushing, but 81 of those yards came on just four plays. King was 11 for 24, 183 yards and the two scores, but also threw three picks, and had 122 passing yards on just four of those completions. Perrin caught six passes for 105 yards, Romeo Medina caught four for 46.
NEXT GAME: The Bulldogs (2-0) host Gateway (0-2) next Friday in a non-conference game.
“They lost a lot to graduation and are off to a rough start, but I anticipate getting their best game. Coach Roberts is an excellent football coach and frankly they have had our number ,” Smart noted. “We’re tickled to be 2-0 at this point in the season but I know we better come ready to play next week.” Following the game, Smart told his players they would meet on Friday before breaking for the holiday weekend but left a message for his team about Hurricane Dorian.
“When you are at home, take care of your families and take care of your neighbors. If things get bad, remember to help your neighbors. What makes St. Cloud great is we take care of our own. You’ll see your coaches and your teachers out in the community helping others and it’s what I expect of you.”