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Football: East Ridge falls at Centennial, draws Rosemount for playoffs

East Ridge lost its fourth straight in a 27-7 loss at Centennial to close the regular season Oct. 18.

"They're going to be tough to beat in the playoffs," Raptors football coach Dan Fritze said.

Centennial (7-1) has been gashing opponents with its running attack most of this season. The Cougars rolled up 285 yards rushing and three offensive touchdowns against the Raptors defense.

Raptors senior linebacker Corey Phung led the defense with eight tackles. Fellow senior linebacker/defensive back Kyle Newkirk had three and one for a loss. Senior defensive tackle Peyton Bixby posted two tackles.

East Ridge (3-5) had little fortune moving the ball on offense against the Cougars, going 3-14 on third downs. The Raptors mustered four yards rushing and turned the ball over twice through the air.

That included an interception return for a 6-yard touchdown by Cougars defensive back Trey Driskell in the second quarter. It put the Raptors in a 13-0 hole, but the Raptors defense held the Cougars to 16 points the rest of the way, including only one touchdown in the second half.

"We put our defense in bad field position because of our offense. They really played well all night," Fritze said. "That's a really offense."

Raptors senior quarterback Riley Tuckner led the only scoring drive for his team in the fourth quarter. Tuckner found senior wide receiver Cole Shaffner for an 11-yard TD pass. Shaffner had three catches for 29 yards.

"He really stood in the pocket well," Fritze said. "He just really needed to make throws."

Tuckner, who threw his seventh touchdown of the season, finished with 12-25 passing for 185 yards and an interception. Senior defensive back Evan Shaffner also saw time at quarterback and went 4-11 for 17 yards and a pick.

Junior wide receiver and defensive back Cam Ashford had one of the bright spots for the offense with eight receptions for 123 yards.

East Ridge drew a No. 6 seed for the Class 6A state playoffs and will visit No. 3 seed Rosemount (5-3) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27. The Irish reeled off five straight wins before falling 19-14 to Shakopee on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The Raptors and Irish have never met on the football field before.

"It's always fun to play a really good program," Fritze said. "I know our kids our excited about the chance too."

The Raptors haven't won a game since Sept. 22 when they nipped Roseville (6-2), a No. 2 seed, 17-16. Injuries have played a role for the Raptors, but Fritze hopes his team can get healthy in time for Rosemount.

"Everybody has a chance," Fritze said.