The Division 4 defending state champions knocked the Bloomer Blackhawks out of the playoffs at Hammond Friday, Nov. 3. The Hawks lost 28-0 loss to St. Croix Central in the Level 3 playoff game.
The Blackhawks couldn’t find a way to stop the Panthers running game – which totaled 346 yards – and St. Croix Central led 14-0 at the half.
St. Croix Central started the game with the ball, and ate up the first 5:46 with a 13-play, 69-yard drive to put the first points on the scoreboard.
Bloomer took over at their own 40 after a good return by junior Caleb Ruf, but could only gain five yards and punted.
The Panthers second possession produced a 14-play, 72-yard drive, eating up 5:50 on 14 plays to go up 14-0.
A short kickoff gave Bloomer the ball at their own 48. The Hawks totaled five yards on the first two downs, and junior Zach Ruf threw to junior Brad Sarauer for a first down to the St. Croix Central 42. Caleb Ruf picked up a yard, and then Zach Ruf was intercepted.
The Panthers took over at their own 43, ran for a first down on the first play, and then picked up another first down with their only completed pass of the game. After a 1-yard stop by junior Elijah Prill on second down, the Panthers shot themselves in the foot. St. Croix Central, with a third-and-eight at the Bloomer 25, was called for holding, and on third-and-10 a miscue cost them four yards. A delay of game then had the Panthers punting on fourth-and-19 from the Bloomer 38.
A touchback gave the Hawks the ball at their own 20 with 3:37 left in the half. After a two-yard loss, Zach Ruf threw to Caleb Ruf for a 10-yard gain, and junior Jesse Buchli picked up the first down. Bloomer ended up having to punt when the next three plays only produced a yard, and St. Croix Central took over at their own 42.
The Panthers reached the Bloomer 44 in three plays, but an incomplete pass was followed by two short runs to end the half.
The Hawks started the third quarter with the ball at their own 36, and went three-and-out after gaining a yard.
The Panthers took over at their own 18, picked up two first downs and played it safe with a punt on fourth-and-one at the St. Croix Central 49.
Bloomer took over at their own 30 and finally started making consistent progress against the Panthers defense. Caleb Ruf ran for five yards, and then junior Philip Jorstad lost a yard. Zach Ruf threw to Sarauer for a 17-yard gain to the St. Croix Central 48. After getting nowhere on a couple of runs, an incomplete pass put Bloomer in a fourth-and-10. Zach Ruf threw a screen pass to Caleb Ruf, who then lateraled the ball to senior Aaron Price for a 28-yard gain. Caleb Ruf reached the St. Croix Central 17 on first down, and Zach Ruf ran for three yards to the 14. And then the Hawks shot themselves in the foot with back-to-back false starts, moving backwards to the 24. The drive died after two incomplete passes.
St. Croix Central took over with 2:23 left in the third and started marching. The Panthers ended up scoring with 10:32 remaining in the game for a 21-0 lead after a nine-play, 76-yard drive.
Bloomer took over at their own 23 with 10:26 left in the game. After a two-yard gain, Caleb Ruf took a pitch from Zach Ruf and threw the ball back to him for a 29-yard gain to the St. Croix Central 45. Bloomer picked up another first down on second-and-12 with a pass from Zach Ruf to Sarauer to move the ball to the 35-yard line. Bloomer would reach the 31, but a five-yard loss set up a fourth-and-11, and the Hawks would end up turning the ball over on downs with an incomplete pass.
The Panthers took over with 6:22 on the clock, and scored their fourth touchdown after 10 plays on the 64-yard drive.
Bloomer got the ball back at their own 21 with 1:05 left in the game, and kneeled down twice to end the game.
Bloomer totaled 119 yards in the game, while St. Croix Central ended up with 364 yards. Caleb Ruf led the Hawks with 20 yards, Zach Ruf was 5-for-13 passing for 71 yards and one interception and Brad Sarauer had three catches for 34 yards.
Bloomer ends the season with a 10-2 record.
WIAA D4 Level 3 Playoff
St. Croix Central 28, Bloomer 0
Friday, Nov. 3, 2017
Bloomer 0 0 0 0 0
SCC 7 7 0 14 28
S – Collin Nelson 8 Yd Run (Derek Myer Kick) 6:14.
S – Ryan Larson 2 Yd Run (Myer Kick) 10:23.
S – Keagen Berg 3 Yd Run (Myer Kick) 10:32.
S – Nelson 10 Yd Run (Myer Kick) 1:11.