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St. Croix Lutheran rolls

By Aaron Paitich, Special to the Star Tribune, 09/02/11, 9:00PM CDT


Providence Academy got a rude awakening in its new conference

For a small private prep school, St. Croix Lutheran isn’t very hospitable. At least the football squad wasn’t to its new conference rival from Providence Academy on Friday night as the Crusaders cruised to a 52-6 season-opening victory.

“We knew it was going to be hard, we knew it was going to be difficult game. We didn’t think it would be 52-6,”

Providence Academy coach Nate Harrington said. “That’s a really good football team, and they took it to us.”

Just one minute into the contest, quarterback Matt Olson took it himself for a 51-yard rushing touchdown. St. Croix never looked back.

Regardless of the final score, Crusaders head coach Carl Lemke still wasn’t satisfied.

“Offensive execution was weak, and we need to improve on that,” he said. “Not entirely pleased.”

The three-pronged rushing attack of Olson and running backs Jackson Goplen and Wesley Tucker powered the Crusaders offense, building up a 32-6 lead at the half.

Olson ran for 84 yards on seven carries. Goplen gained 105 yards on 14 carries with three touchdowns. Tucker added 71 yards and two touchdowns.

“What a force,” Harrington said of Tucker. “You have to hit him just right.”

Newly departed from the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association, Providence Academy faces tougher competition after finishing undefeated in conference play the past two seasons.

Harrington, who used to coach at Blake, said there will be growing pains for the 10-year-old program in its new conference digs. But there won’t be another game like Friday night’s.

“We’re going to do fine,” Harrington said. “We’ll go 7-1 the rest of the year. We just got our butts handed to us today.”

The Crusaders have become more and more dangerous the past couple of years.

“They’re going to be a state contender,” Harrington said.

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