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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Football stuns 13th ranked Bethel 17-14

<ll has arrived here at Carleton College, and with the start of the school year comes not only a fresh group of unhappy Oles looking for an actual party but the beginning of football season. The Knights began play two weeks ago on the road in Iowa (“Minnesota’s Footrest”) against an obviously overmatched Cornell College. Cornell, whose most popular majors include economics, English, and psychology, apparently skipped all their pass coverage classes, and quarterback Shane Henfling ’09 showed off his laser-rocket arm in torching a hapless Rams secondary for 374 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Henfling favorite targets were wideouts Matt Frank ’09, All-American, and Chris Gardner ’09, who both put on an incredible display of both sticky hands and impressive speed (even Frank) in combining for 14 receptions. Frank found the endzone 3 times, including a graceful 66-yard catch-and-run, and finished with 106 yards, while Gardner exploded for 223 yards and scores of 70 and 69 yards. Gardner’s performance set a single-game school record for reception yards and moved him to the top of the Knight’s record book in notching his third career 200-yard game.

On the ground, the Rams had no answer for running back Phil Blue ’10, who had a career-best 101 yards on 24 carries while adding a touchdown of his own. Inspired by the impressive fantasy football numbers of Henfling and Company, the Knights defense was able to hold Travion Hardman, the Ram’s two-time all-conference running back, to 36 yards on 14 carries. His less than stellar numbers were no doubt the result of the intimidating presence of All-American safety Drew Ziller ’09 in the Carleton secondary.

Ziller, the single greatest athlete ever to come out of the 1.4 square miles that is Byron, Minnesota, recorded 6 tackles and forced two fumbles in the contest. Also starring on defense was safety Neil Kolstad ’11, who picked up 12 tackles, and linebackers George Zeon ’11 and Tim Mulso ’11, who finished the game with 10 tackles apiece in what was the first collegiate start for each.

After their warm-up game against the Rams, the Knights began preparation for one of their biggest weekends of the season, a road trip to Arden Hills to face Bethel University. Bethel, ranked number 13 nationally, seemed to forget that Matt Frank and Drew Ziller still play for the Knights, and foolishly scheduled Carleton as their homecoming opponent.

Frank, Ziller, and the rest of the Knights turned in what is certainly one of their best all-around performances in recent memory and one of the biggest wins in school history in spoiling the Royal’s festivities with a 17-14 upset victory. Frank showed why he is considered one of the nation’s premier wide receivers with a 10 catch, 142-yard performance.

Frank also scored the first Knight touchdown on a first-half fourth-down pass from quarterback Shane Henfling, and set up running back Jon Lien’s ’12 game-winning touchdown with an unbelievable 29-yard diving catch that, by itself, was well worth the $3 price of admission.

Frank’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and he was named MIAC Offensive Player of the Week. Also turning in solid performances for the Knight offense was Henfling, who threw for 252 yards to go along with his first-half scoring strike. On a more historical note, both senior wide receivers Frank and Chris Gardner went over the 2,000-career yard mark during the game.

On the other side of the ball, safety Drew Ziller earned MIAC Defensive Player of the Week honors in leading a tenacious Knight defense with 10 tackles and, in what was perhaps the play of the young season, a late fourth-quarter block of what would have been the game-tying field goal.

Safety Neil Kolstad turned in another standout performance with 2 first-half interceptions to go along with 4 tackles and linebacker George Zeon ’11 all but sealed the Knight’s victory with a late fourth quarter interception.

On special teams, Erik Fabry ’12 earned Co-MIAC Special Teams Player of the Week by practically turning the punt into a legitimate offensive play. Fabry averaged 39.2 yards on 5 punts and, more importantly, pinned the Royals inside their own 15-yard line 3 times and boomed a 54-yard punt in the fourth quarter that, with some help from the defense, would eventually set up the Knights game-winning drive.

The Carleton Cheerboys also opened their season on a very high note in completely showing up the thousands of Royal fans present, and were undeniably more fun than even the Bethel Homecoming Bouncy Castle. Join the Cheerboys and the rest of the Carleton faithful this Saturday as the Knights look to continue their dominant ways at home against Macalaster, who, rumor has it, is at least legitimately decent at soccer.

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