By Tom Larson
MAYNARD -- It definitely wasn't a mid-season prep football game, with fans watching wearing shorts and t-shirts and others watching from their vehicles with the air conditioning running.
The MACCRAY football team played like it was an October weekend, however, rolling up almost 500 yards of total offense and winning its 2011 opener 50-24 over Mankato Loyola on Saturday.
"Our line blocked well and that opened up the run," said Wolverines' quarterback Brady Boike, who threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns and he ran for 129 yards and another score. "We can play better - too many penalties - but I think we're on the right track."
MACCRAY won its first-ever "Zero Week" game. MACCRAY and Loyola were among 12 Minnesota teams that opened practice and the season a week early because of scheduling difficulties. The rest of the state's programs open the season this coming weekend.
On Saturday, MACCRAY played like it had a two-month head start.
Boike threw two TD passes in the first quarter to Quinten Burns and Brent Jaenisch, and after Loyola scored to open the second quarter, Boike capped another Wolverine drive with a 20-yard scoring run for a 23-6 lead.
After a MACCRAY drive stalled on downs at the Loyola 1-yard line, Wolverines defensive back Aaron Jaenisch picked off Loyola quarterback Blake Matuska and returned it 10 yards for a score and a 30-6 halftime lead.
"We found stuff that worked and we just kept doing it," said Jaenisch, who also ran for 52 yards and scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth that put the Wolverines ahead by three touchdowns.
"We've been practicing pretty hard and doing a lot of reps," Jaenisch said. "Coach (Mike Dammann) says up-tempo and more reps makes you better."
Boike must have been doing reps in his sleep leading up to the game.
The 6-foot-3, 165-pound senior hit 18 of 33 passes and didn't throw an interception as he rolled up 427 total yards. He proved to be a deft and perceptive runner out of the Wolverines' shot-gun.
"He's a good player," Dammann said. "He can run, he can pass ... yeah, he's a good athlete."
Dammann said the Wolverines played sloppy in the second half but that they were able to overcome it by physically wearing down the Crusaders. Still, he wasn't doing much post-game complaining.
"Usually it takes you awhile to score like that as the season goes along," Dammann said. "It was a good way to start."
MACCRAY 50, Mankato Loyola 24
Mankato Loyola 0 6 8 10 - 24
MACCRAY 16 14 0 20 - 50
MAC - Quinten Burns 26 pass from Brady Boike (Riley Aeikens pass from Boike)
MAC - Brent Jaenisch 16 pass from Boike (Corey Abbas run)
Loy - Ben Hurrle 66 pass from Blake Matuska (run failed)
MAC - Boike 20 run (DJ VonKlompenburg kick)
MAC - Aaron Jaenisch 10 interception return (VanKlompenburg kick)
Loy - Matuska 7 run (Matuska run)
MAC - Abbas 40 pass from Boike (kick failed)
Loy - Kyle Reynolds 15 pass from Matuska (Shane Sellner pass from Matuska)
MAC - Aaron Jaenisch 2 run (VanKlompenburg kick)
MAC - Lee Segura 4 run (VanKlompenburg kick)
Loy - Safety
Rushing: Evan Ellingworth 2-3, Brent Douglass 2-4, Matuska 6-39, Luke Hermer 4-36, Reynolds 2-(-1) ... Passing: Matuska 11-28-155-3 ... Receiving: Douglass 2-(-2), Trenton Marks 1-1, Hermer 2-17, Hurrle 1-66, Reynolds 4-57, Marcus Yockey 1-16.
Rushing: Abbas 1-(-8), Brent Jaenisch 4-15, Boike 13-129, Aaron Jaenisch 13-52, Nick Zimmer 4-(-2), Nathan Zuidema 1-4, Segura 2-7, Caleb Melin 1-(-7) ... Passing: Boike 18-33-298-0 ... Receiving: Alex Wrede 2-48, Burns 2-24, Brent Jaenisch 1-16, Abbas 7-82, Aeikens 5-101, Taylor Thissen 1-27.