ATLANTA-Garrett Badgero put his versatility on full display Friday night.
Atlanta's senior quarterback threw for touchdowns, ran for touchdowns, punted and came up with two interceptions as the Huskies picked up their first win of the season and first win of coach Troy Cheedie's head coaching tenure, beating Central Lake 36-22 at Atlanta High School.
Badgero was 15-for-23 through the air with three touchdowns, all to Jake Chambers, and added two more touchdowns on the ground to go along with 83 yards on 11 carries.
News Photo by?James Andersen
Atlanta quarterback Garrett Badgero (11) tries to evade Central Lake’s Tyler Moran during a run in the first half of a football game at Atlanta High School on Friday.
"He can do everything. We call on him a lot and he does a good job for us," Cheedie said of his quarterback.
Central Lake took an early lead in the first quarter on a 69-yard run by William Brockman, but Atlanta (1-1) responded on the next drive when Badgero found Chambers in the left corner of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown which came on a fourth-down play. Badgero added a two-point conversion run to knot the game at eight.
Chambers finished with 108 yards on three catches and provided a big target for Badgero all night, scoring three times in the first half.
"We've been playing together since 5th grade, so we know how each other works and it just happened to work out right," Badgero said of Chambers.
Brockman scored with two minutes left in the first quarter on a five-yard run to give Central Lake a 14-8 lead, but from there the game belonged to the Huskies.
On Atlanta's opening drive of the second quarter, Badgero scampered 31 yards to the end zone and added a two-point conversion run to put Atlanta ahead for good, 16-14, with 9:54 left in the half.
After the Trojans botched a punt attempt on their next drive, Atlanta found the end zone again in just three plays after Badgero found Chambers for a 25-yard touchdown pass to increase the Huskies' lead to 22-14 with seven minutes remaining.
Although the Huskies' offense was hard at work on Friday, their defense came up big on several occasions during the game. On Central Lake's last two drives of the first half, Atlanta came up with big stops on fourth down, both of which were led by Nick Garcia. On the first drive Garcia stopped Trojans' receiver T.J. Potter short of the end zone on fourth down and the second stop came just before halftime when Garcia stuffed Brockman on a run.
Badgero came up with two second-half interceptions to add to Atlanta's big night on defense.
"We stress defense every single day in practice. (If) we can't stop them we can't win," Badgero said. "The team played great together and that's what we have to do to win."
Badgero hooked up with Chambers one more time before halftime, finding his receiver for a 32-yard touchdown pass that put Atlanta ahead 28-14.
The Trojans came storming out of the gate in the second half, marching down the field in seven plays from their own 49-yard line before Nate Veldbloom found Potter for a 10-yard touchdown with eight minutes left in the third quarter. A follow-up conversion pass made the score 28-22.
While the Huskies stalled on several of their second-half drives, Badgero helped his team by coming up with interceptions on consecutive Trojans' drives. After the second snag, Badgero marched the Huskies 47 yards to paydirt and capped the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run and a conversion pass with 56 seconds remaining in the game.
Brockman led the Trojans with 147 rushing yards on 13 carries and two scores; Taylor Sutherland added 77 yards on 16 touches and Zach Carley had 54 yards on nine carries.
With a win at home, the Huskies will have momentum on their side as they enter North Star League play at Mio next week.
"I'm feeling good about the first win, they played like they needed to play to win," Cheedie said.