SLEEPY EYE - The New Ulm Cathedral football team has developed a tried-and-tested offensive style during head coach Denny Lux's tenure with the team, and in Friday night's game against Sleepy Eye the Greyhounds' offense was as systematic as ever.
Cathedral used a methodical ground game to score touchdowns on five of its first seven possessions, opening up an early lead that the Indians couldn't recover from in a 39-12 Southern Minnesota Conference victory that spoiled Sleepy Eye's Homecoming.
The Indians showed some bright flashes late in the first half, with quarterback Jake Trebesch throwing for two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the half to reduce the Greyhounds' lead to 27-12 at halftime. However, the visitors sealed the victory by scoring two quick touchdowns in the second half.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Cathedral’s Adam Schnobrich (25) gets into the end zone during the third quarter of the Greyhounds’ win Friday at Sleepy Eye High School.
"We just didn't make enough plays early on," Sleepy Eye head coach Cory Haala said. "We kind of got behind, and it's tough to play from behind, your play calling is little bit more limited - but you've got to give a lot of credit to them."
Trebesch connected on a 23-yard pass with Matt Schroepfer on the second play of the game - a combination that came up time and again in the contest as Schroepfer reeled in eight passes for 160 yards - but the Indians ended the drive turning over the ball on downs.
Cathedral responded by scoring on the ensuing drive, with Austin Cooper (17 carries for 184 yards, two touchdowns) converting a one-yard touchdown run, after which Adam Schnobrich kicked the extra point.
The big play of the drive came on a 47-yard reception from quarterback Collin Helget (4-for-8 passing, 114 yards, two touchdowns) to Josh Kienlen (two receptions for 76 yards).
The Greyhounds scored again two plays into the second quarter when Schnobrich (10 carries for 65 yards, two receptions for 35 yards, three touchdowns) followed a 50-yard scamper by Cooper with a 10-yard touchdown run (extra point no good).
An interception by Brandon Hawkins (three tackles) set up another scoring drive for Cathedral, with Kienlen catching a one-yard pass from Helget with 5:02 remaining in the half. Jeff Osborne caught the two-point conversion pass from Helget to make the score 21-0.
Trebesch began Sleepy Eye's next drive with a 31-yard pass to Schroepfer, then a few plays later connected with Schroepfer again for a 10-yard touchdown pass to cut the Greyhounds' lead to 21-6 (two-point conversion no good).
However, just as it seemed the Indians would take some momentum into the half, the Greyhounds struck a critical blow when Schnobrich returned the ensuing kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown (extra point no good).
"I got the ball, I ran upfield a little bit and I saw a big hole, and I just went through it," Schnobrich said. "Guys were downfield making great blocks, making it look real easy."
The Indians received the ball with 1:38 left in the half and wasted little time adding another score, with Trebesch connecting with Tyler Netzke for a nine-yard touchdown pass just 43 seconds later (two-point conversion no good).
Cathedral stalled at the Indians' nine-yard line to end the half and leave the home side with a realistic chance of salvaging the game.
However, the Greyhounds seized the momentum of the contest right from the beginning of the second half, marching 53 yards on the first drive of the half. The drive culminated in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Helget to Schnobrich (two-point conversion no good).
Cathedral put up its final score two and a half minutes later when Cooper broke loose for a 48-yard touchdown run (extra point no good).
"I thought both teams played very, very hard," Lux said. "We were just fortunate to make some of the right blocks at times and got some long runs. It was a very good football game, and the kind of game that I think both teams needed as they go into the second half of the season."
Playing in only his second game of the season at the quarterback position with starter Brandon Polesky injured, Trebesch was 11-for-19 passing for 190 yards, but also threw three interceptions. He also rushed for 60 yards on 14 carries.
"We're still learning, I'm getting more used to things this week," Trebesch said. "I thought I threw a little better this week."
The third prong of the Greyhounds' effective running game came from Jake Stadick, who picked up 46 yards on nine carries.
The Cathedral defense was led by Schnobrich (eight tackles), Brandon Beranek (six tackles, sack, interception) and Cooper (six tackles, interception).
On defense, the Indians were paced by John Mangen (five solo tackles, 11 assists), Kennedy Capacia (four solos, three assists), Trebesch (four solos, three assists) and Alexis Flores (sack).
Cathedral (2-2) will host Wabasso at 7 p.m. on Friday and Sleepy Eye (1-3) will next play at Red Rock Central, also at 7 p.m. on Friday.