SLEEPY EYE - The Sleepy Eye St. Mary's football team certainly ended its regular season on the right note Wednesday night.
Playing against Murray County Central in a non-conference match-up, the Knights kicked into high gear on both sides of the ball to put together a 62-18 victory.
"It feels great," St. Mary's senior Mitch Neid said. "We came out hard, pushed 'til the end and put up a big win to end our season."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s quarterback Jordan Anderson tosses a pass during the Knights’ win against Murray County Central Friday at St. Mary’s.
St. Mary's began the game's scoring eight minutes into the first quarter when quarterback Jordan Anderson connected with Sean Mathiowetz for a seven-yard score (Anderson extra point kick good). Mathiowetz grabbed the pass between two defenders, landing on his head in the front-left corner of the end zone.
The Knights' next score was set up when Neid blocked a punt and recovered the ball himself, with David Suprenant running in for an eight-yard touchdown on the very next play (extra point no good) to make the score 13-0.
The Rebels responded on their next drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Seth Bass to Max Whitehead (two-point try failed), but three plays later Anderson had a 20-yard touchdown run (extra point kick blocked) to make the score 19-6.
A three-yard touchdown run by Neid (extra point kick missed) was then countered by a 44-yard touchdown run by MCC's Jack Thony (two-point try failed), leaving the score at 25-12 heading into halftime.
On the second play of the third quarter, Neid ran for a 37-yard touchdown, after which Anderson hit Brandon Helget for a two-point conversion to make the score 33-13.
Payton Adams came up with a spectacular interception at full extension to end the Rebels' next drive. Suprenant capped off the following drive with a touchdown on a one-yard dive (Anderson pass to John Brandl for two point conversion) as the Knights started putting some daylight between themselves and the Rebels.
Thony added his second long touchdown run of the game - this time from 59 yards - to cut the score to 41-18, but a five-yard touchdown run by Anderson on the next series again gave St. Mary's the momentum.
On the two-point conversion, Anderson pitched to Neid, who hit a wide-open Suprenant in the end zone to make the score 49-18.
"We put [that play] in this week, I think we practiced it maybe three times during practice," Neid said. "We thought we might as well give it a try, and it worked out pretty good."
The final two touchdowns for St. Mary's came on a 35-yard run by Helget (Anderson extra point kick good) and a 26-yard run by Jaden Wait (two-point conversion failed).
"It feels good to get the offense clicking again, back on the path we want to be," St. Mary's head coach Brent Kucera said. "The defense still played tough - we turned it over a couple times, they cleaned up after us again, so it's good to see both sides clicking. It's a good way to head into the playoffs."
The Knights' offense was paced by Anderson (19-for-25 passing, 227 yards), Neid (86 yards rushing), Suprenant (47 yards rushing), Mathiowetz (77 receiving yards), Brandl (48 receiving yards) and Helget (42 receiving yards).
The team's defense was led by Suprenant (six solo tackles, four assists), Adams (four assists, fumble recovery, interception), Lucas Heiderscheidt (three solo tackles, seven assists, fumble recovery) and Nathan Lax (three solo tackles, seven assists, one sack).
St. Mary's (8-0) will now look to make a deep run in the Section 2A playoffs and make a second-straight trip to the state tournament.
"I think we've got a bye the first playoff game, then after that we'll probably have a good opponent next Saturday," Neid said. "We've just got to keep on working hard, keep up the good work and keep on rolling."