SLEEPY EYE Friday night's Section 2A section championship looked very similar to the one which took place last year. Sleepy Eye St. Mary's faced off against New Ulm Cathedral in the section championship for the second year in a row.
The outcome was the same as St. Mary's defeated Cathedral 48-28 to advance to the state playoffs.
"Last year was pretty special, but it's even more special this year as a senior," St. Mary's wide receiver Sean Mathiowetz said. "It meant a lot to get to play on our field and beat Cathedral, who is one of the best teams in the state."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Sean Mathiowetz attempts to bring down New Ulm Cathedral’s Jeff Osborne (47) during the Knights’ win in the Section 2A Championship game Friday in Sleepy Eye.
The Knights won the toss and elected to receive the ball to start the game, and they wasted no time scoring on a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jordan Anderson to receiver Brandon Helget. Mitch Neid ran the ball in for the two-point conversion, and the Knights took an early 8-0 lead.
St. Mary's got the ball back to its offense quickly, but it was pinned back on its own eight. Anderson threw a bomb on the very first play of the drive to Mathiowetz, who scored on what ended up being a 92 yard touchdown pass (Two-point conversion pass to Mathiowetz good).
The Greyhounds finally got on the board at the end of the first quarter when senior running back Adam Schnobrich ran in a seven yard touchdown on a misdirection play (Two-point conversion no good).
The Knights led 16-6 at the end of the first quarter.
St. Mary's scored on its third consecutive drive early in the second quarter on a four-yard touchdown run by Neid (Two-point conversion no good) to take a 22-6 lead.
The Greyhounds' defense finally forced St. Mary's to punt, but they gave the ball right back when quarterback Collin Helget's pass was tipped up by Knights' cornerback Mike Hirsch and then intercepted by Lucas Heiderscheidt.
The Knights took advantage of the turnover two plays later when Anderson hooked up with John Brandl for a 40-yard touchdown pass (Two-point conversion no good).
Mathiowetz seemed to intercept Helget's pass on the Greyhounds' next drive, but a questionable pass interference call gave Cathedral the ball in the red zone, where Ben Kittler broke three tackles en route to a 14-yard touchdown run (Two-point conversion run by Jake Stadick successful).
Cathedral threatened to score again late in the half, but Heiderscheidt stood up Schnobrich on the goal line and the Greyhounds turned the ball over on downs.
St. Mary's led 28-14 at the half.
The second half was more of the same for both teams. St. Mary's seemed to be able to move the ball at will through the air, while Cathedral struggled to find the end-zone.
The Knights scored three times in the second half: once on a five yard pass to Mathiowetz (Two-point conversion no good), once on a four-yard run by David Surprenant (Two-point conversion pass to Hirsch good), and on a nine-yard run by Surprenant (Two-point conversion no good).
The Greyhounds scored twice in the second half on a one yard run by Schnobrich (Two-point conversion pass to Kittler good) and a six-yard run by Jake Stadick (Two-point conversion no good).
Anderson was 11-for-20 passing for 301 yards and four touchdown passes. Anderson also ran for 98 yards.
"Jordan is one of the best quarterbacks in the state," Mathiowetz said. "We have been playing football together since we were six years old in our grandma's yard. We each know what the other is going to do every time."
Mathiowetz had six catches for 183 yards and two touchdowns, while Brandl had two catches for 80 yards.
"Hats off to St. Mary's quarterback and receiving core," Cathedral head coach Denny Lux said. "They were right on the money."
Surprenant and Heiderscheidt led the Knights' defense with 12 and eight tackles, respectively.
Kittler led the Greyhounds on the ground with 79 rushing yards. Schnobrich ran for 59 yards and two touchdowns.
Michael Larson led Cathedral with 13 tackles, and Jeff Osborne had 12 tackles and one sack. Kittler also had 12 tackles.
"I am very proud of our football team," Lux said. "These seniors have really pulled this football team together an done a great job."
St. Mary's (10-0) advances to the Class A state tournament in Rochester next Saturday. It plays Faribault Bethlehem Academy at 6 p.m. Cathedral ends its season at 7-4.