SLEEPY EYE - Much of the town of Sleepy Eye was in attendance to watch Sleepy St. Mary's take on Sleepy Eye High School on Friday night, but it was the St. Mary's who left the game with something to cheer about.
The Knights' defense held the Sleepy Eye offense to just 90 yards of total offense and one touchdown and St. Mary's rolled to a 51-6 victory in a Southern Minnesota Conference football game.
"We knew we had to come out strong tonight right away, especially on defense, and that is exactly what we did," St. Mary's offensive/defensive lineman Andrew Steffl said.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Sleepy Eye’s Wyatt Kosmatka (77) and Sam Hirschboeck (55) tackle St. Mary’s Jared Beltz during the Knights’ win Friday at Sleepy Eye.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
It took the Knights a little while to get on the scoreboard, but once they scored they did not let up for the rest of the night.
Sleepy Eye was punting from its own end zone with three minutes left in the first quarter when the punt was blocked up in the air by a St. Mary's player and caught by David Surprenant in the end zone. Shawn Wensauer tacked on the extra point to go up 7-0.
On the Indians' following drive, quarterback Austin Fischer's pass was interceptedby Payton Adams, and the Knights took advantage of the good field position with an 11-yard screen pass for a touchdown from Brandon Helget to Kaleb Fischer.
After Lucas Heiderscheidt recovered a Sleepy Eye fumble, St. Mary's scored on three plays in 25 seconds when Jaden Wait ran the ball in from 18 yards out on the option pitch to extend the lead to 20-0.
Heiderscheidt recorded an interception of his own on Sleepy Eye's next possession, and Cole Reinarts took advantage with a 5-yard rushing touchdown. The PAT made it 27-0.
St. Mary's scored again with 5:50 remaining in the second half on an 11-yard screen pass Steffl to give the Knights a 33-0 lead.
"We have had that play in our playbook for about two years now and we decided to pull it out tonight," Steffl said. "It was definitely fun."
Sleepy Eye's offense just could not find a way to get anything going against a stingy St. Mary's defense. The Knights kept the Indians from picking up a first down until there were only four minutes left in the second quarter.
"You have to give credit to St. Mary's," Sleepy Eye head coach Cory Haala said. "[St. Mary's] has a pretty stout defense and they played well."
St. Mary's scored once more in the first half on a 13-yard touchdown run by Nathan Schroepfer, and the teams went in for halftime with St. Mary's leading 39-0.
The Indians' struggles continued in the beginning of the second half when they fumbled the kickoff. St. Mary's was able to capitalize on a one yard touchdown run by Jared Beltz which made the score 45-0.
Sleepy Eye's offense was finally able to put something together on its next drive. Matt Berkner broke a 20-yard run to spark the offense, and Fischer followed with a 20-yard pass to Austin Trebesch. Berkner finally found the end zone a few plays later on a 13-yard rush. The Indians were not able to convert the two-point conversion and the score was 45-6.
Weinsauer's 9-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter made the score 51-6 which was the final.
"We are young team," Haala said. "We have a lot of room for improvement, so we will keep working hard in practice, and hopefully we can turn things around."
Helget was 6-for-9 for 86 yards and two touchdown passes to lead the Knights through the air.
Beltz led the Knights on the ground with eight rushing attempts for 64 yards and a touchdown.
The Indians were led in passing by Fischer with 45 yards on 4-for-11 passing, while Berkner led them on the ground with 44 yards and a touchdown.
St. Mary's (2-0, 2-0) will host Red Rock Central next Friday, while Sleepy Eye (0-2, 0-2) hosts New Ulm Cathedral.