NEW ULM - The first quarter of the game between New Ulm Cathedral and Red Rock Central Saturday afternoon belonged to the Greyhounds.
The final 36 minutes may well have been a toss-up.
New Ulm Cathedral scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the game but needed a fourth quarter score to salt the game away as the Greyhounds moved to 1-1 in the Southern Minnesota Conference with a 28-12 win over the Falcons.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Cathedral tight end Will Olson (46) hauls in a pass as Red Rock Central defensive back Thomas Blomgren (7) during the first quarter Saturday afternoon at Johnson Field in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
Austin Cooper scored on runs of 75 and 27 yards with Gabe Knowles adding touchdown runs of 52 and 29 yards.
Sam Halter scored for Red Rock Central on a 23 yard pass from Thomas Blomgren and Jordan Schroepfer added a 52-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Cooper led Cathedral with 176 yards rushing on 12 carries with Jacob Gangelhoff adding 160 yards on 15 carries. Knowles was the third runner for the Greyhounds to break the 100-yard mark with 115 yards on four carries.
Anyone who was at the game in the first quarter would be right in thinking that this game would be nothing but a blowout the way it began.
On Cathedral's first offensive play, Cooper broke lose for a 75-yard run.
After Cathedral's defense forced a three-and-out for the Falcons, it took just four plays for the Greyhounds to get into the end zone when Knowles rambled 42 yards for a second Cathedral score for a 14-0 lead at the 7:20 mark.
That lead swelled to 21-0 after another three-and-out by Red Rock Central.
Once again, the Greyhounds' offense wasted little time in the 90-degree heat when Cooper capped a 76-yard, seven-play drive with his scoring run, this one of 27 yards for a 21-0 lead going into the second quarter.
It was a first quarter that saw Cathedral total 216 yards in offense comparted to six for Red Rock Central.
And it appeared that the blowout was going to continue into the second quarter. With the ball on the Cathedral 1-yard line, Gangelhoff broke lose for a 98-yard run but had the ball batted out of his hand at the one-yard line by a hustling Derek Christians of Red Rock Central.
A funny thing happened after that for the rest of the game.
Cathedral didn't get into the end zone again until there was about five minutes left in the game.
And Red Rock Central got some needed momentum.
"I think that that absolutely changed momentum," said Cathedral coach Denny Lux. "When he chases you down from behind it gave Red Rock some extra life and they sure played well."
Red Rock Central controlled the second quarter, running 23 offensive plays compared to seven for Cathedral. That resulted in a Falcons' touchdown when Blomgren found Halter for a 23-yard scoring strike with 20 seconds left in the first half.
A scoreless third quarter was aided by interceptions by both teams that squashed drives.
"We had a few penalties that took us out of drives and had some scoring chances on some long runs," said Lux. "Overall it was a good game for our offensive linemen because they changed defenses constantly."
The Greyhounds salted the game away with 5:24 left in the game on a 29-yard touchdown run by Knowles before the Falcons added a score on a 52-yard run from Schroepfer.
"We were tired from the heat,'" said Cathedral lineman Russ Hoffman. "But we kept it up. This is a big win for us after the loss last week."
It was also a big game for Gangelhoff, who missed all of last year because of an injury.
"He missed 11 games and he just helps complete our team," said Lux.