The Sleepy Eye Indians remain winless after a close loss to Red Rock Central on Oct. 4.

Red Rock Central 16, Sleepy Eye Public 14

The Sleepy Eye Indians remain winless after a close loss to Red Rock Central on Oct. 4.

It was a cold and rainy night as the Indians hosted the Falcons where both teams battled it out to determine who would obtain the first win of the season. Sleepy Eye got things going in the first quarter after junior Matt Berkner recovered a fumble by the Falcons. The Indians took full advantage of the good field position and gained the lead for the first time this season after a touchdown run by quarterback Austin Fischer. Senior Juan Montemayor attempted a run into the end zone for the two-point conversion, but was stopped short.

Not only did Sleepy Eye’s offense do well in the first quarter, so did the defense. After an unsuccessful drive, the Falcons were forced to punt. Sophomore Dylan Klein was unable to hold on to the ball for the punt return, and the fumble was recovered by Red Rock. The Falcons had a good chance to score after they brought the ball down to Sleepy Eye’s seven yard line, but the Indians defense stopped them on a short fourth down attempt. The first quarter ended after Red Rock scored a safety from a punt snap by Sleepy Eye that went into the end zone.

The second quarter started with a long drive by the Indians which took over seven minutes off the clock. After 11 straight running plays, Sleepy Eye advanced the ball 46 yards but was unable to score.

The third quarter was a case of a good start, but a bad ending for the Indians. It started with a 54 yard touchdown run by Montemayor. A two-point conversion run by Fischer was successful, which gave Sleepy Eye a 14-2 lead.

Just as the Indians thought they had the game in the bag, the Falcons responded with a solid drive down the field, which ended with a six yard touchdown pass. Red Rock also made the two-point conversion, which cut the lead to 14-10. After Sleepy Eye made two penalties on their next drive, the Falcons had the ball again and took the lead after they scored another rushing touchdown. The Indians had 80 yards worth of penalties on the night.

The downpour of rain must have made it hard to hold on to the ball in the fourth quarter. Sleepy Eye recovered a fumble made by Red Rock but was unable to score from it. With 4:50 remaining, Berkner fumbled a punt return and gave the ball back to the Falcons. But two plays later, the opposite scenario played out as Red Rock fumbled and the Indians recovered. Sleepy Eye made one last attempt to advance down the field, but the rain and the Falcons defense was too strong to break through.

“Tough way to lose,” Sleepy Eye Coach Cory Haala said. “We seemed to have a lot of confidence with the 14-2 lead, but a few penalties and missed opportunities to put more points on the board hurt our cause.”

The Indians had 218 rushing yards on the night. Montemayor had 10 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown, while Klein went 9-for-56. Defensively, Austin Trebesch had one interception, while Berkner and Fischer each had a fumble recovery and combined for 28 total tackles. Finally, Kennedy Capacia had 17 tackles and Klein had 15 of his own.