St. Mary’s 41, New Ulm Cathedral 26
It’s a three-peat! The St. Mary’s Knights are Section 2A Champions for the third year in a row after defeating New Ulm Cathedral 41-26 on Nov. 1.
Quarterback Brandon Helget said making it to State for the third year is indescribable.
“Can’t really explain how it feels,” Helget said. “It’s just a great feeling knowing you got this far.”
Throughout last week, the Section Final had plenty of buildup. This was due to the previous triple overtime meeting between the two Tomahawk Conference rivals. But all nerves of another nail-biter were quickly diminished, after sophomore Kodan Kosak ran back 85 yards and a touchdown on the opening kickoff. Kosak summed up his return in three words.
“It was awesome,” Kosak said.
Thanks to Kosak, St. Mary’s found itself up 6-0 to start the game. After a short, five play drive by the Greyhounds, the Knights had the ball again. Eleven plays and 80 yards later, it was junior Lucas Heiderscheidt who ran three yards for a touchdown. Junior David Surprenant ran in for the two-point conversion.
Although St. Mary’s had a 14-0 lead, New Ulm Cathedral responded with a long drive of its own. After 13 plays, the Greyhounds were able to break the Knights defense and cut the lead to only six. After a three-and-out by both teams, nerves set in again for St. Mary’s fans as Cathedral tied the game up 14-14 from a 29 yard touchdown run. But thanks to Surprenant and Helget, the Knights had the lead again on their next drive. Helget, who led in both passing and rushing for the second game in a row, ran for 26 yards which set up a 29 yard touchdown run by Surprenant. Surprenant was given the ball again for the two-point conversion and St. Mary’s took a 22-14 lead at halftime.
Six of the seven plays on the next scoring drive for the Knights were made solely by Surprenant. Surprenant ran for 54 yards during the drive, which resulted in a touchdown with three minutes remaining in the third quarter. The two-point conversion run by junior Jaden Wait was no good.
The Greyhounds showed determination to stay in the game after they scored a touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter to bring the score to 28-20. But directly afterward, Helget struck again. This time, Helget ran for 50 yards and a touchdown to give St. Mary’s a 34-20 lead.
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It was then Heiderscheidt who sealed the deal on the Knight’s next possession. With two minutes left in the game, Heiderscheidt ran 25 yards for a touchdown. Not to mention, he also had a 38 yard run to start the drive. The extra point by Surprenant was good, and St. Mary’s had a 21 point lead. The Greyhounds scored a final touchdown with 12 seconds left, but it didn’t matter as the Knights were victorious.
St. Mary’s had 340 rushing yards on the night, with Helget claiming 144 of those while Surprenant had 125. Helget went 5-for-11 for 75 yards in passing. Senior John Brandl led in receiving with three receptions for 54 yards. Meanwhile, junior Carter Krzmarzick led on defense with four solo tackles and eight assists.
The undefeated Knights are off to compete at the State Tournament for a chance to redeem their first round loss at the tournament last year. Last year’s season ended with a 43-12 loss to Bethlehem Academy in the opening round. This year, St. Mary’s will take on the 7-3 Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Bulldogs, who happen to be the alma mater of St. Mary’s Coach Brent Kucera. The game will take place at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall on Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. If the Knights win, they will move on to play in the State Semifinal on Nov. 16 at the Mall of America Field.
Kucera said it was nice to win the Section Title, but he won’t be satisfied until they make it to the Metrodome.
“Feels good, from day one this year our goal as a team was to get back to State,” Kucera said. “We’re still not happy, we want to keep going and we want to get back to the dome.”