The Sleepy Eye Indians football team hosted the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers on Friday, Oct. 6, in a shutout game for the record books.

The Sleepy Eye Indians football team hosted the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers on Friday, Oct. 6, in a shutout game for the record books.

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The Indians nabbed a touchdown in the first quarter of the game, with Zach Haala working his offensive line into Panther turf. Carter Tauer punched the ball in for the one-yard touchdown. Landon Strong forced his way through Panther defense for a two-point conversion.

“It was nice to get the lead,” said Coach Cory Haala. “Our defense did a little bend, but didn’t break and that was good to see. I thought we tackled the best we have all year.”

Fumbles and flags cost the Panthers position and possessions in the first and second quarter. In the second quarter, a false start cost the Panthers five yards and forced a punt. The Indians recovered, setting up Tauer for his second touchdown of the night, a 44-yard run. Tauer got right back at it with the two-point conversion. “I trusted our line to make good blocks,” Tauer said. “It wasn’t all me—it was definitely the line.”

The penalty count grew for both teams in the third quarter and cost them opportunities to score.

In the fourth quarter, the Panthers had yet to make a play that made a difference and the Indians seemed like they found more energy.

Strong carried the ball 13 yards for a first down. Haala then sent him a one-yard pitch that he carried two yards for the touchdown. However, the Indians were stopped in the two-point conversion attempt.

The Panthers failed to recover the kick from Sleepy Eye and things just got worse for them. Frankie Trevino recovered the ball for Sleepy Eye and the next offensive drive began. This time, Haala hit Strong with a 42-yard touchdown pass and the Indians completed the extra point.

“We played more physical,” Coach Haala said. “We had good form tonight; we didn’t talk high. The boys didn’t assume someone else was going for the tackle.”

“We only focused on this game,” said Tauer. “None of the games before mattered.”

Back on the line, Haala made a run for six yards and Strong went for 22. After working their way downfield, Jacob Berg took the ball nine yards for a final touchdown. “I run the play like it’s my first time playing and I have to make something happen,” Berg said. “I look at what I can do to help my team, run the ball or where to cut.”

The Indians travel to face Springfield on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.