The Sleepy Eye Indians football team made history on Tuesday night. They not only hosted their first playoff game since 2006, but they also won said game.

The Sleepy Eye Indians football team made history on Tuesday night. They not only hosted their first playoff game since 2006, but they also won said game.

Sleepy Eye 26

Springfield 18

“It was nice to have a home game,” Coach Cory Haala said. “We’ve played really well at home here, even our first game that we lost, we played well.”

The Indians took off in the first quarter. Landon Strong set the pace with a seven-yard run for a first touchdown. “It was a battle,” Strong said. “We just had to make sure we didn’t have too many turnovers. We both had fumbles and it’s good we were able to capitalize on that.” The Indians failed to get the conversion and Springfield took possession. After working their way through three first down, the Tigers scored a touchdown to tie up the quarter.

In the second quarter, Springfield grabbed the lead with a touchdown. The Indians shut down the conversion again and then went on the attack. Zach Haala and Jacob Berg worked the ball down the field to the three yard line. Once there, Berg caught a pass and scored, rushing the three yards. “We were making sure we mastered our plays,” Berg said. “The plays we’ve been working on all year—so we can win with them.”

“The penalties definitely hurt us both in the first half,” said Zach Haala. “Both teams were right there [tied].”

“They pulled ahead there, but we managed to come back and tie things up nicely,” said Coach Haala. “We were struggling with penalties and we got emotionally on each others’ case a little bit. Second half we got rid of that and really came together.”

After halftime, Haala threw a 25-yard pass to Nathan Walters for a touchdown. Sleepy Eye got the kick for extra point. Back in the lead, the Indians forced the Tigers to give up the ball.

“We talk a lot about sacrificing for the team,” Coach Haala said. “These guys do that well.” Berg ran the ball out 65 yards for a touchdown, after breaking away from a Tiger attempt to tackle him. “My motivation is my team,” said Berg. “They got my back, so I know I can run and they won’t let me get hit too hard, most of the time.” Eugenio Flores completed another kick, putting the Indians up 26-12.

The Tigers attempted to rally in the fourth quarter and scored one more touchdown. Then Sleepy Eye lost the ball on a fourth down play. After the kickoff, Springfield got a 65-yard touchdown, but a flag cost them the score and they returned to third down. Isaac Velasquez tackled the Tigers quarterback, costing them 13 yards with only 7:10 left on the clock. With time running down, Sleepy Eye got the ball back and held it until the clock ran out for the win.

“When I saw the clock, I just knew we were moving on,” Zach Haala said. “I’m excited to play Wabasso. Why not us?”

The Indians play at Wabasso, Saturday, Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. in a Section 3A semi-final game.