The Knights used over 200 yards rushing and a solid performance from their offensive line in a defensive showcase in their 32-3 victory over BLHS Friday night.
The cool, crisp fall air engulfed the football field at St. Mary’s as the Knights looked to stay hot and avoid the distraction of Homecoming Friday night. The Knights got off to a quick start and did not look back in their 32-3 victory over the BLHS Mustangs.
St. Mary’s wasted no time whatsoever as quarterback Nick Labat took the first play from scrimmage for a gain of 18 yards as he was brought down by his shoestrings in an explosive run up the middle, getting the Knights across midfield. The Knights-behind strong offensive line play-used their running game with their read-option offense with Labat and running back Patrick Hoffmann. Hoffmann would take a third-down carry from 19-yards out for the first touchdown of the game and a two-point conversion to put the Knights up 8-0 just three minutes into the game.
The Mustangs looking to answer fumbled from the first play of their opening possession and the Knights were immediately back in business. After an opening run from Labat for a gain of 11-yards, Trent Steffensmeier followed up with a nine-yard carry setting the Knights up inside the red zone. Hoffmann would score his second touchdown on the night from five yards out and Labat would find Andrew Neid on a pass to the left side of the end zone for the two-point conversion to get the Knights a quick 16-0 lead just five minutes into the game.
The Knights quick start would be halted as it appeared the Mustangs had recovered from the shock of the Knights’ quick start. The Mustangs began moving the ball gingerly into Knights territory, but the St. Mary’s defense stepped up and forced a turnover on downs.
On the following possession, Labat took the first play of the drive down the left sideline as he tiptoed into the end zone while tight-roping the sideline, but the officials ruled him out at the 20-yard line for a 45 yard gain. The Knights failed to take advantage of the good field position as penalties stalled the drive as they lost field position and the Mustangs took over and ran a play from scrimmage to run out the clock in the first quarter.
Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart got the jolt they were looking for when running back Nate Reuber ran 60 yards to the house, but the touchdown was negated by a holding penalty. The Mustangs would show resiliency however and would convert a 32-yard field goal to bring the score to 16-3 with just under six minutes to play in the first half.
The two teams would exchange drives until the Knights got another opportunity just as time was winding down in the first half. Labat found Wyatt Craft for a gain of 25-yards on fourth down to bring the Knights to the eight-yard line with just under thirty seconds remaining in the half. Facing a third and goal from the two-yard line, the Knights came up empty as the Mustangs came up with a huge goal-line stand to end the half.
The Mustangs took the opening drive of the second half and went nowhere. St. Mary’s had a bull rush on the punt and blocked it and recovered it and ran the ball in for six. However, the Knights were called for holding on the return and would have first and goal at the eight-yard line. Labat would run it into the end zone and then converted the two-point conversion as he fully extended for the pylon, extending the Knights lead to 24-3.
St. Mary’s got their final touchdown on Spencer Hoffmann’s pick-six and Kyle Tauer would convert the two-point conversion and the Knights would put the icing on the cake with a 32-3 victory to enhance their record to 5-1 overall.
Offensive lineman Wyatt Craft was proud of his teammates and the victory over BLHS only enhanced his confidence in his teammates. “This team grinds harder than anyone I’ve ever seen in practice,” he says. Craft also added that just because they are 5-1, doesn’t mean the work stops now. “We will keep pushing harder and harder in order to get ready for Alden-Conger next week.”
The coaching staff also anticipates another good week in practice. Coach Kucera says that Alden-Conger will present one of the tougher games they will have in all of 2018. “They’re a good team, physical, and well-coached.” Alden-Conger despite beginning their season 0-3 have now gotten their record to .500 with three straight wins.
Leading St. Mary’s Friday night was Nick Labat with 122 yards rushing and a touchdown. Patrick Hoffmann added two touchdowns. Defensively, Spencer Hoffmann had another interception return for a touchdown. Leading tacklers for St. Mary’s were Dominic Helget, Spencer Hoffmann, and Caleb Schumacher.
The Knights host the Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons football team next Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. and then travel to Cleveland Wednesday, Oct. 17 to face Cleveland/Immanuel Lutheran.