St. Mary's defeated Lyle-Pacelli 56-20 behind a balanced offensive effort.

The Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Knights football team got its’ season started Friday, Aug. 31 at Lyle-Pacelli. The Knights defeated the Athletics 56-20. The Knights used balance throughout their entire roster as eight different players scored a touchdown. The Knights were also very efficient offensively converting 62% of their third-down attempts.

Head Coach Brent Kucera was pleased with the balance his team showed in game one. “We had a balanced attack, balance to the offense will be key this year,” he said.
The Knights passing game was led by Nick Labat who was 11-16 with 123 yards and three touchdown passes, two of which Wyatt Craft was on the receiving end. Labat added to the stat sheet with  104 yards rushing.  Patrick Hoffmann also contributed on the ground with 95 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. St. Mary’s out gained Lyle-Pacelli with 497 yards of offense to 311, with only 45 coming on the ground. The Knights also made it difficult for the Athletics by controlling the ball with zero turnovers.

The next game for the Knights will be Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. when they host the Madelia Blackhawks. The Blackhawks come in with a record of 1-1. Despite the 42-16 victory over Madelia last season, coach Kucera emphasized how it is a big game. “Big game against Madelia this Friday," he said. "They’ve got maybe the two best athletes in our subdistrict at QB and RB/WR.”

Madelia is led by a group of seven seniors. Logan Anderson at QB led the team with 1,456 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns. RB Josh Sletta also ran for just over 1,000 yards and scored eight times last season. Sletta also recorded 168 tackles last year for the Blackhawks. WR Angel Zamora will also prove to be a factor in Madelia’s passing game. The Knights look to not allow the Blackhawks’ speed to beat them, as the Blackhawks rely on speed as one of their top strengths.