The Knights got back on track with a 50-16 win over the GHEC/ML Jaguars last Friday night. Nick Labat and Kyle Tauer dominated the run game behind a powerful offensive line.

The Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Knights football team was looking to bounce back from a 28-14 loss against Madelia as they faced off with the GHEC/ML Jaguars.

Quarterback Nick Labat got the scoring started for the Knights with a touchdown run from 30 yards out. On the ensuing kick-off, the Jaguars took the kick back for an 82-yard touchdown with a two-point conversion for the 8-6 lead.

The small lead would be short-lived, however as Kyle Tauer took the matter into his own hands for a nine-yard touchdown run, putting the Knights back on top. The Knights would then convert a two-point conversion, giving them a 14-8 lead by the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Knights found themselves behind 16-14 after a Jaguars 62-yard touchdown pass gave them the lead. However, this would be the final time the Jaguars would be ahead as the St. Mary’s defense behind the return of Riley Strate buckled down for the rest of the game.

Needing a response, the Knights leaned on Labat as they marched down the field with their solid run game and Labat would walk into the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown run putting the Knights up by a score of 22-16. Labat would add one more score with another touchdown run, this time from 19 yards out, giving St. Mary’s a 30-16 lead at the half.

Carrying the momentum over from their strong finish in the first half, the Knights would get touchdowns from Tauer, Trent Steffensmeier, and John Luu Mathiowetz giving them a very convincing win by a score of 50-16.

Given his offense scored 50 points and outgained the Jaguars 424 to 143, Head Coach Brent Kucera gave credit to his big offensive line while also crediting his depth at running back. “Our offensive line dominated the game,” he said. “They had a strong push upfront and our running backs are progressing really well with reading their running lanes.”

Although Kucera likes the improvement, he knows there is still work to do with his young team. “We have a lot of underclassmen getting key time in big roles,” Kucera said. “We have lots to improve going into week four, but I am very proud of the improvement curve we are on.”

The Knights host Hill City/Northland this Friday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.

Leading the Knights defensively was Kyle Tauer with five tackles, four of which were of the sack variety. Tauer also played a big part in the victory with 63 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Labat finished with 150 yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns.