The St. Mary's football team's season concluded Tuesday night with a 33-22 loss to the BLHS Mustangs.
In the first round of 9-man football playoff action, the Knights looked to recreate their 32-3 victory over the BLHS Mustangs from earlier this season. Despite the big victory last time out, the Knights knew this game had different circumstances.
Head Coach Brent Kucera knew BLHS would provide some stiff competition. “They are one of the best 2-6 teams I have seen,” he said. “They are a good team, despite their record.”
The Mustangs wasted no time marching down the field on a 41-yard trick play. Running back Zach Reuber found receiver August Bergstrom on a pass down the middle of the field down the right hash all the way down to the Knights’ 11-yard line. BLHS would capitalize to take a 7-0 on a Kaden Zanoth quarterback sneak with just over eight minutes left in the first quarter. Before the Knights could settle in, freshman quarterback Carson Domeier had a pass deflect off of a receiver’s hands into the hands of a BLHS defender for an interception. The Mustangs went down the field and Zanoth scored his second touchdown. The extra point was blocked, but BLHS led 13-0 with 3:58 to go in the first quarter.
The Knights would find themselves in Mustang territory when quarterback Nick Labat found Andrew Neid and Spencer Hoffmann on consecutive first down plays. Labat would then find Carter Currans for a gain of 25 yards to the five-yard line. The Knights would have a rushing touchdown negated by a holding penalty and the Mustangs got an interception in the end zone and took over at their own 20-yard line.
St. Mary’s later got a fourth down stop when the Mustangs were in scoring position once again. As time was winding down in the first half, Domeier was back at quarterback and found Hoffmann and Labat on passes to get the Knights across midfield into Mustang territory. Domeier would find Currans down the near sideline to set the Knights up at the six-yard line. St. Mary’s would punch it in for six with Currans snagging a pass from Domeier with one hand for the touchdown. The Knights went into halftime trailing 13-6.
St. Mary’s came out of the half with some urgency as Labat would find Currans down the middle of the field for a gain of 20 yards. Labat then followed with a 57-yard carry, being ruled down at the one-yard line. On fourth and goal, Labat would roll out to the right and hit Trent Steffensmeier for a five-yard screen pass for a touchdown. Labat then found Senior Andrew Neid for the two-point conversion to give the Knights their first lead, 14-13 with 8:15 remaining in the third quarter.
The Knights would find themselves in a hole once again as BLHS added a touchdown to take a 20-14 lead with just under four minutes left in the third.
The Knights looking to respond, found themselves in scoring position after Labat hit Hoffmann deep down the sideline for 53 yards. However, an athletic play in the Mustang secondary forced another interception for the Knights.
The Knights stopped BLHS, but failed to convert a fourth down and Zachary Reuber took the first play of scrimmage 64-yards to the end zone to put the Mustangs ahead 27-14 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the contest.
The two teams would exchange turnovers and with 10:15 remaining, the Mustangs were able to wind down the clock using a powerful run game as Mitchell Krumrey scored the dagger to put the Mustangs up 33-14 with 3:21 to go in the game.
The Knights would get one final score with just under three minutes remaining when Domeier found Currans for the second time as he also converted the two-point conversion to Marcus Lang. That would be all the scoring to be had and the Mustangs were victors over the Knights 33-22.
On the night the Knights honored his brother by wearing #55 decals on their helmets, Kyle Fischer led the team with 11 total tackles.
Labat and Domeier combined for 294 yards passing and three touchdowns. Labat also added 75 yards rushing. Carter Currans had four receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
Coach Kucera credited his team and the seniors after the game. “Our team is young with a lot of injuries, but I am proud of the team and the seniors for putting in the work they have throughout the season.”
Look for more information on the Knights and their season in next week’s edition of the Herald-Dispatch for the season in review.