RCW Jaguars hand Knights their first loss to end regular season

CJ Surprenant
Special to the Herald-Dispatch

The St. Mary’s Knights took their first loss of the season on Wednesday, Oct. 20 in Danube. The Renville County West Jaguars were 4-3 going into this game, with a lot to prove and came out with the 27-16 win over the, until then, undefeated Knights.

Knights in action earlier this season.

The 7-0 Knights couldn’t find their rhythm in the run game, and the wet conditions made passing unviable. Senior quarterback Carson Domeier left the game with an injury on his throwing hand in the first half, putting a damper on the Knights’ offensive abilities.

The defense suffered injuries at the secondary, leaving the Jags with opportunities they took full advantage of. Failure by the Knights to convert on downs and be aware of the situation knocked them off their game. The #3 ranked Knights squad finished the regular season at 7-1, with a stiff defense and electric offense. On any Friday night, you could expect the boys in green to score 38 points while holding their opponent to under 10.

The offense was held well below their usual production, passing for 203 yards and rushing for 71. Carson Domeier threw for 82 yards before leaving the game. Sophomore quarterback Mark Anderson stepped up to the role and threw for 121 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Freshman tight end Talan Helget had 6 catches for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns. Junior wideout Kaleb Wait had 8 catches for 67 yards. Junior running back Trent Steffensmeier had 3 catches for 17 yards. Junior wideout Jake Heinrichs had one catch for 14 yards. Junior tight end Owen Weiss had one catch for 10 yards. Junior wideout Kaden Ryer had one catch for 7 yards. 

The running game was stuck in the mud, leaving the Knights with few offensive options. Trent Steffensmeier still managed to hustle for 85 yards rushing. Domier rushed 3 times for -4 yards. Anderson fell on 2 missed snaps, resulting in -10 yards of rushing for him. 

The defense performed at a high level, but wear and tear took the Knights into the loss column. Steffensmeier led with 6 tackles, 4 assists, 2 tackles for loss, and an interception. Senior noseguard Jacob Stevens had 5 tackles, 4 assists, and one tackle for loss. Junior linebacker Brandon Tauer managed 4 tackles, 4 assists, one sack, and 2 tackles for loss. Junior linebacker Colten Roiger had 4 solo tackles. Sophomore cornerback Jon Petermann had 3 tackles with one assist. Sophomore linebacker Haden Zarn had 3 solo tackles. Helget had 2 tackles and 2 assists. Junior cornerback CJ Surprenant had 2 tackles and one assist. Wait had one solo tackle. Weiss had 2 assists. 

Special teams were consistent, but couldn’t do anything spectacular. Helget kicked off twice for 82 yards, with Domeier kicking off once for 50. Domeier also punted once for 35 yards. With the injury to Domeier, Helget was sent in on punt for the first time, and booted it twice for 62 yards. The coverage team was sharp, allowing only 5 yards of return across those 6 kicks. 

The Knights earned a home playoff berth as the #3 seed in Section 2 9-Man and hosted the #6 seed Ortonville Trojans on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. (after print deadline—results are on the website: sleepyeyenews.com) The winner will play on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. against the winner of #7 Nicollet versus #2 Renville County West Tuesday match-up, to be played at the high seed.