Knights end strong season with loss to Jaguars

CJ Surprenant
Special to the Herald-Dispatch

After defeating the Ortonville Trojans, 46-22, at home in the first round of Section 2 9-man playoffs on Tuesday, Oct. 26, the St. Mary's Knights advanced to play the Renville County West Jaguars in Danube on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 30. The Jaguars—the only team to beat the Knights during the regular season—came out on top again, defeating the Knights 27-16, ending their season. 

The Knights line up just feet from the goal line for a touchdown, late in the 2nd quarter, at home Tuesday Oct. 26, when they defeated Ortonville in Section play.

The Knights would finish their season at 8-2, ranked #12 in Minnesota class 9-man. While the team was able to put on showcases of talent and scoring regularly on Friday nights, they were scheduled to play the Jags on short weeks—twice. This was apparent, as multiple Knights went down with injuries in both games. 

The Knights' offense struggled to score, but racked up 270 yards of offense. Sophomore quarterback Mark Anderson threw for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with one interception. Senior quarterback Carson Domeier threw for 21 yards and one interception. On the receiving end, some underclassmen showed up big. Freshman tight end Talan Helget had 7 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore running back Jon Petermann had one catch, a 62-yard touchdown. Junior wideout Kaleb Wait caught 2 passes for 13 yards before going down with an injury on defense. Domeier caught one pass for 11 yards. Senior running back Trent Steffensmeier caught 2 passes for 10 yards. Junior wideout Jake Heinrichs had 2 catches for 3 yards.

On the ground, Steffensmeier rushed 15 times for 47 yards. Domeier rushed 3 times for 10 yards. Anderson rushed 3 times for -6 yards. 

The defensive stats look different than usual, as RCW refused to run to the direction of Steffensmeier at lindbacker, Domeier at defensive end, and junior cornerback CJ Surprenant—all playing on the same side. On the other side, the younger guys did all they could to stop the Jaguar attack. Sophomore linebacker Haden Zarn had an astounding 8 tackles, 5 assists, and 2 tackles for loss. Anderson, at free safety, had 4 tackles and one assist. Petermann, at cornerback, had 4 tackles and one interception. Senior noseguard Jacob Stevens had 4 tackles and 6 assists. Junior defensive linemen Owen Weiss had 4 tackles, 2 assists, and 2 tackles for loss. Junior linebacker Brandon Tauer had 3 tackles, 5 assists, one tackle for loss, and one fumble recovery. Domeier had 2 tackles and one assist. Steffensmeier had 2 tackles and 3 assists. At defensive end, Helget had one tackle and one assist. Freshman linebacker Kameron Kosak had one tackle. Free safety Wait and junior lindebacker Colten Roiger each had 3 assists. 

Special teams played a big factor in this game, as RCW isolated the Knights’ playmakers and created space for returners, something the Jags struggled heavily with in their prior matchup. On the returning side, the Knights averaged roughly 10 yard per return, split between Petermann and freshman linebacker Wyatt Pollard. Surprenant had the Knights only returned punt, after a miscommunication led him into the path of a stray punt that he fell on for a 0-yard gain. 

The Knights senior football players finished their season Saturday, Oct. 30, from left: Trent Steffensmeier, Carson Domeier, Trevor Zeig, and Jacob Stevens.

The Knights are grateful for their four seniors this year. Quarterback/defensive end/placekicker/punter Carson Domeier, running back/linebacker Trent Steffensmeier, center/noseguard Jacob Stevens, and tight end/nosetackle Trevor Zeig. The boys will now focus on cheering on the Lady Knights Volleyball team, putting on "Elf: the Musical" and getting ready for another successful basketball season.