Chargers hang on to beat Tigers

SPRINGFIELD – Turnovers are normally considered a food to be savored and enjoyed. When the term comes up in sports it can cause coaches, fans and players to have a bad case of indigestion.

Minnesota Valley Lutheran spoiled Springfield’s Homecoming 18-14 Friday night in Southern Minnesota Conference football action.

Springfield had five turnovers – four of them coming the in the first half.

“I don’t have any explanation for the turnovers,” said Springfield Head Coach Paul Dunn.

The Tigers used primarily a ground game partially due to the inclement weather that was present all game long.

Both teams went back and forth in the first quarter, but neither team could score.

Nick Dewanz intercepted a Springfield pass that led to MVL drawing first blood on a one-yard quarterback sneak by DeAndre Parker with 6:38 to go in the quarter. Parker tried to throw the ball to Chad Lease for a two-point conversion, but it failed and MVL led 6-0.

A pass interference call against Springfield put the ball on the Tiger’s 14-yard line. Grant Wilson ran 11 yards on the next play to set up a 3-yard run by Nate Wong at 5:14 of the second period to boost the Charger lead to 12-0. Wilson tried to run for a two-point PAT, but it failed.

Springfield’s defense stiffened in the second half and its offense was able to score a touchdown at 8:27 on a 51-yard pass from Carter Erickson to Cooper Scheffler. The Tigers were able to get the extra point via kick by Andrew Salonek to trail 12-7.

The Tigers took their only lead of the night when Justin Macht ran 17-yards for the score. Salonek kicked the extra point and Springfield led 14-12.

MVL was able to get two key first downs in the fourth quarter to keep the game-winning drive alive. Parker got one of the first downs on a quarterback keeper. Kassuelke managed to get the second first down. He ran seven yards with 6:45 left in the game for the eventual game-winning touchdown. Parker tried to pass to for the two-point conversion, but Springfield’s defense stopped the play.

The game was briefly delayed due to the weather with 2:49 left before play resumed.

Macht had 21 carries for 95 yards and one touchdown. Erickson was 5-for-11 for 76 yards for the Tigers. Defensively, Tyler Vogel had five solo tackles, 12 assists and one interception.

Kassuelke had 19 carries for 126 yards and one touchdown. Wong had 11 carries for 51 yards and one touchdown for MVL As a team it rushed for 200 total yards.

“I’m happy with how we responded the second half,” Dunn said. “That shows character. Our line did a real nice job, but it’s too bad that we didn’t play better. We’re going to have to play light years better next week (against Martin County West).”

Dunn was also happy with the way his team ran the ball.

“I was happy with our ground game, but (MVL) is well-coached, they keep coming after you, and they are a group of disciplined players,” Dunn said. “We dug ourselves a hole, and we couldn’t get out.

MVL (3-3) plays New Ulm Cathedral next Friday night at Johnson Field. Springfield (3-3) goes to Sherburn next Friday night to play Martin County West.

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