St. Mary’s gets off on right foot

SLEEPY EYE – The Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s football team scored a four-quarter knockout of Minnesota Valley Lutheran 27-8 on Thursday night.

The defending Southern Minnesota Conference champion amassed 497 yards of total offense while holding the Chargers to just 141, with 62 of those yards coming on a single play.

St. Mary’s quarterback Brandon Helget started the season with a sparkling 11-for-18 passing effort for 221 yards and a touchdown while running for 109 yards and two TDs.

“The line did a great job,” St. Mary’s coach Brent Kucera said. “They gave some big holes for our skills guys and the defense played great. We’re headed in the right direction. The red zone offense struggled, but they’re all fixable things so we’ll work it out.”

Meanwhile, MVL coach Jim Buboltz didn’t have any problem identifying the Chargers’ shortcomings.

“We had eight penalties and two turnovers they turned into touchdowns,” Buboltz said. “You do that against one of the best teams in the conference and that’s what happens. But we’re only going to get better from here. All in all, I saw some positive things.”

The Knights’ opening possession foreshadowed the rest of the game. While St. Mary’s didn’t score, it drove 78 yards on 14 plays, which was helped by three of MVL’s six first-half offsides penalties.

An interception by the Knights’ Lucas Heiderscheidt with less than a minute in the first quarter ignited the first touchdown of the year. Taking the ball at their own 22, Helget hit Alex Sellner in stride five plays later for a 52-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead.

On their next possession, it took just three plays for Helget to break a couple of tackles and run the ball 57 yards himself and up the score to 12-0. Jared Rothmeier kicked the extra point to make it 13-0.

The Chargers turned the ball over again with 2:04 left in the half when it was Jaden Wait’s turn to intercept a pass. Helget then threw two passes to Kodan Kosak, one for 30 yards, the other for 25, before a 2-yard keeper gave the Knights a 19-0 halftime lead.

On St. Mary’s second possession of the third quarter, the Knights moved 52 yards in seven plays, with Heiderscheidt scoring their final touchdown with 9:25 left in the game. Helget ran in the 2-point conversion and the game was out of the Chargers hands.

MVL scored its only points on a 62-yard touchdown run right up the middle by Seth Kroells with the following 2-point conversion the final scoring of the game.

St. Mary’s hosts Sleepy Eye Public at 7 p.m., while MVL travels to take on Wabasso.

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