For the second week in a row a team called the Tigers stood between the West Central Area/Ashby (WCAA) football team and a victory. Last week it was at Big Cat Stadium in Morris, this week in the Dressen Sport Complex in Browerville, the #5 ranked 1A Browerville/Eagle Valley (BEV) Tigers handed the Knights their second loss of the season to the tune of 29-22.
Other than the same mascot names and both opponents posting a score of 29 points the similarities in the two games ended there. WCAA went blow for blow with a well oiled machine in BEV. It was a classic battle of a pound and ground game vs. an aerial assault.
First blood was drawn by the Tigers with 38 ticks of the clock remaining in the 1st quarter as (Jr.) fullback Jordan Gorder slammed his way into the Knights end zone on a 19 yard run. PAT kick by (SR) Bryce Irsfeld was good. BEV would score again at 7:24 in the second period with a 12 yard gallop from Gorder. The Tigers made good on a two point conversion with a pass from Irsfeld to (Sr) tailback Mathew May. The Knights would answer with 1:53 remaining in the half as (Jr) Ross Anderson found his wide out (Sr) Nathan Cook on a 16 yd strike through the air. (Jr) Mason Nibbe booted the PAT kick through the uprights. The remaining minute and a half produced a crazy bevy of events. BEV picked up excellent field position on a 32 yard kick return. Following several runs, Tiger quarterback Irsfeld launched a deep pass towards the end zone. Bouncing off the chest of his receiver it landed in the arms of Knight defensive back (JR) Kaden Spindler on the five yard line who returned it out 15 yds. A stingy Tiger defense forced a three downs and out series for WCAA. Following a botched snap to the punter it took Gorder two runs to punch it in from a couple yards out with seven seconds on the clock. PAT kick was good ending the first half with a score of 22-7 in favor of the Tigers.
The second half began with good defense out of both sides but eventually the Knights put a sound drive together ending with a 10 yard touchdown pass from Anderson to (JR) wide receiver Parker Clavin at the 30 second mark in the 3rd quarter. Nibbe added the extra point closing the gap to eight points. Several minutes later BEV QB Irsfeld launched a deep ball again, this time finding (Jr) tight end Griffin Webster all alone and after a catch/run/score from 55 yards out and a Irsfeld kick the Tigers found themselves with a 15 point lead. The Knights were far from 'sticking a fork in it' as (Jr) running back Brady Sabolik crossed the goal line at 1:53 after catching Anderson's 3rd TD pass of the evening. The two point conversion pass to Clavin was good closing the gap to seven points. The Knights attempted an onside kick but the Tigers recovered. Following a pair of first downs BEV took a victory knee finishing the game by a score of 29-22.
While the Knights running game looked for footing producing just 68 yards on 33 carries the passing game was electric and exciting. Ross Anderson led the air attack completing 12 passes for 230 yards, 3 TD's and a PAT. Parker Clavin caught six of those balls for 119 yds and a score. Brady Sabolik turned it on in the second half earning the “Press Player of the Game” as he caught five passes for 96 yards and a score, he also added in 63 very timely rushing yards to keep critical drives moving.
Defensively the Knights struggled a little to often to hold back the Tiger rushing attack allowing 281 total yards with 222 of those coming on 45 carries. Leaders for the Knight defenders included (Sr) Jacob Dreschel with 11 tackles, Kaden Spindler had 5.5 tackles a pass defense and an interception and (Sr) Cole Redepenning was in on 7 stops.
The 0-2 Knights will regroup and find themselves in Varsity action on Friday when they host the 2-0 Royalton Royals in Barrett. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.