By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
On a night where the temperature finally matched the season, the STMA football team ground out a victory over the Magic of Monticello.
Monticello got the first scoring chance when a bad snap on a punt set the Magic up on STMA’s 19 yard line. However, the Knights defense held and the Magic missed a 33 yard field goal against the wind.
Monticello made good on another chance late in the first quarter when Nick Bomersine plunged into the end zone from four yards out to give his team a 7-0 lead. STMA responded when Austin Wick went airborne for a 36 yard touchdown catch and a 7-7 tie game.
After the tying score, the defenses dominated the rest of the first half. The Knights recovered a fumble in their own territory; however a costly holding penalty brought the drive to a screeching halt. The ensuing punt saw another bad snap hinder the play, setting up Monticello with good field position yet again. However, the STMA defense held the Magic to a three and out possession.
At halftime, the Knights honored fallen classmate Luke Letellier, who succumbed to cancer, as part of STMA’s “Tackle Cancer” night. The crowd broke out into “Team Luke” chants.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Knights benefited from a pair of face mask penalties and moved the ball well. But a fourth down pass attempt from the 33 yard line failed, and Monticello took over on downs.
STMA had a pair of long drives in the second half that wore on Monticello’s defense. On the first drive, Chris Kartes, who notched another 100 yard game (103 on 23 carries), carried the ball several times, including a six yard touchdown run to give his team a 14-7 lead. Monticello also featured a power running game with big fullback Jake Olson, who totaled 95 yards.
After the touchdown run, the game came down to defense and ball control. Monticello drove the ball toward a game tying score, but cornerback Noah Evans broke up a key fourth down pass attempt, giving the Knights a turnover on downs.
STMA had another long drive, but failed on its own fourth down attempt just a few yards away from the endzone. Monticello took over, but the Knights defense provided one final stop for a 14-7 victory.
After the game, STMA head coach Jared Essler addressed Jacob Moran’s injury. The junior safety was helped from the field early and did not return to the game.
“He got sent home in the second quarter. He was a little woozy, and we’re assuming it’s a concussion diagnosis and we’ll have to wait and see how he’s doing tomorrow,” Essler said.
Essler said that his team prepared just like every week for Monticello’s attack.
“We tried to scout their film and look at some formations and some tendencies and some plays they like to run.”
Essler said that he was proud of his team playing hard and establishing a tradition of good defense. The grind-it-out nature of the game was something he expected.
“This is life in the Mississippi Eight, you know? Every week’s a dogfight. I just got done telling our players that. You’ve got to win some close games and we’ve been fortunate enough to do that the last couple weeks, and that’s just the way it is.”
The Knights head to Big Lake Friday for a showdown with the 0-3 Hornets, who feature a new head coach this season.
The Knights honor the memory of fallen friend, teammate Luke Letellier at halftime. The team ended up beating Monticello to improve to 3-0. (Photos by Jake Schroer)
STMA celebrates after a Chris Kartes TD run. Cartes notched another 100 yard game (103 on 23 carries) in the win.