By Andy Westra
Journal Sports Writer
SLEEPY EYE - Although neither team had reached the end zone yet, the game was over four and a half minutes into the game.
Sleepy Eye senior quarterback/cornerback Brandon Polesky left the field via ambulance with a head injury, and the Sleepy Eye Indians were crushed 30-6 by cross-town rival Sleepy Eye St. Mary's in a Southern Minnesota Conference football game on Friday night.
"We lost leadership on both sides of the ball without Brandon being in the game," Sleepy Eye head coach Cory Haala said. "We lost our quarterback and one of our top cornerbacks."
The Indians called upon their 5-foot-7 inch, 130-pound, freshman quarterback Saul Ibarra to run the offense after Polesky went down. The Indians struggled to get anything going offensively all night.
To make things worse, St. Mary's seemed to be able to complete passes down the field against the Indian defense at will. St. Mary's quarterback Jordan Anderson threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns on the night.
The Knights kept the ball in Sleepy Eye's half of the field for almost the entire first half as Sleepy Eye just could not seem to be able to move the ball against a stingy St. Mary's defense.
The Knights drew first blood with 3:32 remaining in the first quarter when Anderson ran the ball in from ten yards out. Anderson got into the end zone untouched because of a monster block by wide receiver Sean Mathiowetz. St. Mary's converted the two point conversion on a pass from Anderson to Tyler Helget to make the score 8-0.
After Mathiowetz made an impact on the defensive side of the ball as well by intercepting Ibarra's pass, the Knight's moved the ball to Sleepy Eye's one-yard line. When Anderson's pitch sailed past running back Mitch Neid's head the Knights were backed up to the 16-yard line, but Anderson just through a lob to Mathiowetz in the back of the end zone on the very next play for a touchdown.
"Sean is a great athlete," said Anderson. "He bails me out sometimes when all I have to do is throw it up and he will go make a play."
Anderson completed a pass to receiver Brandon Helget to convert the two point conversion, and the Knights were leading 16-0.
St. Mary's got the ball back with two and a half minutes left in the half on their own 17 yard line looking to score once more before half-time.
Anderson marched the Knights down the field with his arm in one minute and 26 seconds. Anderson capped off the drive with a 30 yard touchdown pass to Helget making the score at half-time 22-0.
St. Mary's offensive line gave their quarterback as much time as he needed to throw in the pocket making Anderson's life much easier.
"All of our lineman today did really well," Anderson said. "They kept Sleepy Eye's blitzers out so I could always make me reads and find the open man."
The second half held much less action than the first mainly due to the fact that St. Mary's starters did not play for much of the second half.
The Knights scored only once more when Anderson found his tight end Mike Hirsch on the receiving end of a 13-yard touchdown pass. Anderson ran the two point conversion in himself making the score 30-0.
Ibarra showed some bright spots for the Indians with his legs. He was able to break open some runs when Sleepy Eye was able to get him out in the open field.
"(Saul) is an athletic kid," Haala said. "We tried to get him out of the pocket and give him some space. He can definitely make some things happen."
After Ibarra went down with an injury in the fourth quarter, Sleepy Eye brought in Jake Trebesch to finish the game at quarterback. Trebesch helped the Indians avoid the shutout by running the ball into the end zone himself on a five yard quarterback keeper late in the fourth quarter.
Mathiowetz, Helget, and Hirsch had 160 yards, 70 yards, and 40 yards receiving respectively, while each recorded a receiving touchdown.
Neid and David Surprenant led the Knights' defense with one sack a piece.
The Indians were led on defense by Trebesch who had three solo tackles and nine assists.
St. Mary's plays again next Saturday against New Ulm Cathedral, while Sleepy Eye plays on Friday at home against Buffalo-Lake Hector-Stewart.