SLEEPY EYE - Both Sleepy Eye and Red Rock Central entered Friday's game without a win, leaving no doubt that this game would be a fight to the end.
It was indeed a close, physical battle, but ultimately it was the Falcons, who erased a 14-2 third quarter deficit, that prevailed by a score of 16-14.
Sleepy Eye got on the board first after recovering a fumble deep in Falcon territory. Austin Fischer sneaked in from two yards out and the Indians led 6-0.
Later in the quarter, it was the Indians who turned the ball over, fumbling at their own 14.
But the Indians defense held by stuffing a short fourth down run.
With the ball deep in their own territory, the Indians were forced to punt. The snap sailed over the Indian punter going out of the end zone for a safety.
Both teams pounded the ball in the first half, yet neither team could finish drives, leaving the halftime score 6-2.
On the first possession of the first half, Sleepy Eye running back Juan Montemayor got loose on a counter play and scored from 53 yards out. Fischer ran in the conversion making it 14-2 Sleepy Eye.
Needing an answer, the Falcons turned to running back Jordan Schroepfer. The junior bruised his way down the field setting up a beautiful five yard touchdown pass from Taylor Bunting to Dillion Benson off of play action.
Bunting then found Thomas Blomgren for the conversion and the score was 14-10.
The Falcons forced a three-and-out and took the ball 80 yards for another score. Schroepfer again did the bulk of the work on the drive, but it was Benson who scored from a yard out making it 16-14.
Sleepy Eye threatened at the end, but ultimately didn't score.
"It's a huge booster for us," said Falcons coach Isaac Jenniges. "To come back from a 14-2 deficit in the second half and to put two big ones on the board in the third quarter really boosted our confidence."
For Sleepy Eye, it was a tough, hard-fought loss.
"We played four quarters, but we just didn't come out on the positive side," said Indians coach Cory Haala. "Its a tough way to lose but that's just the way it is."
Schroepfer finished with 40 carries for 150 yards for the Falcons.
"We've been looking for that out of Jordan all year," Jenniges said. "We came in with the game-plan that he was going to get the ball 35-40 times to get the win."
Montemayor rushed 10 times for 93 yards and a touchdown before being ejected in the third quarter.
Sleepy Eye drops to 0-6 overall and will play at Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart on Friday.
Red Rock Central plays host to CM/C next week, and improve to 1-5 overall.