Adrian’s ground game too much for Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s

ADRIAN – Down 12-0 at halftime against No. 1 seed Adrian, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s football coach Brent Kucera knew his team wasn’t too far out of it to make a second-half comeback.

However, Adrian’s ground game dominated the time of possession in the second half as St. Mary’s had the ball for about five minutes in that half. Adrian added a third-quarter touchdown and it eliminated St. Mary’s 20-0 in Section 3A football playoff action on Saturday.

The loss ends St. Mary’s season at 6-4. Adrian (7-3) will play Murray County Central, a 34-12 winner against Red Rock Central on Saturday, for the right to go to state. The teams will play at 11:30 a.m. on Friday at Southwest State University.

The Knights didn’t get many chances to score after the Dragons took more than eight minutes off the clock in their first possession of the third quarter. The 17-play drive finished when Ryan Wieneke scored from six yards out to put the Dragons ahead 20-0 after the two-point conversion.

It was a game where the Dragons controlled the line of scrimmage and used their backfield to their advantage.

“They came to play, I think they played their best game of the year and they had a good plan,” St. Mary’s coach Brent Kucera said.?”They had a good game plan and their players fought hard, they deserved a victory and good luck to them.”

Wieneke finished the game with 48 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He scored on a 1-yard sneak in the first quarter to put the Dragons ahead 12-0 at that point. Frank Serrao scored Adrian’s first touchdown, that also coming in the first quarter as Adrian scored on its first two possessions of the game. Serrao’s touchdown came from eight-yards out. He finished with 57 yards rushing on 18 carries.

The Knights had a chance to get on the board in the second quarter. Marching down the field, they consumed more than seven minutes of the clock.

They got the ball down to the Adrian 8, but a holding call backed them up 10 yards and they weren’t able to recover. They finished the drive without any points and that was another crucial point in the game.

“We had too many simple mistakes, I think the game was very winnable for us, we just didn’t come out and play very well,” Kucera said.?”It is what it is and we’ll move on.”

As much as that scoreless drive hurt, it hurt even more when Adrian took its first drive of the third quarter and scored. St.?Mary’s wasn’t able to get any offense going after that.

Also for Adrian, Dylan Gyberg had 71 yards rushing and Nick Harder had 46 yards rushing.

Nathan Schroepfer led the St. Mary’s offense with 56 yards rushing on 13 carries and Nick Strate had 38 yards on the ground.