Madelia bounces St. Mary’s with come-from-behind win

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s running back Kyle Tauer (left) tries to get past Madelia’s Nick Cholors during the Knights’ loss Friday at SESM.

SLEEPY EYE — Trailing 14-0, Madelia put up 28 unanswered points to defeat Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s 28-14 in a 9-man South District, Central Subdistrict football matchup Friday night.

Madelia’s Angel Zamora led all rushers with 115 yards and three rushing touchdowns to capitalize on a big district win.

The Blackhawks trailed 14-6 at the end of the first half.

Early in the third quarter, Madelia’s Zamora picked off a St. Mary’s pass that tipped off the hands and found Zamora to start a drive on the Knights 47-yard line.

During the drive, the Blackhawks were forced to convert on fourth down twice with the Knights defense forcing a possible three-and-out after the Zamora interception. Zamora himself carried the ball inside the Knights 34-yard line for a fresh set of downs for the Blackhawk offense.

“Our line had excellent blocking with our running back having a good kick out — I just found the hole, kept going and I made sure where I was going,” Zamora said.

Madelia was at the St. Mary’s 20-yard marker with Zamora getting a negative 1-yarder in the drive before Blackhawks quarterback Ethan Arndt, on fourth-and-11, connected with Kadin Benzel with a 15-yard pass to get the first-and-goal on the 5.

Madelia scored on the next play with a 5-yard carry when Arndt put the ball in the hands of Zamora for a touchdown run up the middle. A pitch outside to the same running back tied the game with the 2-point conversion.

St. Mary’s was the first team to put points on the board with a Nick Labat quarterback keeper for a 15-yard touchdown run. Labat was met at the 2-yard line by a Madelia defender with a second effort to reach the end zone. The Knights failed attempt for the two-point conversion gave them a 6-0 lead with 31 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Knights showed defensive dominance in the first half with a huge Madelia fourth-and-22 at the Blackhawks’ 38, forcing a punt. St. Mary’s Patrick Hoffmann and Kyle Fischer penetrated the third-and-10 for a sack by the Knights for a loss of 12.

Madelia’s punt attempt was botched by a missed snap and defensive pressure with the punt going out of bounds at the St. Mary’s 49-yard line.

The Knights took six plays to go 49 yards and ended with a 5-yard run up the middle by Hoffmann to reach the end zone. Labat stepped just inside the left pylon to complete the 2-point conversion and the Knights led 14-0 with just under eight minutes left to play in the first half.

Madelia found the back of the end zone when Arndt connected with Nick Cholors for a 2-yard pass play and 31 seconds left in the first half. Arndt came in late in the half to replace Logan Anderson, who left the game with an injury.

Madelia took the lead with 7:14 left to play in the game on a Zamora 14-yard touchdown run and the extra point kicked by Zamora to lead 21-14. The scoring drive started when Luke Hennis recorded a solo sack on a Knights fourth-and-5 from the Blackhawks’ 20.

“My coach just kept giving me the ball and I didn’t want to let him down, so I kept pushing,” Zamora said.

Madelia’s final scoring drive came at the two-minute mark in the fourth quarter on an 18-yard carry from Zamora, who received help from a great outside block. The extra point kicked again by Zamora led to the final score.

Madelia’s Josh Sletta tallied 80 yards on the ground and Logan Anderson rushed for 62 yards before leaving the game.

St. Mary’s Labat ran for 72 yards, Hoffmann carried for 60 yards and Wyatt Craft held 49 yards in the air with two receptions and a long of 45 yards.

Madelia will host Cleveland at 7 p.m. on Friday.

St. Mary’s will take on GHEC/Truman at 7 p.m. on Friday in Truman.