Column: Ranweiler has a big day for New Ulm football team

A change in defensive and offensive schemes Friday night resulted in the New Ulm Eagles football team erasing a 20-6 deficit after three quarters and coming away with a 28-20 win over Belle Plaine.

It was also a game where Cole Ranweiler broke the single game rushing record when he rushed for 290 yards. That broke the school previous record of 270 yards set by Micah Neidecker set in 2000 versus Blue Earth Area.

Ranweiler now joins his brother Hunter in the NUHS football record books. Hunter holds the career single game passing record of 455 yards set in 2017 against Worthington.

Head coach Eric Kaufmann said that defensively he had his defensive linemen to start to cut the Tigers’ offensive linemen to stop them from getting out on New Ulm’s linebackers.

“We made it real simple on ourselves and it seemed to work,” Kaufmann said. “We made some adjustments with our defensive tackles — we were getting too far down so we moved them out more. We forced them to pass and that was something they could not do.”

The other change came offensively when Belle Plaine forced the Eagles to go run outside.

That was when Ranweiler took over. After a 24-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Ranweiler turned into a nightmare for Belle Plaine in the fourth quarter as he scored on runs of 35, 70 and 72 yards.

He ended the game with 290 yards rushing. He also added 14 tackles defensively.

“We kept running our sweeps,” Kaufmann said. “And in high school football when you are down 20-6 going into the fourth quarter, you usually do not win.”

Kaufmann said that he told Ranweiler that if they could spring him open, he was going to score.

“But I told him that he needed to be patient and I told him at halftime that he was going to have some big runs,” he said. “In the first half when we ran sweeps he would not stay behind his linemen and try and out-run them. I told him to put his hand on the back of his linemen and he will be able to hit his holes and go and he did in that second half.”

Kaufmann said that the win — especially the way his team came back — was big for the kids.

“It was huge mentally for them and for us the win was big,” Kaufmann said. “Especially when we are preaching running the ball. The kids start to believe.”

GREYHOUNDS LOSE TOUGH GAME: If there was one big play in the game Friday night between New Ulm Cathedral and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, it came early in the third quarter.

On a first down-and-10 from their own 34-yard line, Panthers’ quarterback Sawyer Otto completed a 46-yard pass to Jake Tauer to the Cathedral 20. Six plays later, Otto found Lucas Gervais for a 6-yard touchdown pass for the eventual game-wining touchdown and a 24-22 lead.

Cathedral had a last chance late in the game deep Panthers’ territory but a fourth down pass at the TMB 31-yard line fell incomplete.

Cathedral head coach Denny Lux was pleased by the play of senior running back Tony Geiger, who had 157 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the game.

“Tony and his offensive line did a good job tonight,” he said. “But where we were hurting tonight was not being able to get off-tackle. With this offense we need to do that with our halfback. That part was not there [Friday] and it was getting easy for them to key on that fullback play.”

Lux also liked his team’s success with the play-action passes from quarterback James Gillis to tight ends Chris Knowles and Jon Zinniel.

“We are always going to be undersized and we know that so I felt that James stepped up and threw the ball pretty well,” Lux said.

CHARGERS FACE STRONG TIGERS: Minnesota Valley Lutheran head football coach Jim Buboltz felt that despite his team’s 36-0 loss to Springfield Friday night that the Chargers’ defense played well.

“They only had about 16 yards for three of those touchdowns,” he said. “We had a blocked punt at our 1-yard line, they had a punt return that got them to our 14-yard line and they deflected a pass that they returned for a touchdown.”

He said that he knew his team was facing a very fast Tigers team defensively.

“We could not put together a consistent drive offensively — they are very quick on defense.”

Buboltz said that his team had only two turnovers in the game.

“But we need to improve on both sides of the ball. We did take a step forward — I know that the score does not indicate that — but we did.”

Buboltz said that sophomore quarterback Luke Thompson left the game with a bruised lower thigh.

“We were playing a good team Friday and a lot of things would have had to go right for us,” he said. “There was no score with 6:24 left in the half.”