Turnovers, penalties plague Indians in loss to Dragons

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau Sleepy Eye’s Nolan Domeier is forced out of bounds by an Adrian-Ellsworth defender on a kick return Friday night at Sleepy Eye High School.

SLEEPY EYE — Sleepy Eye struggled to maintain clean and disciplined play on Friday night at Sleepy Eye High School, dropping a South Central District football game to Adrian/Ellsworth 28-6 as a result.

After being held scoreless through the first two weeks of the prep season thanks to tough matchups against Minneota and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, Adrian/Ellsworth (1-2) got a lucky break to open Friday’s game with the Indians. On the opening kickoff, Sleepy Eye (0-3) was unable to secure the ball and coughed it up on its own 15. The Dragons then needed just two plays to go ahead, getting a 6-yard touchdown pass from Breyer Hieronimus to Tavian Lange to lead 7-0 with 11:15 still to play in the first quarter.

Sleepy Eye answered back on its next drive, capping off a four-play drive with a 43-yard, catch-and-run TD pass from Mason Myers to Jackson Huiras. The Indians trailed 7-6 after a failed two-point conversion with 9:26 left in the first quarter.

The Dragons went up 14-6 with 7:06 left in the half after a 7-yard TD run by Dawson Krahling.

The Dragons ran down the clock in their opening drive of the third and capped it off with a 10-yard TD run by Krahling with 3:02 left in the third. The Indians couldn’t get much going after that, turning the ball over on downs three times the rest of the game.

Krahling added his third TD of the night on a 31-yard run in the fourth quarter. He ended the game with 108 yards rushing.

Caden Evers, playing QB in place of Myers in the fourth after Myers exited with an injury, completed two big passes to Huiras late in the fourth for a combined 45 yards. The Indians failed to capitalize on that, however, and turned it over on downs at the Dragons’ 10-yard line. The Dragons then ran out the clock on the way to their first win of the season.

“Our kids, they kept battling and they kept working hard,” Sleepy Eye head coach Joe Hoffmann said. “That’s what we want to see, but it’s just we had some plays we didn’t execute, and the penalties — that got us out of our game. … If we were clean, playing clean football, we can move the ball and do what we want to on offense, and then we’ll be fine. But when we get behind, we get a first down and 20 or we turn the ball over on our own 10, those are the types of things that are just hard to overcome.”

The Indians were led on offense by Myers, who ran for 40 yards and was 4 of 6 for 70 yards and a TD through the air. Huiras had three catches for 88 yards and a TD on offense and also picked up 11 solo tackles and six assists on defense.

The Dragons had 243 yards of total offense, while the Indians had 242 yards.

The Indians will next head to New Ulm to take on New Ulm Cathedral at 4 p.m. Friday at Johnson Field. Hoffmann said that his team will need to make plays against the Greyhounds on defense and clean things up on offense if they’re going to earn their first win of the season Friday.

“Cathedral’s a well-coached team, they come at us hard, they run misdirection, so guys need to do their job,” Hoffmann said. “They need to do their responsibilities on defense, and our offense — we just can’t get penalties, so we can move the ball. We need to sustain drives. Cathedral’s going to be a tough challenge.”


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