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Ground game leads Sleepy Eye past Cathedral

Staff photo by Jeremy Behnke Sleepy Eye’s Mason Myers cuts and tries to avoid New Ulm Cathedral defenders Brody Kirschstein (50), Benjamin Blomberg (55) and Eric Furth during Friday afternoon’s game at Johnson Field. Sleepy Eye defeated Cathedral 18-8 for its first win of the season.

NEW ULM — The game plan for Sleepy Eye was pretty simple — run the ball.

Sleepy Eye’s ground game was just a step ahead of Cathedral’s defense and the Indians scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter for an 18-8 victory over the Greyhounds at Johnson Field.

Junior quarterback Mason Myers ran for two scores and senior running back Jackson Huiras provided a late touchdown to help earn the Indians their first win of the season. It was also the first career victory for head coach Joe Hoffmann.

“We wanted to control the clock and last week [in a 28-6 loss to Adrian-Ellsworth ] we didn’t finish drives, we just wanted to finish drives this week,” Hoffmann said. “We kept talking about how we gotta create some big plays and get some turnovers and that was the difference for us today.”

The Indians relied on Huiras to pick up big gains, especially in the fourth quarter. Up 12-0, the Indians allowed Sam Knowles to score on a 5-yard quarterback keeper with 6 minutes left to make it 12-6. Knowles then hit Levi Jakes on the two-point conversion and suddenly Cathedral had the late momentum.

But with his team up 12-8, Hoffmann elected to give the Greyhounds a steady diet of Huiras and that paid off. Huiras ate up big chunks of yardage on the drive, which started at the Sleepy Eye 42. Huiras took off with a 31-yard run later in the drive to set up first and goal from the 6.

There, Huiras needed two more plays to run the ball in to make it 18-8 with 3:19 to go.

“Jackson, he’s a senior this year, he used that determination, he didn’t want to go down,” Hoffmann said. “He fought for every yard he got, he earned it.”

The Greyhounds were unable to move the ball much in the first three quarters but they used Knowles’ arm to get upfield later in the game.

“Sleepy Eye came over to play, that’s the bottom line,” Cathedral coach Denny Lux said. “They outplayed us on both sides of the line of scrimmage, they had more energy on their sideline and they had more energy throughout the game. We got a little swallowed up by that and we just couldn’t really establish anything defensively or on offense. We went to our spread just because they were beating us off the ball earlier.”

Sleepy Eye scored the game’s first touchdown with 8:18 left in the first half when Myers scored on a 1-yard dive. Both teams struggled offensively in the third quarter and the Indians took that 6-0 lead into the fourth quarter. There, Myers scored his second touchdown with 11:50 left in the game.

“Mason, he’s not that big but he’s got a lot of heart,” Hoffmann said. “He’s got a lot of determination, he’s one of those kids that if you tell him to run through a wall, he will. He plays hard and the right way.”

For the Greyhounds, Knowles had 36 yards rushing and a touchdown and he also was 8 of 13 passing for 87 yards. Knowles was also in on 24 tackles and Thomas Finstad had 15 tackles. Eric Furth also had 15 tackles.

Cathedral falls to 2-2 on the season and will play at Martin County West on Friday.

The Indians (1-3) will prepare for their Homecoming game next week and will host Murray County Central on Friday.

“It’s a big one, but it’s the tough part of this district,” Hoffmann said. “There’s a lot of good teams, there was a good one today [Cathedral] and we got another one next week with MCC. We hopefully carry some momentum from this game and try to use that next week.”

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