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Big second half lifts Cathedral to victory against Chargers

NEW ULM — New Ulm Cathedral head football coach Denny Lux said that the second half of Friday’s 28-14 win over Minnesota Valley Lutheran was the best his team has played all season.

“We had energy and the players had fun playing,” he said. “It was a great step forward for us.”

The Greyhounds led 12-8 coming into the third quarter and took the kickoff and scored on an Eric Furth touchdown.

Cathedral’s defense forced the Chargers to punt and then scored a second touchdown 5 minutes later on a Sam Knowles run for a 28-8 lead with 6 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Greyhounds defense then recovered a Chargers fumble.

Then came the fourth quarter.

MVL came back to cut the lead to 28-14 with just over 10 minutes left in he game

The Greyhounds then took over after a MVL punt with eight minutes left in the game.

And it appeared that the Chargers were going to get the ball back with plenty of time left in the game when Cathedral faced a fourth down and two at its own 26 midway through the fourth quarter.

“We were going to let the clock run down, call a timeout and set up a punt team,” Lux said. “When the guys came over they all agreed that we needed to go for it. I looked at them and they were all looking at me and I could see the sincerity in their eyes that they wanted to put the game out of reach. I told them that this is your team and to go for it.”

A Knowles run got the first down and it kept a Cathedral drive going that lasted 20 plays and ate up over 8 minutes on the clock.

“We ate up the rest of the clock and got it down to less than a minute left in the game,” he said. “There are two things that determines high school football game. Time of possession and turnovers. We won both of those battles [Friday].”

Lux said the running of Eric Furth [177 yards] and Levi Jakes [161 yards] was big.

“We used Jevan Wilfahrt more as down blocker. But you have to give credit to our offensive line, especially our guards Luke Mages and Owen Pyan — they are running as much as our backs are. They get no plays off on offense.”

TWO ASPECTS HURT CHARGERS IN LOSS: MVL head football coach Jim Buboltz thought that there were two parts of the game that really hurt his team in the loss.

“First there were two keys to that game,” he said. “One is we did not take advantage of the opportunities that we had right away. We blocked a punt and recovered it [on the Cathedral 25-yard line] and did not score. You have to put points on the board there — both of our teams felt that each had to score first. Second part was obviously the second half and the way that they came out. We made adjustments defensively and their adjustments to our adjustments were incredible. Those things were the difference in the game. They came out in a wing-T formation and that was one of the adjustments that that caused us problems. The straight-T is balanced and the wing-T is off-balanced and that was just a gap but it was enough to throw us off.”

Buboltz agreed that that fourth down conversion was key for the Greyhounds.

“We needed a stop and did not get it,” he said. “It took a lot out of us and it took a lot of clock off too and kept our offense off of the field — that fourth down on their 26-yard line that they made — Sam [Knowles] grabbed ahold of those big moments and made it happen. He really performed well.”

MVL was also hampered by rare penalties, especially in the third quarter.

“I think that Cathedral rattled us and threw us off of our game. We can learn from that. We did not play one of our better games but we were still in the game. We have big play capabilities.”

One new one is the combination of quarterback Luke Thompson and Josh Giefer.

“He [Giefer] had a big game because they were going to double-team Cole [Thompson].”

Giefer had four catches for 142 yards.

“Kaiden Hammershmidt had four catches. And I thought that Will Kassermann and Kyle Flunker also looked good.”

EAGLES IMPROVE IN LOSS: New Ulm Eagles head football coach Eric Kauffmann thinks that despite the loss to Waseca, his team is showing improvement as they ended the tough part of their schedule.

New Ulm has now lost to the No. 1 and No. 3-ranked teams in Class AAA, a Marshall team that is now 4-2 and a 3-3 Jordan team.

“We forced some turnovers early against Waseca and we were only down 6-0 after the first quarter and we were playing pretty good,” Kauffmann said. “We had been making mental mistakes and [Friday] we did not do that.”

He was happy with the way his defensive backs played in the game.

“The score does not look like it that Friday was one of the better games that we played,” he said. “The kids just went out and had some fun.”

Kauffmann said that it is not easy playing two state-ranked teams in back-to-back weeks.

“Our district is pretty tough and our players know that. From the last two weeks, we are seeing progress and it has gotten to the point to where our kids cannot worry about who they are playing but just what they can do.”

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