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Indians celebrate homecoming with win over Greyhounds

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau Sleepy Eye High School’s Mason Meyers runs for a big gain as New Ulm Cathedral’s Colin Anderson reaches to make the tackle during a Southwest District football game Friday night in Sleepy Eye.

By Jeff Meder

Journal Sports Writer

SLEEPY EYE — Sleepy Eye earned its first victory of the season when it defeated New Ulm Cathedral 28-15 on Friday night in a South District football game.

The win was a double-sweet one because it was Sleepy Eye’s homecoming game.

There was also some mixed emotions because it will be the final time that the two teams play against each other. Sleepy Eye will enter a cooperative with Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s next season and be known as Sleepy Eye United.

The fourth quarter proved to be interesting because there were a total of five touchdowns scored in that quarter alone. It had been a low scoring affair up to that point.

Sleepy Eye regained the lead when Arian Saenz scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 9:48 left in the game. Mason Myers tried to run for the 2-point conversion, but it was no good. Sleepy Eye led 12-7.

Cathedral regained the lead with 4:11 left. With it fourth down and 12 yard to go, Jake Finstad tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jevan Wilfahrt. Finstad passed to Wilfahrt for the 2-point conversion and that made it 15-12 for the Greyhounds.

Cathedral’s ensuing kick-off put Sleepy Eye deep in its own territory at the 10-yard line. Sleepy Eye did not panic, though, getting back-to-back, first-down runs by Myers. Saenz’s run set up the next play.

Caden Evers threw the ball to Austin Uecker, who caught it and ran 75 yards for a touchdown with 2:45 left in the game. Evers threw the ball to Saenz, who fumbled the ball, regained it and scored the 2-point conversion to give Sleepy Eye a 20-15 advantage.

Cathedral made a crucial turnover on its next possession. Winsten Nienhaus picked off a Finstad pass with 1:59 left in the game. Sleepy Eye cashed in on that turnover on a 25-yard touchdown run by Saenz with 1:20 left in the contest. He went left and against the grain to the right to score. Cody Schultz tossed the ball to Nienhaus for the 2-point conversion. That made it 28-15 Sleepy Eye.

Nienhaus made an important solid tackle of a Cathedral ballcarrier on the ensuing kickoff. That tackle kept the Greyhounds from getting any good field position to stage a comeback.

In the third quarter, Cathedral took a 7-6 lead when it put together an eight-minute drive that was capped off on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Finstad to Wilfahrt. Finstad’s kick for the extra point gave the Greyhounds a slim 7-6 lead.

Sleepy Eye took the first lead in the second quarter when Evers tossed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Uecker with 1:43 remaining in the quarter. Evers’ pass for the extra point was picked off by a Cathedral defender.

Sleepy Eye had 109 passing yards and 205 rushing yards for a total of 319 yards for the offense. Cathedral had 158 rushing yards and 64 passing yards for a total of 206 yards for its offense.

For Sleepy Eye, Myers rushed 12 times for 110 yards and Saenz rushed 17 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Evers had 114 passing yards and two touchdowns and Uecker added 104 receiving yards with two touchdowns.

Finstad led the Greyhounds with 64 passing yards and one touchdown. Wilfahrt had 74 receiving yards and a touchdown on six catches and ran for 30 yards, while Jaden Helget had 51 yards rushing on 13 carries. Joe Gillis and Ben Blomberg each were in on 11 tackles for Cathedral, while Thomas Finstad was in on 14 tackles.

Sleepy Eye (1-3) will play at 7 p.m. on Friday at Slayton against Murray County Central, while Cathedral (1-3) hosts Martin County West on Friday night.

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