Pillager at Sauk Centre
The Pillager Huskies’ 2021 football season ended without a win on a crisp, windy Tuesday as they fell to the Sauk Centre Mainstreeters 20-12 to finish 0-9.
The game started very inauspiciously for the Huskies, who got the ball to start and lost a fumble on their third play from scrimmage on an errant pitch from QB Wyatt Glas to RB Quintin Laveau. The Mainstreeters got the ball on the Pillager 37 and were forced into two separate 4th down situations. The first, a 4th and 4, was converted via the hard count. The second was a 4th and 18 situation, but quarterback Matthew Warring exploited the single high safety look on defense to find a wide open WR Jay Neubert down the sideline for a 34 yard touchdown pass to open the scoring at 7-0.
Things went from bad to worse for Pillager as they fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but their first sign of life came two plays later when the defense jarred the ball loose from the grasp of RB Eli Fletcher in the red zone. Taking over on their own 5, Pillager was unable to muster a lengthy drive and punted. However, lightning would strike twice for the Huskies as Fletcher fumbled again in the red zone, this time on a botched exchange with Warring. The Huskies punted again on their next drive, but the fun wasn’t over, as Fletcher would fumble once more, and this time, the Husky offense had an answer, as they churned out a 9 play, 64 yard drive with four first downs and saw Laveau take it in from 5 yards out to draw within one at 7-6 with only 1:21 remaining in the first half.
The Mainstreeter offense made it very clear in the next drive that the half had not ended yet. After a failed squib kick resulted in Sauk Centre getting the ball on Pillager’s 47, Warring connected with senior WR Andrew Boyer twice for 37 yards to set up a 10 yard TD run from Fletcher to make the score 13-6 at halftime following a failed 2 point try.
Sauk Centre rode the wave to begin the second half with an explosive run from Eli Fletcher: on the first play from scrimmage, Fletcher got the pitch on a speed option play in which no one was playing the running back, and saw nothing but green grass for 70 yards en route to a house call to make the score 20-6.
The next two drives saw a Pillager punt and a Sauk Centre turnover on downs. With 2:39 left in the 3rd quarter, Pillager had their best drive of the night: a 14 play, 80 yard drive with all run plays that culminated in a 4 yard run by Brayton Kriegl through a massive gap on the left side of the line to pull within one score at 20-12.
The Husky defense got the stop they needed on the next drive, but not without an interesting turn of events: on 4th and 3, Sauk Centre jumped for a false start penalty when trying to run a fake punt from their own territory. On 4th and 8, they ran a fake again – and it was successful – but a holding penalty set them back to a 4th and 7 situation, and the Mainstreeters finally punted. The Huskies got the ball on their own 45 with 4:06 left in the game and a chance to tie it up, but ultimately stalled around the Sauk Centre 40 yard line and the affair ended with a 20-12 score.
The Huskies finish the 2021 season winless at 0-9. The Mainstreeters (5-4) will face West Central Area/Ashby in the next round.
Sauk Centre: 322
Eli Miller: 1/3, 3 yards, INT
Sauk Centre Passing
Matthew Warring: 8/13, 164 yards, TD; 1 sack, 11 yards
Eli Miller: 20 rush, 103 yards
Jacob Dixon: 10 rush, 62 yards
Quintin Laveau: 10 rush, 54 yards, TD
Brayton Kriegl: 4 rush, 8 yards, TD
Sauk Centre Rushing
Eli Fletcher: 20 rush, 161 yards, 2 TD; 3 fumbles lost
Sauk Centre Receiving
Jay Neubert: 3 rec, 63 yards, TD
Andrew Boyer: 3 rec, 47 yards