Quarterback Alex Pohlen rolls out. File Photo by Brian Jeremiason.

Linemen get their licks in against String

Playing games like "rope pull", or "hold that line" were always better when you had big strong kids in the middle to hold everyone together.

Not much has changed for the boys playing the line for the Minneota Vikings. "We told them, you are the experienced ones we need you," said Coach Chad Johnston.

The three, T. J. Esping, Ethan Krier and Lucas Bot, all seniors, were designated as the core of the young, developing line.

Friday night Esping and Krier stepped up and led the way to a 39-0 victory over Yellow Medicine East to push the Vikings to 4-0 on the season.

"More and more the line is getting experience," the coach said.

Esping stepped up big time with five tackles and a sack and Krier added six tackles to the effort. In the past the Minneota linemen didn't get a lot of tackles, but allowed the linebackers to carry the load.

Not this year.

With Esping and Krier holding down the line on defense, they've allowed junior Shawn Buysse to step up from his linebacker position and lead the way. Against Yellow Medicine East, Buysse was in on eight tackles and along with Esping and Krier led a defense thaty gave up just 70 total yards —  and just 19 rushing.

Coming into the season the line play, particularly on defense, was the question mark. But as the question marks fall, "We have less missed opportunities. We still have some breakdowns, but they are getting their experience," the coach said.

"We didn't seem them (Yellow Medicine East) get their running back out of the backfield much," said the coach.

Two other youngsters coming along quickly are Cole VanOverbeke and Mitchell Rost. Junior VanOverbeke broke in for a sack and had a total of five tackles and Rost added five more with one "tackle for lost yards."

Landon Abraham also came up with a big tackle for lost yards on YME's first drive to force the Sting to punt.

While the defense was causing all kinds of havoc with the Sting, Minneota's offense piled up 448 yards. Much of that rode on the strong arm of senior quarterback Alex Pohlen. He threw 19 times, completed 13 for 262 yards and hit on two touchdowns — one to Thomas Hennen and the other to Isaac Hennen.

While Thomas Hennen's prowess has been to catch passes, he also ripped off a 36-yard run in the first quarter and a six-yard run in the second quarter to end the night with three touchdowns.

Cole Sanow led the team in rushing with 64 yards on nine carries.

The game was marred by a variety of penalties by both squads. Minneota had nine for 54 yards and Yellow Medicine East six for 76 yards.

Coach Chad Johnston was happy with big plays by Brant Buysse and Cole Sanow. During the first drive, Buysse made an incredible diving catch for eight yards and Sanow carried  the load on the ground.

Then there was Abraham, who, "Made a nice catch across the middle," and went for 31 yards, credited Coach Johnston.

So there was plenty of offense, too!

Yet, let's not forget YME had just six first downs. And that means, Minneota's defense was holding. In fact, they held three times on fourth down plays, forced six punts and stopped YME with a fumble recovery by Sanow.

"We can cleanup our penalties. On some plays we're just confused," said the coach. Yet, "We did a lot of good things the first half and made big plays," he said.

Minneota 39, YME 0
YME             0      0      0    0    —    0
Minneota         18    14    7    0    —    39
First Quarter
M-Cole Sanow 3 run. PAT-Landon Rolbiecki kick failed.
M-Isaac Hennen 23 pass from Alex Pohlen. PAT-Rolbiecki kick failed.
M-Thomas Hennen 36 run. PAT-Rolbiecki kick failed.
Second Quarter
M-Thomas Hennen 6 run. PAT-Rolbiecki kick good.
M-Thomas Hennen 24 pass from Alex Pohlen. PAT-Rolbiecki kick good.
Third Quarter
M-Isaac Hennen 7 run. PAT-Rolbiecki kick good.
Fourth Quarter

Minn                                YME
19       First Downs          6
9-54    Penalties/Yards    6-76
1-1    Fumbles/Lost         2-1
28-162    Rushes/Yards  33-19
286    Passing Yards       51
448    Total Yards            70

RUSHING (No., yds.) Minneota-Cole Sanow 9-64; Thomas Hennen 3042; Isaac Hennen 6-36; LaShad Smith 3-16; Landon Rolbiecki 2-11; Pohlen 1-0; Blake Reiss 1-minus 2; Tanner Sterzinger 1-0. YME-Garrett Nordang 12-12; Ethan Peterson 2-12; Cole Richter 1-4; Ayden Friese 5-2; Nichlas Lindstrom 7-1; David Hidalgo 2-1; Stephan Winger 1-0; Angel Jiminez 2-minus 13.
PASSING: (No., compl., int., yds) Minneota-Pohlen 19-13-1-262; YME-Jimenez 9-7-0-51; Lindstrom 1-0-0-0.
RECEIVING: (No., yds.) Minneota-I. Hennen 4-93; T. Hennen 5-60; B. Buysse 2-48; L. Abraham 1-31; Sanow 1-30; Tate Walterius 1-16; B. Reiss 1-8. YMEFriese 3-35; Nordang 1-13; Trent Skjefte 1-10; Carter Sneller 1-minus 1; C. Richter 1-minus 6.
KICKOFFS: (No., yds.) Minneota-Rolbiecki 5-192; LaShad Smith 3-136; YME-D. Hidalgo 1-37.
KICKOFF RETURNS: (No., yds.) Minneota-T. Hennen1-0; YME-Nordang 1-28; Schmidt 2-3; C. Richter 1-2; other 1-0.
PUNTS: (No., yds., avg.) Minneota-None; YME-Richter 6-162-27.0.
PUNT RETURNS: (No., yds.) Minneota-5 for 0; YME-None.
FUMBLES RECOVERED: Minneota-C. Sanow; YME-Jagger Anderson.
TACKLES: (Solo, assists) Minneota-I. Hennen 3-3; Sanow 2-1; Rolbiecki 2-3; Krier 2-4; VanOverbeke 2-3; Austin Sorenson 2-0; T. Hennen 1-0; Reiss 1-2; Abraham 1-2; Shawn Buysse 1-7; Skylar Gilbertson 1-2; Logan Sussner  1-1; Bronson Lozinski 1-0; LaShad Smith 0-2; B. Buysse 0-2; Layne Lozinski 0-2; Grady Moorse, Beau Banish, Ty Lipinski 1 each. YME-Friese 3-3; Peterson 2-1; Schmidt, Loren Labatte 2-0 each; Lindstrom, Jagger Anderson 1-0 each; Dalton Anderson 1-1; Jimenez 0-1.
SACKS: Minneota-VanOverbeke; Esping; Bronson Lozenski. YME-None.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Minneota; Mitchell Rost.

Friday, September 22
Minneota 39, Yellow Medicine East 0
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 30, Ortonville 13
Wabasso 54, Springfield 0
Sleepy Eye 44, Adrian 19
Dawson-Boyd 52, Lac qui Parle V. 13
Canby 27, Lakeview 14
Saturday, September 23
Murray Co. Central vs. New Ulm Cath.
Games This Week
Friday, Sept. 29
Minneota at Ortonville
Springfield at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton
Murray Co. Central at Dawson-Boyd
Lac qui Parle Valley at Canby
Lakeview at Yellow Medicine East
Sleepy Eye at Wabasso




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