Tradition steps forward in Viking opener
There's something intangable that seems to bring out the best in Minneota football players.
It's a little thing they sometimes wear on their shirts that says, "Tradition never graduates."
Coach Chad Johnston eluded to Minneota's most valuable weapon Thursday after his young team stepped up and delivered it's "tradition" message to Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, 50-7.
"That tradition, that pride, it comes out," said the coach.
Most folks didn't know what to expect from a team with a rebuilt line, new quarterback and premium on senior leadership.
When the coach glanced at the scoreboard to see 50 points on Minneota's side of the ledger he chuckled a bit and said, "That was a surprise to me. I didn't know we'd score this many."
When your sophomore quarterback (Kade Lozinski) is what the coach called, "The key to our offense," it says a lot. Even more are the 265 yards Lozinski passed for, including a 51-yard strike to Cole Sanow to start the scoring and 57-yard and 81-yard touchdown tosses to senior ball-catcher Alex Saltzer.
"It was a good night for his first night," the coach said about Lozinski, who won the battle for the quarterback job after a struggle with freshman Isaac Pohlen. "He was the key point," the coach reiterated.
Lozinski also stepped up and scored on a quarterback sneak for the second touchdown of the game.
Minneota vaulted to a 28-0 first-quarter lead and by halftime it was 43-7.
Despite the flood of points Minneota scored, many by taking advantage of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton mistakes, the Vikings defense shone the brightest.
After taking the opening drive 64 yards in just three plays for a Sanow touchdown on a short pass from Lozinski, Sanow recovered a Panther fumble on the 11 and three-plays later Lozinski was in the endzone.
Up 14-0, Minneota got another break when Sanow intercepted a Sawyer Otto pass and three plays later Blake Reiss broke off left tackle, shed two tackles, one while spinning aound, and romped 16 yards for a touchdown. The stunned Panthers never recovered.
Let by senior defensive end Logan Sussner, who had seven tackles, including one for a loss and was the vocal leader of the Minneota line. As for being the Viking defensive leader, the coach said, "He's got to be that guy. We've got to have senior leadership."
Sanow, AJ Myhre, AJ Josephson, Jonah Gruenes and Banish also stepped up on defense with five to six solo/assist tackles a piece.
For Saltzer, it was a banner night. His two long touchdown passes led him to 177 yards receiving on five catches. Sanow, who rushed for 54 yards also caught the touchdown pass.
Late in the game Lozinski wen to Sussner, who caught two passes for 24 yards.
"It was a good start for us, especially when you have five new linemen," said the coach.
While all wasn't rosy, like the nine penalties for 90 yards and the fact the offensive line, "Kept letting 71 (Trevor Eisfeld) into the backfield," as Coach Johnston said, there was reason for optimism.
"We talked about executing and having confidence, and they did that tonight," the coach said.
Minneota also showed off a couple of good feet — those of kickers Phillip Jung (foreign exchange student from Austria) and Peyton Gillund. Jung steadily powered four kicks and Gillund two others.
"It was a good start for us," said Coach Johnston.
Minneota willl host Lakeview at 7 p.m. Friday in the Boxelder Bug Day weekend game.
Minneota 28 15 7 0 — 50
Tracy-M-B 0 7 0 0 — 7
M-Cole Sanow 51 pass from Kade Lozinski. PAT-Phllip Jung kick, 8:31.
M-Lozinski 1 run. PAT-Jung kick, 4:06.
M-Blake Reiss 16 run. PAT-Jung kick, 2:42.
M-Alex Saltzer 57 pass from Lozinski. PAT-Peyton G8llund kick, :0.9
M-Saltzer 81 pass from Lozinski. PAT-Reiss pass from Lozinski, 10:10.
M-Sanow 3 run. PAT-Gillund kick, 1:54.
TMB-Lucas Gervais 4 pass from Sawyer Otto. PAT-Jake Tauer kick, :21.7.
M-Sussener 7 pass from Lozinski. PAT-Jung kick, 7:01.
None (Running time).
14 First Downs 7
9-90 Penalties/Yds. 4-40
31-143 Rushes/Yds. 32-119
265 Passing Yds. 40
408 Total Yards 159
1-0 Fumbles/Lost 3-2
RUSHING (No., yds) Minneota: Blake Reiss 6-69; Cole Sanow 15-54; AJ Josephson 4-27; Kade Lozinski 2-0; Isaac Pohlen 1-0; Joseph Rybinski 1-minus 3; Jonah gruenes 2-minus 4. TMB: Otto 12-49; Ayden Horner 6-27; Konnor Zick 5-21; Noah Swenhaugen 3-20; Caden Anderson 2-8; Others 4-3.
PASSING: (No., comp., int., yds.) Minneota: Lozinski 16-9-0-265; I. Pohlen 1-0-0-0; TMB Otto 13-6-1-40; Swenhaugen 2-0-0-0.
RECEIVING: (No., yds.) Minneota Saltzer 5-177; Sanow 1-51; Sussner 2-24; AJ Myhre 1-13; TMB-Gervais 3-33; Tauer 1-3; Zick 1-2; Andrew LaVoy 1-2.
KICKOFFS: (No., yds.) Minneota: Jung 8-344; TMB: Tony Nelson 2-72.
KICKOFF RETURNS: (No., yds.) Minneota: Sanow 1-32; Cooper VanOverbeke 1-3; TMB: Eisfeld 4-15; Matt Munson 3-13; Horner 1-13.
PUNTS: (No., yds. avg.) Minneota-Saltzer 3-68-26.0; Lozinski 2-42-26.0; TMB-Gervais 6-210-35.0.
PUNT RETURNS: (No., yds) Minneota-Reiss 5-7, others 3-6; TMB total 5-0.
TACKLES: (Solo, assists) Sussner 4-3; Sanow 3-0; AJ Myhre 3-2; Reiss 2-1; AJ Josphson 2-4; Gruenes 2-4; Beau Banish 2-3; Tucker Thooft 2-2; Joseph Rybinski 1-4; Jacob Citterman 1-4; VanOverbeke , Grady Moorse, Cole Myhre 1-0 each; Kaden Culver, H. Scholten 0-2 each; Gillund, Verschelde, DeSmet 0-1 each; TMB: Eisfeld 12-3; Zick 3-1; Matt Munson 3-0; LaVoy 3-1; Cobey Anderson 3-2.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Minneota: Banish, Rybinski, Citterman; TMB: Anderson, T. Timm.
INTERCEPTIONS: Minneota: Sanow.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Minneota: Sanow, Citterman.