SHERBURN - The Martin County West Mavericks football team outscored the Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Knights 27-8 in the second half, including three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, to take the 41-29 Gopher Valley Conference victory on homecoming night in Sherburn on Friday night.
The Mavericks were trailing the Knights 21-14 at the half and a Mitch Sitzmann 16-yard run midway through the third helped MCW get the ball inside the LCWM 10. On fourth and goal from inside the one, Austin Krumwiede drove into the middle of the pile to try and tie the game, but he was brought down short of the goal line.
The Mavericks' defense played their role the next Knights' possession and forced them to punt on fourth down. The snap sailed over the punter's head and scored the Mavericks two points on the safety.
SHREDDING THE TACKLE — Martin County West running back Mitch Sitzmann (22) shakes a tackle attempt by Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial linebacker Brooks Neagle (52) during Gopher Valley Conference football action Friday night in Sherburn. Photo by Leanna Becker
On the ensuing drive, Jake Faber connected on a 44-yard touchdown pass to Krumwiede, who motored into the end zone to give the Mavericks a 22-21 lead with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter.
After both teams traded fumble recoveries, MCW tacked on another touchdown. On first down on the Knights' 34, Faber lobbed a perfectly-placed pass to Cordell Weber along the sideline, who raced in for the 34-yard score to make it 28-21 with 8:41 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Knights surged back and scored on the third play of the next drive with Bryan Davis scoring on a 31-yard screen pass from Kolten Barker. A conversion pass to Nolan Wrightson gave LCWM a 29-28 lead.
Sitzmann then put his team on his back and carried the ball five times for 56 yards and the score to give the Mavericks the 34-29 lead.
"Sitzmann willed us to victory tonight. He might not be the biggest kid, but he his the most athletic and explosive player," said Martin County West head coach T.J. Schmidtke. "I'm proud of all my kids the way they responded and never let up."
The Knights tried to respond, but the MCW defense allowed on four yards to turn the ball over on downs to its offense.
The next play, Sitzmann broke tackles and powered his way in from the 28 to score the final touchdown of the game to make it 41-29 with 3:21 remaining.
"The difference between our first half and second half was the big plays. We got stopped twice in the first half inside the 20 and they scored twice on huge passes," said Schmidtke. "We stopped their big plays in the second half and made our own."
The Mavericks took the first lead of the game in the opening quarter on a 5-yard run from Tyson Schuder. An Anders Fuller PAT kick made it 7-0 at 7:13 in the first quarter.
The Knights capped a 54-yard drive on their second possession of the game with a 13-yard touchdown strike from Barker to Davis, Davantay Corey punched in the two-point conversion run to put LCWM up 8-7.
On the next Knights' possession they took over after the Mavericks turned the ball over on downs, at the one.
Corey gained 1 yard on a run down the middle, before Barker and Davis connected on a 98-yard touchdown pass along the MCW sideline to make it 14-7 with 9:57 remaining in the half.
Faber and Krumwiede flexed their offensive muscle the next drive, connecting on a 14-yard pass across the middle. Faber then replicated that with a 67-yard pass to Krumwiede, who's stellar catch over the defender's head gave helped tie the game up at 14-14 with 8:01 on the clock.
With 1:12 left in the half, the Knights connected on their second big play of the night for a touchdown. On second down, Barker found Wrightson along the Maverick sideline for the 36-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-14.
The Mavericks accumulated 544 total yards of offense, 287 passing and 257 rushing, while the Knights amassed 337 yards of offense with 259 yards through the air.
Sitzmann had 29 rushes for 201 yards and two touchdowns along with two catches for 10 yards and an interception to lead the Mavericks homecoming efforts.
Krumwiede ran eight times for 30 yards, caught six catches for 183 yards and completed 4 of 5 passes for 125 yards. Faber went a perfect 8-for-8 passing for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
The Knights' Davis caught six passes for 204 yards, while Corey ran 20 times for 68 yards to lead the offense.
Barker went 9 of 27 for 259 yards with one interception.
Martin County West (4-2) travels to Waterville for a Gopher Valley conference game against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown at 7 p.m. next Friday night.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (4-2) travels to Winthrop for a Gopher Valley Conference game against Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop at 7 p.m. next Friday night.
MCW - Tyson Schuder 5 run (Anders Fuller kick), 7:13.
LCWM - Bryan Davis 13 yard pass from Kolten Barker (Davantay Corey run), 2:56.
LCWM - Davis 98 yard pass from Barker (run failed), 9:57.
MCW - Austin Krumwiede 67 yard pass from Jake Faber (Fuller kick), 8:01.
LCWM - Nolan Wrightson 36 yard pass from Barker (Corey kick), 1:12.
MCW - Safety, snap out of end zone, 4:04.
MCW - Krumwiede 44 yard pass from Faber (kick fail), 3:16.
MCW - Cordell Weber 34 yard pass from Faber (kick fail), 8:41.
LCWM - Davis 29 yard pass from Barker (Wrightson pass), 7:21.
MCW - Sitzmann 2 run (run fail), 5:19.
MCW Sitzmann 28 run (Fuller kick), 3:21.
First Downs: MCW 23; LCWM 9. Rushing: MCW 43-257; LCWM 27-78. Passing: MCW 12-24-0-287; LCWM 9-27-1-259. Fumbles-lost: MCW 1-1; LCWM 1-1. Penalties: MCW 6-35; LCWM 11-73.
Offense: Rushing: Mitch Sitzmann (MCW) 29-201; Davantay Corey (LCWM) 20-68; Austin Krumwiede (MCW) 8-30; Trevor Schultz (MCW) 2-16. Passing: Jake Faber (MCW) 8-8-0-162; Krumwiede (MCW) 4-5-0-125; Kolten Barker (LCWM) 9-27-1-259. Receiving: Bryan Davis (LCWM) 6-204; Krumwiede (MCW) 6-183; Cordell Weber (MCW) 3-89; Nolan Wrightson (LCWM) 2-42. Defense: Fumble recoveries: Dylan Keck (LCWM); Hunter Olson (MCW). Interceptions: Sitzmann (MCW).
Granada-Huntley-East Chain/ Truman 46, Alden-Conger 6 - The Jaguars exploded for 34 points in the first half to power past the Knights 46-6 in a Southern Confederacy League game on Friday night in Alden.
DaMarko Thomas led the Jaguars on the ground with 20 carries for 151 yards and three touchdowns. Thomas also added two catches for 32 yards to the air attack.
Jared Green ran the ball eight times for 81 yards and a touchdown, while Dylan Petrowiak ran for 69 yards on six carries.
Josh Johanson scored on a 19-yard run for the Jaguars.
Ryan Shumski caught two passes for 15 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
Chandler Greier went 4 of 12 passing for 47 yards and one touchdown.
Thomas, Petrowiak and Green each snagged an interception, with Green returning his for a score.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman (2-4) travels for a Southern Confederacy game against Nicollet at 7 p.m. next Friday night.
Alden-Conger (0-6) travels for a Southern Confederacy League game against Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton at 7 p.m. on Friday.