While the scenery of football in the fall is something that some people can put into poetic justice, even the best teams can nd themselves in a game where things just aren’t going the way they want them to. The Kasson-Mantorville football team learned that lesson last week when they traveled to Byron to take on the Bears in a rivalry game.
With the execution looking just as nasty as the unseasonable warm and muggy weather, the KoMets struggled at times to take control of the game. However, as K-M grinded its way back into it, it was a late field goal by Cole Kundert that helped the KoMets escape with a 19-16 victory.
“If you don’t come out and play in any game, bad things can happen,” K-M football coach Broc Threinen explained. “As ugly as it was, it was great to see them compete in an adverse situation and they fought for every inch when they knew it was going to be a fight to the end.”
The Bears came out and seemingly punched the KoMets in the mouth as soon as they got o the bus while racing out to an early lead. With standout quarterback Mike Coble leading the offense, a long drive would be capped off by Ben Stienhessen on a 10-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
After a K-M drive stalled, the Bears would strike again with a 34-yard eld goal from Sean LaPlante to extend the lead to 10-0 before the KoMets had an answer. Quarterback Matt Winkle would lead the charge with 203 yards on 23 carries and would give the KoMets their first score of the night with a five-yard touchdown to bring the score within 10-7.
From there, the KoMets couldn’t get rolling as they would have a long touchdown come back and then a bad snap by Trenton Krueger would botch a field goal attempt as K-M headed into the locker room with a deficit for the first time this season.
“We played really tentative,” Threinen said of the first half. “I take a lot of responsibility for that because we gave Coble too much credit and we didn’t really attack them on defense. Offensively, we just made a few mistakes at some opportune times as well.”
Coming out of the half, the KoMets would strike midway through the third quarter when Winkle would dash up the middle for a 54-yard touchdown that would swing momentum toward the K-M sideline until the beginning of the fourth quarter when a field goal by LaPlante would give the Bears the lead once again.
The KoMets answered with an eight-minute drive that would get them all the way down to the four yard line on a fourth and goal with four minutes remaining in the game, Winkle would go up the middle but get stopped to give the Bears a chance to salt away the remainder of the clock. However, the KoMet defense had other ideas when Ethan Shea and Hunter Bradford sandwiched Coble in the end zone for a safety that tied the game at 16.
“We had a balance of being patient and attacking at the right time,” Threinen observed. “We gave up a little too much at times, but the outside linebackers have done a great job and Ethan Shea has been outstanding. He’s a student of the game and just a great competitor. He’s been a leader for our defense and it showed up on that play.”
The KoMets would get the ball on the safety punt and respond with another grinding drive that would march deep into Byron territory and into eld goal range. While Threinen admitted the first field goal was on his mind when going for it on fourth and goal earlier, he sent out the field goal team and Cole Kundert would hit the 22-yarder for the game-winning eld goal with three seconds remaining and gave Kruger some praise from his coach.
“He’s been a great snapper for us,” Threinen declared. “He’s done a nice job for us throughout the year and we were confident he was going to bounce back on that field goal.”
With the Bears failing to recreate the Stanford/Cal play on the ensuing kicko , the KoMets escaped with a win to move to 3-0 ahead of hosting Plainview-Elgin-Millville
on Friday night. While the effort against the Bears wasn’t pretty, Threinen believes that this game can only help his team as they march through the season.
“We just need to take care of the football and eliminate some of the dumb mistakes that we had,” Threinen said. “It was a good situation in an ugly way to have it happen this early in the season."