KoMets get revenge in Stewartville
The previous meeting between the Stewartville and Kasson-Mantorville football team on September 23 has to be considered on a short list when you think of games of the year in Southeastern Minnesota. On that night, an undefeated KoMets squad took a 21-0 lead only to see it vanish as Andrew Quandt hit Nick Thiel on a touchdown pass with eight seconds remaining to allow the Tigers to escape KMTelecom Stadium with a 33-28 victory.
A game like that will linger with a team and if they’re given another chance to avenge a type of loss, they’re usually chomping at the bit in order to exact some revenge.
“It was a tough loss when we felt like we played well and gave up some big plays that killed us,” K-M football coach Broc Threinen recalled. “We really wanted a shot at them again and the kids had a nice week of preparation, logged a ton of film and really committed to selling out for the team.”
Last Saturday night, revenge was a dish that was best serve d cold with plenty of precipitation mixed in. With the KoMets serving up the main course with sides of great defense and special teams, they were able to cook up a fatal recipe for Stewartville to earn a 34-12 victory and advance to the Section 1AAAA championship game against Winona on Friday night.
Much like the first game between the two teams, the KoMets were able to assert themselves on offense early despite falling behind midway through the first quarter on a Nate Johnson touchdown run. With Matt Winkle ripping off big chunks of yardage in the early going, he was able to cap off the KoMets’ first scoring drive with an 11 yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7 late in the first quarter.
“It kind of worked just how you drew it up,” Threinen said of his team’s offensive success. “They committed to stopping Noah [Ryan] and Matt was able to take advantage of it. When Matt got in trouble, he was able to give it off to Brendan for even more yards. It was a great job by him running the show and executing the reads and getting some big plays.”
From there, the KoMet defense began to take over. As a unit that was full of confidence (and pizza after a bet with assistant coach Jeff Bernards) after shutting out Red Wing 37-0 to set up the semifinal in Stewartville, they forced the Tigers to go three and out before a high snap over the head of Johnson on a punt went into the end zone for a K-M safety to give them a 9-7 lead.
On the next Stewartville possession, the KoMets’ special teams struck again when Logan Stenberg blocked a punt and fell on it in the end zone to extend the lead 16-7.
“The special teams have been big,” Threinen declared. “It’s something that gets overlooked a lot, but those two plays were big momentum changers and to get points off both was huge.”
The Tigers would look to respond on their next drive as they