Special teams lead K-M to rout over P-E-M
By a simple eye test, the Kasson-Mantorville football team’s win over Byron in their previous game was ugly. In the type of game that was a grind it out slugfest, the KoMets battled and perservered thanks to a late eld goal that helped them escape their rivals with a 19-16 win. Although the result was nice, the process was one that needed refinement.
With that in mind, the KoMets found one area that could have turned the Byron game from a nail- biter into a rout. That area was special teams.
“We were embarrassed with the way we played special teams [against Byron,]” K-M football coach Broc Threinen admitted. “We had some good conversations and we just made sure that we had some things dialed in during practice last week and the kids responded well.”
That emphasis on special teams came in handy last week against Plainview-Elgin-Millville as the KoMets rode the momentum of a pair of punt returns and an interception return for a touchdown to help lead K-M to a 48-15 victory on September 22.
With another unseasonably hot day providing the backdrop, the KoMets came ready to play holding the Bulldogs on a three-and-out on their rst possession. On the ensuing punt, Easton Knoll was the first example of K-M’s improved special teams weaving his way 55 yards for the opening score.
K-M would force the Bulldogs into another third-and-long on the next possession, but Baron Holtz escaped pressure from Will Jensen and scrambled 73 yards for a P-E-M touchdown to even things up.
From there, the KoMets put the ball in their offense’s hands to create some breathing room as Matt Winkle darted up the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown and Robby Horsman snuck into the end zone on an eight yard run to give K-M a 20-7 halftime advantage.
In the second half, K-M’s return game would play a vital role beginning with the rst possession of the third quarter. After running a similar play early in the drive, Wes Asprey would jump a route and take an interception back for another touchdown to extend the lead to 27-7.
With the KoMets rmly in control, Horsman would take over with a 16-yard touchdown run and a 65-yard punt return to o cially put the game out of reach at 41-7 and help improve the KoMets to 4-0 on the year.
“We try to get the ball in our playmaker’s hands whenever we can,” Threinen said of the returns. “Our special teams blocked well, blocked a punt, had two punt returns and were great in kicko coverage too. We thought that aspect of the game was very signi cant in the final score.”
With the KoMets celebrating their fourth straight victory, they know that there is work to do with a rivalry game looming next week at Stewartville. Last season, the Tigers won a thrilling battle at KMTelecom Stadium during the regular season before K-M got revenge in the section tournament. With this slated to be the only meeting between the two teams this year, Threinen knows that his kids will feel the energy of a big game. “They’ll always be up for Stewartville,” Threinen said. “The kids see each other, talk to each other, Snapchat or whatever they do all the time. They’ve had some great games the past two years so it’ll be key to stay focused on our jobs so we bring that consistency to our offense.”