Knights make first section final in 10 years

Published 8:26 am Monday, October 27, 2008

The Alden-Conger football team is in the section finals for the first time since 1999 after a 39-14 dominating win over Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Saturday night in Alden.

After three years of falling in the section semifinals, the Knights are moving on to the section final against Nicollet and are a game away from going to state.

“It’s a long time coming,” Alden-Conger head coach Chad Mattson said. “It feels real good to move on to the section finals.”

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The Knights (6-3) overpowered the Bulldogs at the line of scrimmage and put up 505 yards of total offense, 309 of which came on the ground.

“They just have this attitude about them that they’re going to whoop the other guy’s butt on the line,” Alden-Conger quarterback Lucas Kleinschrodt said of the offensive line.

David Troska, in his first full game since returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for five weeks, rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a 81-yard touchdown reception on the first play from scrimmage for Alden-Conger.

“He was more pumped than anyone to get back on the field,” Mattson said.

Troska added a 2-yard touchdown run and a 23-yard touchdown run in the second quarter as the Knights built a 25-0 lead at halftime.

The defense for Alden-Conger played strong all game and created havoc for the J-W-P offensive line. The Knights pressured Bulldogs quarterback Connor Morton for most of the first half and the third quarter and did not give up many big plays.

Kleinschrodt conducted a nearly flawless game at quarterback as he completed 12 of 18 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown. Nine of his passes went to wide receiver Max Keller who finished the game with 88 yards receiving. Keller’s play was a lift for the Alden-Conger offense after the team lost leading wide receiver Brad Feree to injury.

“Max just ran his routes and he found the holes just like he’s supposed to,” Mattson said. “I think Lucas just knew he was going to do his job.”

The Knights faced J-W-P last Wednesday and won 33-8, but they found ways to exploit the Bulldogs zone defense and it came through the air with quick slants and curl routes.

“When they play zone, they have that one guy up so we knew a couple of quick hitters would be open,” Kleinschrodt said. “Also our curl routes on the outside worked very well. Max did an awesome job making the catches, going down to the ground, jumping up to make the catches … catching everything I threw at him.”

The Kleinschrodt-Keller connection is an important one for Alden-Conger as it deals with the loss of Feree, but Saturday it looked like the Knights have very little to worry about with the passing game.

“This year ever since he started playing wide receiver it’s just like I know where he’s going to be,” Kleinschrodt said. “He’s not the biggest guy but he gets the job done.”

Although Keller didn’t have a touchdown reception he was rewarded for his hard work in the fourth quarter when he scored from 1 yard out to make the game 31-0.

J-W-P rallied for a 30-yard touchdown pass from Morton to Alex Eustice to make the game 31-6. But on the next Alden-Conger possession Michael Bernal broke free from a cluster of would-be tacklers for a 90-yard touchdown run. J-W-P added a late touchdown pass against Knight reserves to make the game 39-14.

Alden-Conger will face Nicollet in the section championship in Alden Friday — Halloween night. The last time the two teams matched up the Knights came away with a 34-32 double overtime win when Brad Ferree intercepted a pass as the Raiders went for the game-tying two-point conversion. Alden-Conger had built a 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter but Nicollet struck for two big plays to put the game to 20-14 at halftime. The Raiders scored the only points in the second half before Kleinschrodt scored the go-ahead touchdown and E.J. Knight added the two-point conversion.

“We’ve got just one more game to go to state and it’s a winnable game,” Kleinschrodt said. “No one wants to stop playing. We want to go on, we know we can do it, we just have to go out and execute.”

The last time the Knights made a trip to state — 1998 when Mattson was the quarterback.

“It’d be nice to make it back,” Mattson said.

Alden-Conger 39, J-W-P 14

J-W-P – 0 0 0 14 – 14

A-C – 6 19 0 14 – 39

First Quarter

A-C – David Troska 81 pass from Lucas Kleinschrodt (kick failed)

Second Quarter

A-C – Troska 2 run (pass failed)

A-C – Kleinschrodt 5 run (Jordan Johnson kick)

A-C – Troska 23 run (kick failed)

Third Quarter

No scoring

Fourth Quarter

A-C – Max Keller 1 run (kick failed)

J-W-P – Alex Eustice 30 pass from Connor Morton (pass failed)

A-C – Michael Bernal 90 run (Cameron Majerus pass from Michael Reyerson)

J-W-P – Eustice 59 pass from Morton (Mac Borneke pass from Morton)

Total offense

A-C – 505

Total rushing

A-C – 309

Total passing

A-C – 196