Gallery: Knights fall in opener
Published 10:42 pm Thursday, August 28, 2014
ALDEN — An opportunity to snap a losing streak that dates back to 2011 slipped through the Alden-Conger football team’s grasp in its season opener.
The Knights lost 36-0 Thursday against Renville County West, and that streak was extended to 24 games.
“It was disappointing. I thought we were going to play so much better” said Alden-Conger coach Bruce Smith. “You’ve got to have consistency. That’s the bottom line.”
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Renville County West was 1-8 last year, and its only win of the season was against winless Southwestern United.
With work in the weight room during the offseason and the return of starting quarterback Brady Neel, who led the Tribune’s seven-team coverage area with 1,362 passing yards last season, Smith thought his team had a solid chance to win.
However, Alden-Conger’s passing game was foiled by a stingy Jaguars defense along with rain in the first quarter and mist throughout the game. Neel managed five completions in 19 attempts for 59 yards. Wyatt Ladwig led the Knights receiving corps. with three catches for 37 yards.
“I think we can pass better, and they were in the same boat (with the weather), but they weren’t much of a passing team,” Smith said. “If they shut down our passing game — which the rain did a little bit — our running game should’ve been fine.”
The Knights struggled on the ground as well. The team’s two leading rushers combined for 33 yards on 21 carries.
Although Renville County West posted the second-worst record last season of any opponent on this year’s schedule, Smith isn’t about to give up.
“We’ll watch the film, find out what things people did wrong, and what we’ll do is correct it,” he said. “We’ll tell you, ‘This is what you need to do. If you do it, then you’ll be one of our starters, and we’ll keep working with you. If you don’t correct it, then we’ll take someone else and put them in there.’”
Renville County West took a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Jaguars added another touchdown in the second quarter to take a 20-0 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Renville County West punched the ball into the end zone two more times. In the fourth quarter, the Jaguars tacked on a field goal.
Alden-Conger’s defense was led by Colton Opsahl, Hunter O’Rourke and Wyatt Ladwig. Each player had nine tackles.
Next, Alden-Conger will play at 7 p.m. at Westbrook-Walnut Grove. The Chargers had a 5-4 overall record last season, and they are coming off a 27-20 loss at Cleveland on Thursday.
After the Chargers, the Knights will host Southwestern United at 7 p.m. Sept. 12. Last season, the Wildcats were 0-8, and their closest game was a 30-13 loss against Fulda, a team that went 2-7.
Statistics are in the Scoreboard: Aug. 28 post.