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United South Central routs Mayer Lutheran

Rebels football team too much for the Knights

 

WELLS — The United South Central football team hosted Mayer Lutheran Friday night in a battle of two teams ranked in the top five of Class 1A.

The Rebels relied on big plays by the offense to score their points, as the defense held strong and only allowed one touchdown, ultimately winning 33-6.

It was a battle of defenses through much of the first half, with neither team gaining an upper hand on the other.

The Knights started with the ball, and after gaining one first down were forced to punt after two big sacks by senior Brevan Linder. The Rebels were unable to do anything themselves on their first drive, punting the ball after three quick plays.

Mayer Lutheran pushed the ball to midfield on its next possession, but was again forced to punt when the drive stalled out. Mayer Lutheran used the field position to its advantage and pinned United South Central at its own 12-yard line.

The Rebels avoided disaster after a sack pushed them back to the six-yard line. However, they punted the ball away before taking another loss. The Knights received the ensuing punt at the 50-yard line and returned it to the Rebels 30-yard line. A quick first down put the Knights inside the 20-yard line, but penalties forced the team all the way back to the 35. The Knights’ eventual punt went through the back of the endzone.

United South Central had a decent gain on the first play of the next drive, but it was called back on a holding call. Just when it seemed like the drive was dead, senior quarterback Isaac Meyer found senior wide receiver AJ Kloos on a short comeback route. Kloos made a defender miss and took the ball all the way in for an 84-yard score. A successful PAT put United South Central up 7-0 with just over six minutes left in the half.

The Rebels pulled out all the stops on the next kickoff, when an onside kick bounced off the front line of the Knights and was recovered by the kicking team. The Rebels used the great field position, but soon found themselves in a third and 20. Meyer, not ready to let the drive end, found senior receiver Mark Buslack, who beat his defender for a wide open 63-yard score. The Rebels now led 14-0 with 4:36 left in the half.

Senior quarterback Isaac Meyer drops back on what would lead to a 63-yard touchdown pass to Mark Bushlack. – Tyler Julson/Albert Lea Tribune

Mayer Lutheran cut into the lead, punching in a one-yard run with just 19 seconds left in the half. However, the Rebels had the last laugh of the half, blocking the extra point to keep the Knights back 14-6 at the break.

United South Central received the kickoff to start the second half and marched the ball all the way inside the Mayer Lutheran 10-yard line.

The Rebels were unable to score after back-to-back fade throws to Kloos hit the ground.

United South Central caught a bit of bad luck on the next drive, when Meyer was carried off the field with an apparent knee injury.

The Knights were forced to punt and junior Ethan Dallman was brought in to quarterback the offense. Senior running back Zach Niebuhr, who had been kept quiet for much of the game, took no notice that his starting quarterback was missing, taking a 48-yard run to the endzone on the second play of the drive. The Rebels jumped to a 20-6 lead after a missed PAT with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.

Mayer Lutheran tried a trick play of their own on their drive, converting a fourth and long on a punt fake. However, United South Central pulled the momentum back in their favor when Dallman recovered a fumble.

With a healthy Meyer back under center, the Rebels drained the clock into the fourth quarter before eventually punting the ball away.

Back-to-back sacks by Linder put the Knights in a fourth and very long play.

United South Central entered run mode on their next drive, trying to bleed the clock and give Mayer Lutheran no shot to make their way back into the game.

Taking the ball with just over eight minutes left in the game, the Rebels did not give the ball back until there was only 3:44 remaining.

Down by 14, the Knights were in desperation mode and were met again by a stout Rebels defense. The Rebels took possession after a turnover on downs.

Niebuhr decided to put the game away for sure on the very next play with a 31-yard touchdown run. The Rebels took a 26-6 lead with 2:22 left in the game.

United South Central was not done just yet. Kloos intercepted a pass on the next drive and returned it for a touchdown. A successful PAT put United South Central well out in front, 33-6, where the game ended.

The Rebels move to 5-0 on the season and will play again Friday when they host Janesville-Waldorf Pemberton.

United South Central senior Zach Niebuhr pounds the hole Friday night at home. Niebuhr rushed for two touchdowns, both in the second half. – Tyler Julson/Albert Lea Tribune

 

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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