Football: Turnovers trip up Wingers at homeIn the aftermath of Friday’s 30-6 loss to Shakopee, Red Wing head football coach Matt Schultz said defending the Sabers’ rushing attack is not so much a football game. It’s more like stopping a rugby scrum.
By: R-E Sports Staff, The Republican Eagle
In the aftermath of Friday’s 30-6 loss to Shakopee, Red Wing head football coach Matt Schultz said defending the Sabers’ rushing attack is not so much a football game. It’s more like stopping a rugby scrum.
“Lining up foot to foot, give the ball to No. 6 (Mikal Riley) and lead block with the quarterback, lead block with the wingback, lead block with the fullback,” Schultz said. “They just push you out of the way.
“If they’re bigger, faster and stronger than you are, they’re going to be successful with that offense.”
With Riley darting across the field on the way to 121 yards on 19 carries, the two-time defending Missota Conference champion’s rushing attack bulldozed the Wingers’ defense to the tune of 428 yards of total offense.
“It was hard-nosed football,” said Red Wing defensive back Andrew Sandstrom, who finished with nine tackles. “We went out there and gave it our best effort, trying to win.”
Opening the game at midfield, the Sabers marched down field for a nine-play, 52-yard scoring drive that Riley finished off with a seven-yard score.
Shakopee (1-0 Missota, 1-1 overall) took advantage of short fields throughout the game, with four of its five scoring drives coming from within 60 yards.
“With that squad, you have to keep them to their end of the field and force them to go 80 yards or 85 yards,” Schultz said. “Once we got the wind (in the second quarter), we were able to put them back a little bit.”
Later in the first quarter, the Sabers went up 14-0 when Austen Leadstrom broke to the outside for a 20-yard touchdown.
Quarterback Nick Larson (12 carries, 62 yards) and Sean Surbaugh also punched in rushing touchdowns for the Sabers.
Facing a bulky Shakopee line was a tough task in itself, but with the direct snaps and option handoffs, covering the Sabers’ multi-faceted rushing attack proved to be a tough task.
“We don’t watch the backfield, we watched the line and we just hoped the guards take us to where we want to go,” Sandstrom said. “Make your reads and play hard.”
The Wingers (0-1, 1-1) managed to keep the score close in the first half, thanks to some timely conversions by quarterback Ricky Turcotte. With 2 minutes, 22 seconds left in the half and facing a 3rd-and-14, Turcotte tossed a desperation heave to Andre Page, who came down with the ball for a 27-yard touchdown.
“I have no idea how he came up with that,” Schultz said of Page, who finished with seven catches for 102 yards. “I’m looking at the ground going, ‘Does he have the ball?’ He got drilled in the back.”
Turcotte was 14 of 29 passing for 213 yards and a touchdown, but an opportunistic Shakopee defense ended up with a pair of interceptions in its own territory.
Leading 23-6 in the third quarter, Patrick Casey picked off a pass by Turcotte in the end zone for a touchback. The Sabers finished with three takeaways.
“We had enough miscues that we’re going to have to learn from,” Schultz said. “I think, once again, we didn’t put the ball in great position in the first quarter. We probably gave them a short field too much.”
Red Wing looks to rebound next Friday at Farmington, while Shakopee plays host to Chaska.