Entering the fourth quarter, Red Wing and Rochester Century were tied 0-0, looking to see which team would finally break through.
After two straight weeks of blowout losses, it was unfamiliar-yet-satisfying territory for the Wingers.
"What I told them on the sidelines was to play without the scoreboard, play without the clock," said Red Wing head football coach Nate Freier. "Play for yourself, play for your brothers, play for your teammates and everything else will work out."
With 9 minutes, 58 seconds to play, Century finally got on the scoreboard with a 16-yard pass from Caden Flodstrom to Jose Benjamin. Then with 4:33 remaining, the Panthers put the game away for good following a Isaiah Tamte 2-yard run for a 13-0 Century victory.
"We had a couple bad breaks go against us and we gave up a couple touchdowns late in the game," Freier said. "It was a little too much to overcome."
Freier continued, "For three-and-a-half quarters, we made Century work very, very hard for everything they got and they didn't get much as a result. ... The kids are building something special and important. They take it as their own personal mission and recognize they worked for four quarters. The kids have hearts of lions right now. They've taken on board a great deal of pride and effort to put Red Wing football on the map."
With the ground game limited to 12 yards on 31 carries, Red Wing found some success in the air as Marcus Walm was 10 of 22 passing for 109 yards and an interception. Seth Yeatman was the top target, hauling in five catches for 59 yards while Teddy Tauer came up with three grabs for 33 yards.
Mac DeSutter finished with 33 yards on 15 carries to lead Red Wing's ground attack.
"There's no such thing as a moral victory in sports, but I do think the kids, at the end, were in position (to win)," Freier said. "They were disappointed, but heartened by playing four quarters and from there, it's a great launch point to teach and sharpen the blade a little more. The kids too a lot away tonight."
Red Wing (0-3) will spend the next two weeks on the road, against Mankato East in Week 4 and Rochester John Marshall in Week 5.