Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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A quick glance at Red Wing's gymnastics roster does a pretty good job explaining what kind of season this will be for the Wingers. There are nine eighth-graders, three freshmen and a handful of sophomores. And there are more seventh-graders (two) than there are juniors and seniors combined (zero).
It's the end of an era in Goodhue. Next fall, head football coach Tony Poncelet will open the season with a running back likely short on varsity experience at the position. And for the first time in a half-decade, the name that gets called over and over on the PA speaker won't be "Huemann." Well, probably not.
Overtime hockey is one of the best things about sports. A thrill-a-second battle to end the game with one shot. It doesn't have to be a pretty goal, all that matters is that the puck finds the net. Red Wing played three overtime games in last year's Section 1A playoffs. That the Wingers' season ended there, and not at the state tournament, is because Northfield scored 20 seconds into the second extra period. And with that Raider goal, the careers of Seth Cushing, Tyler DeFore and the rest of the Red Wing seniors came to an end.
For perhaps the first time in his long tenure, Scott Haley is going deep into his system in November. The Red Wing girls hockey coach has been blessed with high-end talent for much of his time guiding the Wingers, but that often came with a short bench. This season, Haley has a front-runner for Ms. Hockey, and a support group that will roll 11 others over the board that are more than capable of holding their own.
ROCHESTER — Goodhue has weapons on offense. Running back Mason Huemann may not hit a bunch of home runs, but rare is the carry where the senior loses yards. Quarterback Jack Gadient can run and throw, and when he airs it out, fellow senior Ryan Schoenfelder is as tough a matchup as there is in the area.
ROCHESTER — Hayley Dessner was going to be a problem, but Dave Lyons knew that. What the Red Wing volleyball coach did not know was that his team would struggle as bad as it did. In their Sub-section 1AA-East semifinal, the Wingers put together perhaps their most complete match of the season. But Thursday's final was anything but, and that resulted in a 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-15, 26-24) victory for Plainview-Elgin-Millville.
PINE ISLAND — The Section 1AAA tournament is as wide-open as it has been in years. That made Tuesday's game between fifth-seeded Zumbrota-Mazeppa and fourth-seeded Pine Island more intriguing than it may have been in past seasons. Top-seeded Rochester Lourdes, like every other team in the bracket, is flawed and beatable. This is not the year where the winner of the 4/5 game is sacrificial lamb. And neither the Cougars nor Panthers played like it.
There is never a good time to take a 16-yard loss. But the first play of the game is a particularly brutal moment. And when it results in taking the ensuing snap from the 1-yard line, that's just insult to injury. Red Wing ended up punting its opening possession, after a 5-yard run, a 5-yard penalty and a 2-yard run followed the botched snap to open the game. And it didn't get much better until late in the Wingers' 63-12 loss to Mankato West on Wednesday.
RUSHFORD — With just more than a minute to play in the first quarter, Friday's showdown between two of Class 1A's top teams, lightning forced a stoppage that lasted almost an hour. When top-ranked Rushford-Peterson and No. 4 Goodhue finally got back on the field, what transpired was not in the minds of anyone. Backed by 376 yards of rushing, and a defense that continues to dominate, the Wildcats stunned a soaked crowd with a 36-0 drubbing of the Trojans.
Rain greeted Lake City on Thursday, but there was no dampening the Tigers and their hopes for a deep run in the Section 1A tournament, both as a team and individually. A location change from a home meet to a neutral site in Red Wing ended with Lake City trouncing St. Croix Lutheran Academy, 7-0, in the first round of the Section 1A tournament. The rest of the team competition will be a tough task as No. 2-ranked Rochester Lourdes is the top seed. Lake City, ranked 10th, is the No. 2 seed, and Cannon Falls, the third seed, lost to the Tigers, 4-3, a couple weeks ago.