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 email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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A couple weeks ago, Kenyon-Wanamingo head coach Jen Nerison commented on her team's inability to get off to slow starts. Nerison said it was a problem, but that, just two matches into the season, it was an issue she hoped to correct. On Saturday, the Knights saw their 13-match winning streak come to an end in Wabasha against Caledonia. A slow start was not the problem. In the three-set final of the Wabasha-Kellogg Tournament, K-W's 9-1 lead in the final game evaporated.
LAKE CITY – For a football coach, getting a 21-point win and knowing that there were enough mistakes that it could have been much more lopsided is kind of a perfect game. The victory is in hand, and there is enough to teach over the next week in preparation for the next game.
As has been the case most of the season, Red Wing took some small steps toward its future on Thursday. But Mankato East is already there, and the Cougars showed it with a 6-1 win over the Wingers.
RANDOLPH – Austin Burlage stands behind the offense. The Randolph Rockets football team is going through Wednesday practice last week, running plays in preparation for Grand Meadow. Austin kneels. Austin stands. Austin shuffles behind his teammates. This makes taking a clear photo difficult, but idle is not Austin’s default gear. Austin Burlage has been blitzed by life. Like a high school JV line against the Minnesota Vikings defense, Austin never had a chance. But don’t tell that to Austin. Or his mom. Or his brother. Or his coach. Austin Buralge belongs.
GOODHUE – An emotional evening took a left turn on the first snap of the game. But the Goodhue Wildcats took the gut punch, and would eventually wear down Wabasha-Kellogg with some body blows of their own for a 27-13 Mid-Southeast East District victory on Friday night.
MAZEPPA – It's home gymnasium having been flooded, Zumbrota-Mazeppa welcomed Kenyon-Wanamingo to Z-M Elementary School on Thursday, and the result was about as expected. The Knights, the top-ranked team in Class 2A, doused the Cougars with a potent offense and a near impenetrable defense for a 3-0 (25-8, 25-13, 25-13) victory.
A lot of change have met the Red Wing football team this season, with new coaches, new players and a new scheme. But nothing has changed about its schedule, and that included a season-opening game against Big Southeast District rival Northfield at Russ “Cougar” Marshall Field. After 48 minutes, one thing is for certain: The Wingers have a lot of work to do.
ZUMBROTA – The Cougars of Zumbrota-Mazeppa won just two games in 2015, and of seven losses, one came to Cannon Falls in the first game of the season. On Thursday, the Cougars, unleashing an unknown air attack, sent a reeling Bombers team home, taking the first game of the season, 24-20.
GOODHUE – Serving is an exercise in risk and reward. Just popping the ball over the net requires little skill and allows the defense an easy opportunity to settle into its offense. Adding some spin or velocity, or both, naturally give a chance to pick up a point by ace. It can also cause a serve receive to go awry and scuttle an offense before it even gets started. But missing on those aggressive tactics can backfire. Goodhue's 11 ace serves on Tuesday were a good thing. But the nine service errors in the first set, and 18 total in the match, were decidedly not.
The Red Wing boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams are gearing up for the first meet of the season, going through two weeks of practice before heading to the Wabasha-Kellogg Invitational on Monday. Both teams are accustomed to winning, but 2016’s definition of success might mean different things for the teams. The girls, reigning Big Nine Conference and Section 1AA champions, are coming off a sixth-place finish at the Class 2A meet. The team is not returning whole, as All-State selection Kianna Stewart graduated to the college ranks to run for the University of South Dakota.