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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All season, Red Wing has faced fastball pitchers. On Tuesday, the Wingers ran into changeup after change up, with the occasional curveball thrown in for good measure. No, the girls were not playing softball, but the all-off speed approach from Albert Lea was about as different as a volleyball and a bat, and it resulted in a 3-2 (25-22, 20-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-11) Big Nine Conference victory.
The bleachers were packed, the band was playing, the sirens were blaring and Red Wing was raring to go for its homecoming game Friday night at Russ “Cougar” Marshall field. Hosting Big Southeast Blue District rival Winona, the Wingers came into the game having lost their first three games of the season, while the Winhawks were undefeated.
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.