Faribault Football Comes Up 75 Yards Short
The Faribault Falcons were down three scores wit 5:30 to go in the game at Mankato East Friday night and had the ball with :37 to with a chance to tie or win.
Our Tom's Lock and Key of Faribault Keys to the Game was defense. The Cougars came into the game not allowing a lot of offense by their opponents. No team had scored more than one touchdown against them (including Kasson-Mantorville) since week one in a 47-20 loss to Stewartville.
Mankato East won the toss and deferred so that defense could start the game but Faribault had a terrific kickoff return by Matthias Lenway and started at the 49 yard line of the Cougars. They marched down the field and scored on a two yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Hunter Nelson who went under center for the keeper.
Senior kicker Edwardo Solis hit the extra point with 9:55 to go in the first quarter it was 7-0 Faribault. The Falcons marched down the field primarily with receiver screens on that opening drive mixing in some running plays to keep the defense honest.
The Cougars started their first drive on their own 22 yard line and on their first carry senior Nathan Drumm burst up the middle for a big gain to about the 48 and fumbled the ball. Faribault recovered at the 50 yard line.
After a couple of Chappuis Jewelers of Faribault first downs they turned the ball over on downs at the 30 yard line.
Mankato East proceeded to march the ball down the field. With 2:32 to go in the quarter on a 3rd and 10 from the Falcons 15 yard line senior quarterback Jacob Eggert threw a touchdown pass to 6'7 receiver Puolrah Gong. The extra point kick was blocked so Faribault still lead 7-6.
The Falcons had another terrific kickoff return and started at their 40 yard line. They attempted a few more receiver screens but the Cougars stuffed them and they stiffened in the middle as well against Lenway runs. The first quarter score was Faribault 7 Mankato East 6.
It was Homecoming for Mankato East. Would Faribault spoil their big night?
The Falcons were stymied the rest of the half while the Cougars scored with 7:35 to go in the half on a 27 yard pass from Eggert to senior running back August Gartzke. They converted the two point conversion on a pass making the halftime score 14-7.
Mankato East received the second half kickoff after six people were inducted into their Hall of Fame and the Homecoming Royalty were introduced.
They started the first drive on their 42 yard line. Faribault had a chance to get the ball early but a defensive offsides penalty gave them a first down and two more penalties assisted in getting the ball down the field. A lot of the quarter was burned up on the drive. Gartzke scored on a one yard plunge into the end zone. Sophmore Carson Schweim kicked the extra point to make the score 21-7 Cougars.
Faribault would fumble the football on their first offensive series of the second half giving the ball to Mankato East at the 44 of the Cougars.
Eggert looked like he was going to be sacked by Elijah Hammonds but he ducked under Hammonds, rolled more to his right and just before he was hit hurled the football down the field. There were two Falcons on each side of the receiver. All leaped in the air to catch the ball and senior Joseph Uldrych came down with it and waltzed into the end zone for the 45 yard score with 9:33 to go in the game giving Mankato East a commanding 28-7 lead following the Schweim extra point kick.
The Cashwise Foods of Owatonna Delivery of the Game came with 5:33 to go in the game when the Falcons had four receivers stacked to the left and Johnny Frank by himself on the right.
Nelson looked left, then over the middle and threw the ball perfectly to Frank who got behind the defense and scored on the 26 yard pass play. The Solis extra point attempt was blocked making the score 28-13 in favor of the Homecoming minded Cougars.
The Falcons did try an onside kick but Mankato East recovered. Faribault got the ball back and scored with 1:31 to go on a Lenway 9 yard run. The two point pass from Nelson to Ian Ehlers was good making the score Cougars 28 Falcons 21.
They attempted another onside kick which East recovered. After Faribault used their last time out Mankato East had a 4th down and 2 at their 48 yard line and instead of going for it they elected to attempt to get Faribault to jump offside on a long count (Faribault did have a couple of those type penalties in the game) and ended up taking a delay of game penalty and punting to give Faribault the ball at the 25 yard line with :37 seconds to go.
The final statistics showed up as even as the score. Mankato East had 335 total yards, Faribault 300. The Falcons ran 66 plays to the Cougars 48.
Mankato East had 187 yards passing, Faribault 123. The rushing stats favored the Falcons 177 to 148.
Faribault finished the game with 21 first downs, Mankato East 19.
Hunter Nelson was 15 of 25 for 123 yards and a score. Eggert was 17 of 21 for 187 yards and 3 scores. He was intercepted once (by senior Isaac Mata).
Lenway carried the ball 23 times for 125 yards and a score. Nelson had 16 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown.
Gartzke led Mankato East's ground game with 92 yards on 14 carries. Drumm tallied 44 yards on 5 carries.
In the receiving department Faribault was led by Johnny Frank with 5 catches for 43 yards and a score. Mata had 5 catches for 35 yards, AJ Worrell 3 receptions for 26 yards.
The Cougars Gong had 5 catches for 33 yards, Brady Hoffner 3 receptions for 28, Alex Hennis 3 for 10 yards.
Our Malecha's Auto Body of Faribault Crunch Time Falcons of the game were Mata and junior linebacker Beau Schrot who led the team in tackles. Mata had 7, 6 solo. Schrot finished the game with 5 tackles, 4 solo.
Mankato East (6-1) plays crosstown rival Mankato West on Wednesday night at Minnesota State Mankato.
Faribault (4-3) finishes their regular season at Bruce Smith Field Wednesday night against Northfield. Coverage on POWER 96 Radio begins 6:45 p.m.
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