September 28, 2022 at 5:21 p.m.
Team notches impressive 32-6 win over Royalton
The Sauk Centre football team made a huge defensive stop right before half and then fed off that tide turning play with four unanswered second half touchdowns in and impressive 32-6 win over Royalton Sept. 24 in Sauk Centre.
“I was just happy for the guys, how they played and approached the game,” head coach Charlie Warring said. “They earned it; they played a good team and to the level we are capable of. It was fun to see the kids rise up to the challenge and earn a victory.”
The loss was the first suffered this season by (3-1) Royalton. Sauk Centre improves to 2-2.
“We had so many guys that played well,” Warring said. “That’s what you have to do, if you are going to win a game. You have to have 11 guys on the field making plays, playing well and winning is rewarding but as a coaching staff we talk about the most rewarding part was the way the kids responded after a tough loss.”
Sauk Centre was clinging to a 7-6 lead late in the second quarter when Royalton had fourth and goal from the Streeter 5-yard line. The Royals tried a halfback pass but it was swatted away by Sauk Centre defensive end Corey McCoy.
“Our defense came up with a huge stop before half,” linebacker/running back Eli Fletcher said. “The momentum shifted our way.”
The Streeters got the ball first to start the second half, and wasted no time taking charge. Matthew Warring hooked up with Jay Neubert for a 14 and 24-yard pass plays setting up Fletcher who ran over a Royal defender and then into the endzone from 8-yards out. Neubert then booted the extra point.
“We made a few adjustments on how we ran some plays to give us some more blocking at the point of attack,” Warring said. “Our line was getting on their blocks and the backs were running hard and receivers were making the catches. It was a good mix of things.”
The touchdown run started a domino effect of big plays for Sauk Centre.
On the Royals ensuing drive they fumbled the ball and Matthew Warring recovered. Then Warring tossed up a pass in the corner of the endzone that wide receiver Hunter Danielson and the defender both tipped before Danielson secured for a remarkable touchdown catch.
Sauk Centre then stuffed the Royals on three straight plays to get the ball back. Fletcher and the Streeters took advantage. He had carries of 16 and 10-yards before strolling in from 3-yards to increase the lead to 26-6.
The game was sealed early in the fourth quarter when junior defensive tackle Ethan Riley picked off a Royal’s pass and with a convoy of teammates running with him scooted 85-yards for a touchdown. The play erupted a huge celebration on the sidelines and in the stands for the Sauk Centre faithful.
“I was happy for a kid that has worked his tail off,” Warring said. “It’s rewarding to see a lineman score a touchdown. There were so many big plays; so many guys played well.”
The defensive effort Sauk Centre put forth throughout the game was outstanding. Gang tackling and toughness was exuded throughout the game as they allowed just 191-yards rushing and 54-yards passing.
“It took a team effort,” Matthew Warring said. “All 11 guys stepped up and made big plays when we needed.”
Paynesville had 13 first downs, but many of those came on their 80-yard opening drive for their lone touchdown of the game. Sauk Centre answered on their first drive when Matthew Warring scored from 1-yard out early in the second quarter.
“We were mixing things up and bringing a lot of pressure and tried to blow things up at the point of attack,” Charlie Warring said. “We were winning a lot of 1-1 battles particularly in the line and our linebackers were just flying around. Eleven guys doing their assignment.”
Sauk Centre totaled 168-yards rushing and 97-yards passing.
“All year we preach put the negative behind you, learn from it and get better,” Charlie Warring said. “The way they played with energy and attitude; they were out there having fun. That’s a credit to them and to the leadership on the team. It felt amazing, not only giving Royalton their first loss of the season but also getting back in the win category and playing some really good football.”
The Streeters, who are at the midway point of the regular season, travel to Holdingford Sept. 30.
“They are big and physical and like to run a lot of three-back and two tight ends and play physical with you,” Charlie Warring said.
Fletcher, who finished with 105-yards rushing added, “Our goal is to keep building and playing this well the rest of the season. Our team could win out and get a 1 or 2 seed if we keep playing like we can.”
R 6 0 0 0--6
SC 0 7 13 12--32
(R) 6-yard touchdown run (2 pt. conversion failed)
(SC) Warring 1-yard run (Neubert kick)
(SC) Fletcher 8-yard run (Neubert kick)
(SC) Danielson 22-yard touchdown reception from Warring (2 pt. conversion failed)
(SC) Fletcher 3-yard touchdown run (extra point failed)
(SC) Riley 85-yard interception return (extra point failed)
Individual stats: Passing, Warring 8-10-97 TD; rushing, Fletcher 23-105, Warring 10-28; Receiving, Neubert 2-38, Danielson 3-38, Nathan Lahr 1-5, Fletcher 2-16. Fumble recovery, Warring; Int. Riley.