Football | Z-M holds off St. Charles

October 8, 2017 GMT

ST. CHARLES — St. Charles grabbed a 12-0 lead over Zumbrota-Mazeppa on Friday, but the Cougars bounced back to claim an exciting 22-20 victory in a Southeast District, White Sub-District matchup.

Both teams struggled early on offense, with Z-M going three-and-out on its first two possessions and St. Charles doing little better. But the Saints finally got rolling with a 7-play, 40-yard drive capped by Parker Wendt’s 1-yard touchdown run. The conversion failed.

On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Z-M quarterback Isaiah Nolte was intercepted by Mark Buringa, who returned it to the Cougar’s 19-yard line. Five plays later, St. Charles hit paydirt again, with Sam Holtz covering the final six yards. Again, the conversion failed, so the Saints led 12-0.

But then the Cougars woke up. Running back Jacob Bennett carried three times for 69 yards, and Caden Steffen then dashed in for a 2-yard touchdown. The conversion failed.

The Saints went 3-and-out, and after a short punt and a penalty gave the Cougars great field position, they wasted no time, covering 26 yards in two plays, with Steffen again plunging in, this time from two yards out. Bennett ran in the 2-point conversion, and Z-M led 14-12.

The Cougars stretched that lead to 22-12 in the third quarter when Steffen dashed in from 10 yards out for his third TD of the night.

The Saints fought back, with quarterback Nathan Boice hitting Keagan Maloney for a 25-yard touchdown with just over four minutes to play. The two-point conversion made the score 22-20.

The Saints attempted an onside kick, but Z-M’s Jacob Niebuhr recovered it. The Cougars went 3-and-out, and punter Tyler Grudem got off a beautiful boot that pinned St. Charles back on its 1-yard line with less than 2 minutes to play.

The Saints managed one first down before an interception ended the drive, with Z-M then taking a knee as the clock ran out.

Z-M outgained St. Charles 237-222. Leading the Cougars rushing attack was Bennett, with 19 carries for 132 yards. Steffen finished with 14 carries for 43 yards.

St. Charles was led by Wendt, who gained 101 yards on 26 carries. Quarterback Nolan Boice completed four of 8 passes for 74 yards with 1 TD and one interception.

St. Charles (3-3) is at Chatfield next week, while Z-M (2-4) hosts Dover-Eyota.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa 22, St. Charles 20


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