Knights Come Up Short In Epic Contest
GRAETTINGER – You’ve heard of the expression, “it was a yawner” or “it was a nail-biter”. But if you want to describe Graettinger/Terril’s game with defending State Champions Armstrong-Ringsted on Friday night, the best term would be “an epic battle.”
And a battle it was, as the Knights gave the Mustangs more than they wanted through three quarters before AR put the game away in the final frame with a 59-35 win over the Knights of Graettinger/Terril.
For an idea of how intense the contest was, consider that Graettinger/Terril held a 7-0 lead after the first quarter, holding AR scoreless in a quarter for the first time this season.
The Knights had to punt their first possession away, but Blaze Alesch would kill the Mustangs’ first possession with an interception. After the turnover, the two teams would trade punts once again, but after the Mustangs’ punt, Graettinger/Terril’s Trent Lundgren made a great return down to the Mustangs’ one-yard stripe.
Defense was the name of the game, though, as it took the Knights three plays to punch the ball in off a two-yard run by Lundgren with 2:34 on the clock. Mitch Girres sent the PAT kick through the uprights for a 7-0 Graettinger/Terril lead.
A/R would punt the ball back to the Knights, but an untimely fumble by G/T gave AR the ball back with great field position to end the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Armstrong-Ringsted would score off an 18-yard passing touchdown, and a conversion kick tied the score up at 7-7 with just :09 gone off the clock.
The defensive battle would continued through the second quarter, but near the mid-point of the quarter, Trent Lundgren fielded an A-R punt and with some fancy running and a huge block from teammate Blaze Alesch, Lundgren raced 59 yards to the end zone for a score.
The extra point kick appeared to be blocked, but the Mustangs were called for roughing the kicker, giving the Knights another shot. This time, Alesch kept the ball on a bootleg run to score the two-point conversion for the 15-7 lead.
Armstrong-Ringsted would respond, however, using another passing play of nearly 40 yards to score. A two-point conversion continued the chess match with a 15-15 draw with just over 6:00 to go in the half.
Coach Karlton Hector’s Knights were far from ready to concede anything.
On the ensuing kickoff, Trent Lundgren got to the 20-yard line, and a 15-yard penalty against the Mustangs put the Knights on the 35.
But AR stood firm, as the Knights almost stalled after a penalty backed them up. G-T drive looked ready to stall after a false start penalty made a long third down. But Tyler Dalen got behind the defense and pulled in a 39 yard shot from Alesch for a score. The conversion kick failed, giving Graettinger/Terril a 21-15 advantage with just over 3:00 to go in the half.
The Mustangs would answer, getting several nice runs until they faced fourth down and a couple of inches at the Knights’ five yard line. n and inches at the five-yard line. A quarterback sneak was kept out of the end zone, but gave the Mustangs a new set of downs that was quickly converted in to a score. The kick would make the score at 22-21 as the half ended.
The second half would start out as a virtual carbon copy of the first half, defensively. Armstrong-Ringsted would put together an opening drive to score, but the touchdown was called back for a holding penalty, forcing the Mustangs to settle for a 39-yard field goal and 25-21 lead.
With just over 4:00 to go in the quarter, the Knights took over, only to have an Alesch pass intercepted and returned for a score and the 32-21 lead as the Mustangs appeared to be taking control of the game.
But Graettinger/Terril came back with a couple big passes from Alesch to Colin Leiting that resulted in a 20-yard touchdown. Lundgren added the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to a 32-29 tally.
Armstrong-Ringsted would get a big 43-yard run on their resulting possession for a 39-29 lead as the chess match continued.
But the Knights simply went back to work and got some help from an AR penalty. After the walkoff, the Knights would score off a seven-yard run by Lundgren with :10 to go in the quarter to make the score 39-35 as the quarter ended.
The final frame started out with AR getting a quick score off a 57-yard run for a 46-35 lead, but Graettinger/Terril would drive down to the two yard line.
With first and goal at the two, the Knights were turned away three times, and on fourth down, Alesch tried to pass, only to have the ball picked off.
The Mustangs would take the turnover and turned it into a touchdown with just under 5:00 to go to take a 52-35 lead over the Knights.
The Knights tried to engineer a quick strike, but another interception by the Mustang defense would lead to a final touchdown with just under 3:00 to go for the 59-35 final tally.
For Graettinger/Terril, Alesch finished the night 14-of-23 passing for 210 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Leiting caught six passes for 115 yards while Lundgren had six catches for 51 yards and Dalen had two catches for 44 yards.
The Knights were held to 111 yards rushing on 35 carries. Alesch had 73 yards on 15 carries and Lundgren had 10 yards on 13 carries.
A-R finished with 333 yards rushing on 42 carries. Feddersen was 4-of-17 passing for 81 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Unofficially, Braddock had 127 yards on 11 carries while Feddersen had 127 yards on 20 carries. Odermann had 80 yards on 11 carries. Hagebock had two catches for 57 yards.
The Knights’ defense was led by Tym Hart with 12 tackles while Alesch had seven and Lundgren and Ethan Peterson each had six.
A-R (6-0 overall, 3-0 in district play) is home against H-LP.
G-T (2-3 overall, 2-1 in district play) is on the road against West Bend-Mallard.