The first game of any football season can always be a bit unpredictable. The same was true for the Mayer Lutheran Crusaders last week, as they brought home their first win of the season, a 49-14 victory at Eden Valley-Watkins on Aug. 30.
According to Mayer Lutheran head coach Dean Aurich, Eden Valley-Watkins has been a strong state contender in recent years.
“They have a great program,” he said. “But they were thin in the senior class this year.”
The Crusaders played a strong first game and took advantage of the Eagles, applying great defensive pressure on the Eagles’ quarterback.
The Crusaders got the jump on the Eagles early in the game, scoring 14 points in the first quarter to lead 14-0. First on the board was a 75-yard reception by Tanner Luebke from quarterback Jeremiah Grimsley. Grimsley ran in the second touchdown.
Two more touchdowns in the second quarter, the first a 60-yard interception by Joel Burfeind, the second a 40-yard reception by Luebke, put the Crusaders up 28-0 before the Eagles would get on the scoreboard. It was 28-7 in favor of LHS at the half.
Eden Valley-Watkins scored first in the third quarter, on a 41-yard reception. The Crusaders responded with two touchdowns by Philip Burfeind, a 43-yard and 6-yard rush, respectively.
The Crusaders topped off the game with a 40-yard touchdown run by Jake Coyle in the fourth quarter for the 49-14 victory.
Receiving leaders included Luebke (115 yards, two touchdowns), Anthony Gruenhagen (17 yards), and Matt Huinker (6 yards).
Philip Burfeind led the Crusader rushers with 109 yards, two touchdowns, followed by Coyle (40 yards), and Nathan Weber (34 yards).
Grimsley completed five of nine passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. To compliment the seven LHS touchdowns, kicker Chad Anenson had seven successful field goal attempts.
The Crusaders had 362 total offensive yards, with 224 yards rushing, 138 passing, and 41 offensive plays.
On defense, Mason Diedrick (2) and Taylor Otterstatter (1) collected the Crusaders’ three sacks Three interceptions were snagged during the game by Luebke, Joel Burfeind, and Weber.
“Overall we played pretty well on both sides of the ball,” Aurich said. “We need to work on a few of our mistakes and continue to stay healthy.”
Starting running back senior Joel Burfeind only played one quarter and may be questionable for the Sibley East game this Friday, according to Aurich.
“We need to stay healthy with our thin numbers to be a contender each week,” he said.
Each week, the LHS coaching staff chooses a Lineman of the Week, because “games are won or lost in the trenches and a lot of times the hard work goes unnoticed,” Aurich said.
This week’s selection is junior Mason Diedrick, a six-foot-five, 200 pound, offensive tackle, who Aurich said “no only did he get off on the ball, he also stayed low and maintained good contact.”
The Crusaders will host the Wolverines of Sibley East this Friday, Sept. 7.