Crusaders shut down NYA 33-0

Junior receiver Anthony Gruenhagen fights for yardage after a catch on Sept. 28.
Junior receiver Anthony Gruenhagen fights for yardage after a catch on Sept. 28.

It’s hard to ask for anything better than a homecoming win, but the Crusaders may have topped that Sept. 28, with a 33-0 homecoming shutout against neighboring rival Norwood Young America.

“We played very well on our homecoming,” Mayer Lutheran head coach Dean Aurich said. “You never know what to expect with so much happening during the week.”

Mayer Lutheran put up 10 points in the first quarter on a five-yard touchdown rush by senior Phil Burfeind, complimented by a 30-yard field goal from junior Chad Anenson. Burfeind scored again in the second quarter, this time a two-yard rush. After picking off an interception, junior Joel Burfeind returned the ball 36 yards for the Crusaders’ third touchdown. Anenson wrapped up the half with a 20-yard field goal, giving the Crusaders a 26-0 halftime gap.

Phil Burfeind had another short run for a touchdown in the third quarter, for one-yard, to put Mayer Lutheran ahead 33-0. The Raiders’ defense rallied in the fourth to shut down the Crusaders.

Aurich said the two teams have played great games over the years, and this time was no different.

“NYA and Mayer L[utheran] always have good games. NYA beat us last year, this year it was our turn,” he said.

Phil Burfeind led the Crusader rushers with 106 yards on 18 carries for three touchdowns. Joel Burfeind rushed 45 yards on eight carries. Also rushing for the Crusaders was sophomore Andrew Wolf (25 yards), senior Jeremiah Grimsley (18), and junior Nathan Weber (13).

At quarterback, Grimsley completed eight of 18 pass attempts for 110 yards. Junior Cole Buttenhoff was 1-1 for 18 yards, while freshman Jack Chimielewski also tried his hand at QB, attempting one pass. Anenson was three for four extra point attempts and was also 2-3 in field goals.

Top receivers included junior Anthony Gruenhagen (62 yards), senior Tanner Luebke (31), junior Brandon Wroge (18), and sophomore Taylor Otterstatter (17). The Crusaders tallied 338 total offensive yards (210 rushing, 128 passing).

On defense, tackle leaders included Grimsley (11), Otterstatter (7), and Buttenhoff (7). Joel Burfeind picked off the interception and also had a fumble recovery, while Gruenhagen sacked the Raiders’ quarterback.

Sitting second in the Minnesota River Conference with a 3-1 record, the Crusaders are tied with Sibley East and No. 7 (3A) Watertown-Mayer, both of whom are also 3-1. No. 10 (3A) Tri-City United tops the MRC with a 4-0 record.

The Crusaders will play at Belle Plaine this Friday, Oct. 5. The Tigers are 1-4 this season, after losing a close 13-12 game at Jordan last week.

Last week, the Mayer Lutheran football and volleyball teams helped to raise money for the Tackle Cancer Project, sponsored by Randy Shaver and KARE 11. The Crusaders, their families, friends, and coaches raised $515 towards the effort.

“Thank you to all for the generous donations,” Aurich said.