Despite temperatures dipping into the 30s on Oct. 12, football teams across the state powered on, including the Mayer Lutheran Crusaders. Mayer Lutheran traveled to Belle Plaine to bring home a 36-6 victory to make the Crusaders 5-1 this season.
The Crusaders dominated the scoreboard, posting points in each quarter, beginning in the first with a 18-yard pass from senior Jeremiah Grimsley to junior Cole Buttenhoff. In the second quarter, Mayer Lutheran junior Joel Burfeind scored a 21-yard touchdown run. Later in the quarter, senior Phil Burfeind rushed two yards to put the Crusaders’ up 21-0 at the half.
In the third, the Mayer Lutheran defense trapped the Tigers on their own goal line. Senior Neal Kroells and junior Nathan Weber took down the Belle Plaine quarterback in the end zone for the Crusaders’ third safety of the season. Phil Burfeind scored a six-yard running touchdown later in the third and the Crusaders’ had a large 30-0 lead after three quarters.
Junior Chad Anenson had two field goals in the fourth quarter, the first a 30-yarder, the second from 25 yards out. The LHS field goals were spliced by a Belle Plaine touchdown. Tiger senior Nick Eliason had an 87-yard kickoff return to put Belle Plaine on the scoreboard. The Crusaders would easily win it 36-6.
Head coach Dean Aurich said he is pleased with both the Mayer Lutheran offense and defense this season. The defense made a name for itself against Belle Plaine, collecting two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, and a handful of sacks. Joel Burfeind snagged both interceptions for the Crusaders, while Weber, Matt Huinker, and Sam Schlueter each recovered a fumble. Tackle leaders included Grimsley (8), Buttenhoff (7), Phil Burfeind (6), Joel Burfeind (6), and Weber (5).
The Crusader offense scored four touchdowns on 60 offensive plays. They tallied 286 offensive yards, 170 rushing and 116 passing. At quarterback, Grimsley completed six of 14 pass attempts for 101 yards and one touchdown. Buttenhoff completed one of two passes for 15 yards. Senior Tanner Luebke caught two passes for 41 yards. Other receivers included senior Anthony Gruenhagen (23 yards), Buttenhoff (19 yards, one TD), Joel Burfeind (18), and sophomore Taylor Otterstatter (15). Rushing leaders for Mayer Lutheran included Phil Burfeind (89 yards), Joel Burfeind (49), and Weber (20).
LHS is now stuck in a four-way tie for the top of the MRC at 4-1, along with Sibley East, Mayer Lutheran, Tri-City United, and Watertown-Mayer. At least one team will drop from the tie this week as Tri-City United and Watertown-Mayer face off.