The Crusader football team met its match Friday night as Mayer Lutheran fell to Tri-City United in a 28-7 game at home.
The Titans were the Crusaders only loss of the 2012 regular season, and proved to be a tough competitor again in 2013 with large numbers and talent.
“We knew we would need to limit mistakes to stay with them,” LHS head coach Dean Aurich said. “Unfortunately, we made a few mistakes at TCU took advantage of them. They were very steady on D, O, and S. They have a good team.”
Tri-City got off to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter, thanks to a five-yard run and a 56-yard return of a blocked punt. The Titans scored another rushing touchdown in the second quarter, while shutting down LHS, for a 21-0 halftime lead.
Mayer Lutheran got a burst of luck in the third quarter when junior Taylor Otterstatter picked off a tipped pass for an interception and quickly carried it the 20-yards into the end zone for LHS’ sole touchdown of the game.
The Titans would score once more in the fourth quarter, a 33-yard interception return for the 28-7 win.
Mayer Lutheran struggled offensively against the Titans, rushing 115 yards. Senior quarterback Cole Buttenhoff was 9-25 for 86 yards. Buttenhoff also threw two interceptions.
Just three Crusader rushers carried the ball for LHS, including seniors Joel Burfeind (13 carries, 69 yards), Nathan Weber (13 carries, 43 yards), and Buttenhoff (5 carries, 3 yards).
Senior Anthony Gruenhagen caught six of Buttenhoff’s nine completed passes for 46 yards. Weber, Burfeind, and Otterstatter each had a reception as well.
On defense, tackle leaders included senior Mason Diedrick, Otterstatter, Weber, junior Andrew Wolf, and sophomore Sam Schlueter. Otterstatter had an interception and a sack on the Tri-City quarterback, while Schlueter recovered a fumble for LHS.
This week, the Crusaders head just south of Highway 5 to Norwood Young America. The Raiders of NYA Central are 0-3 this season after early season losses to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (32-20) and Tri-City United (42-0). The Raiders are coming off a 47-11 loss at Jordan last week.
Aurich said before the NYA game, the Crusaders need to get focused.
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