With less than two minutes to go in the fourth quarter on Sept. 27, the Mayer Lutheran football team led Belle Plaine 31-28. But the Tigers wouldn’t go quietly, marching down the field to score with 15 seconds remaining.
“A fourth down play with a penalty on a tipped pass looked like we had won the game,” LHS head coach Dean Aurich said, “but the penalty kept their drive alive for BP. Both teams played hard and made some very big plays.”
The Crusaders would lose 35-31, dropping to 3-2 overall, 2-2 in the Minnesota River Conference.
Mayer Lutheran scored first on Sept. 27, when senior quarterback Cole Buttenhoff connected with senior Anthony Gruenhagen for an 85-yard touchdown pass. Buttenhoff would also complete a 50-yard pass to Gruenhagen later in the quarter, and the two teams were tied 14-14 after the first.
In the second quarter, Buttenhoff found senior Joel Burfeind on an 11-yard touchdown pass for a 21-14 halftime lead.
Belle Plaine put up 14 points in the third quarter, unanswered by LHS until the fourth when Buttenhoff completed a 2-yard pass to junior Taylor Otterstatter. Senior Chad Anenson, who finished the night 4-4 in extra points, executed a 31-yard field goal to take that 31-28 lead near the end of the game.
At quarterback, Buttenhoff completed nine of 17 passes for 226 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions. Gruenhagen was on the receiving end six times for Buttenhoff, totaling 204 yards and two touchdowns. Burfeind, Otterstatter, and senior Nathan Weber each had a catch as well. Burfeind led the LHS rushing line with 120 yards on 22 carries. Weber totaled 63 yards on 11 carries, and Buttenhoff took the ball himself 12 times for 42 yards.
On defense, senior Brandon Wroge snagged an interception as well as a sack on Belle Plaine’s quarterback. Otterstatter, Buttenhoff, Burfeind, Weber, and senior Mitch Krause hauled down most of the team’s tackles.
This week, the Crusaders will travel to Jordan, to face the 4-1 Hubmen. The Hubmen are coming off a 35-12 win over LeSueur-Henderson last week. Aurich said Jordan will pose much of the same challenges as Belle Plaine.
“Hopefully we can refocus and keep improving so we play our best ball at the end of the season,” he said.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com