No. 5 Bulldogs surprise No. 4 Crusaders in football

Sophomore Sam Schlueter (70) and senior Joel Burfeind (20) take down the ball carrier during the Crusaders’ Section 4A playoff game last week.
Sophomore Sam Schlueter (70) and senior Joel Burfeind (20) take down the ball carrier during the Crusaders’ Section 4A playoff game last week.

In a close upset on Oct. 22, the Mayer Lutheran football team’s hopes of a return trip to the state tournament were dashed. Moving down to Class A this season, the No. 4 Crusaders were upset in a tight 30-29 game by the No. 5 Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Bulldogs last week.

“This was a game of two evenly matched teams,” Mayer Lutheran head coach Dean Aurich said. “They have a very good QB and we knew we needed to stop him.”

The Crusaders started things right by leading 7-0 after the first quarter thanks to a one-yard run by senior Nathan Weber. The Bulldogs tied it up in the second for a 7-7 halftime score.

Senior Joel Burfeind ran the ball 33 yards for the Crusaders second touchdown in the third quarter, to which the Bulldogs responded with a touchdown of their own, but missed their extra kick to trail LHS 14-13 after three quarters.

Lester Prairie took the lead in the fourth with a 21-yard field goal. Mayer Lutheran took the lead back with a 10-yard pass from senior Cole Buttenhoff to senior Anthony Gruenhagen. The Crusaders’ extra point was blocked and Lester Prairie scored another touchdown to take a three-point lead.

To end regulation, senior Chad Anenson completed a 20-yard field goal to tie the game at 23-23.

In overtime, the Crusaders scored first on a 10-yard rush by senior Joel Burfeind. The extra point was again blocked, and the Crusaders led 29-23. But Lester Prairie wasn’t finished, as the Bulldogs scored a touchdown and made the extra point to take the game 30-29 and end the Crusaders’ season.

“Unfortunately, we made a few more mistakes and they capitalized on them,” Aurich said. “They blocked two of our extra points and earned the win.”

At quarterback, Buttenhoff completed 12 of 25 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw four interceptions. Gruenhagen and Burfeind each had four receptions for 60 and 51 yards, respectively. Anenson and junior Taylor Otterstatter each had two receptions as well.

Burfeind led the Crusader rushing staff with 160 yards on 23 carries for two touchdowns. Weber had five carries for 12 yards and one touchdown, while Buttenhoff took the ball himself six times for 24 yards.

Mayer Lutheran totaled 329 offensive yards (196 rushing, 133 passing) on 59 plays.

On defense, Buttenhoff, Otterstatter, and Weber led in tackles, while senior Matt Huinker grabbed an interception. Buttenhoff recovered a fumble and also sacked the Lester Prairie quarterback. Senior Mason Diedrick also logged a sack.

The Crusaders finished the regular season 5-4. Look for a full season wrap up in the coming weeks.


Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]