PREP FOOTBALL: A strong start
Lakeview takes down RTR 24-14 to begin season
TYLER – There’s nothing much more exciting than walking onto the gridiron underneath the lights on Friday night in front of a strong crowd. Many teams in Minnesota, including the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights and the Lakeview Lakers, got to finally have that experience again when the season officially kicked off this weekend.
On a gorgeous night at RTR High School, the Lakers were able to race out to an 18-0 halftime advantage before seeing the Knights rally back to make it a tight ballgame heading into the final quarter. In the end, Lakeview was able to prevail and start its season on the right foot with a 24-14 victory over RTR.
The Lakers took the opening drive deep into RTR territory, moving the ball all the way down to the Knights’ 6-yard line. But the Knights defense would stay strong, however, forcing a fourth-and-2 from their own 8-yard line before getting a stop to turn the Lakers offense over on downs.
The Knights then moved the ball close to midfield, but were forced into a fourth-and-short situation of their own on their own 41 before turning it over on downs to give the ball back to the Lakers. RTR’s offense didn’t have much momentum after that, as it went three-and-out on every possession for the remainder of the opening half.
Lakeview, meanwhile, would take advantage of the field position, driving all the way down to the RTR 4-yard line. On third-and-four, Lakers quarterback Owen Louwagie found wideout Jackson Klocow in the end zone for the score to give Lakeview a 6-0 lead with 1:37 left in the first quarter after the missed extra point.
Both teams traded empty possessions to start the second quarter, before Lakeview got the ball for the second time. The Lakers wasted very little time on offense, as Louwagie broke free for a 47-yard run to push Lakeview’s lead to 12-0 after the failed extra point attempt with 7:14 left in the half. After RTR punted, Louwagie again struck quickly, this time floating a deep ball to Klocow, who took care of the rest for a 75-yard score to make it 18-0 with 2:51 left in the half after the extra point was blocked. Neither side could find much offense the rest of the frame, as Lakeview held on to its shutout going into the locker rooms.
In need of a spark, the Knights came out firing on all cylinders to start the second half, as RTR moved the ball down to the Lakers’ 8-yard line. Jonah Christensen then got the Knights on the board with a short touchdown run to cut the deficit to 18-6 with 4:48 left in the third quarter after the missed extra point.
After RTR’s offense got things started, its defense continued to push the momentum in the Knights direction, with RTR forcing a Lakeview fumble and recovering it on its own 37-yard line with 1:44 left in the frame. Looking to capitalize on the key play, RTR found itself with a fourth-and-15 from its own 47. Aiden Wichmann dropped back and fired a deep pass that found the hands of Christensen to set up a huge first down and keep the drive alive for the Knights. A few plays later, Wichmann connected with Tucker Haroldson in the end zone as the final horn sounded to give RTR a touchdown. The Knights then got the two-point conversion to go to make it a four-point game at 18-14 going into the fourth and brought some necessary energy back to its sideline.
Looking to answer, Lakeview was able to drive down to the RTR 21 on the ensuing possession, but the Knights came up with another key defensive play, this time an interception on a jump ball that was caught by the Lakeview wide receiver and pair of RTR defenders simultaneously. Trailing by four with 8:24 left, the Knights got as far as their own 38 but couldn’t move any further and turned it over on downs.
With time winding down, Lakeview continued to run the ball to keep the clock moving. Then with 3:09 remaining, Clayton Kosel was able to break free for a 23-yard run to the end zone and give the Lakers a 24-14 lead, which ultimately sealed the victory for Lakeview.
No individual stats were available at press time.
Lakeview (1-0) will face Lac qui Parle Valley next Friday at 7 p.m. while RTR (0-1) will face MACCRAY next Friday at 7 p.m.