The Lions will be kicking themselves as they had an opportunity to really put the pressure on Southeast of Saline at the end of the third quarter.
Instead, it was the SES defense turning back the opportunistic Minneapolis offense and the Trojans never looked back on their way to a 32-16 win over Minneapolis.
The game started out slow as the lone score in the first quarter came from SES’ Chase Poague. The junior Slot Back scampered for 19 yards and a touchdown. After the 2-point conversion, SES led 8-0.
That was the score to start the second stanza when Minneapolis’ defense came up big by forcing Southeast to a 3-and-out on the Trojan goal line. Minneapolis then made SES pay as Daniel Watson sprinted through the line and blocked an Eli Harris punt out of the back of the end zone.
At the 9:35 mark in the second quarter, it was 8-2.
Minneapolis then took the next possession and drove down field. The Lions ended the drive with a 22-year touchdown run by Watson to tie the game at 8-8, midway through the second.
SES answered back in lightning-quick fashion. The ensuing kickoff was raced back 70 yards by Michael Murray. SES then tacked on another two and the Trojans led 16-8, still in the second quarter.
Minneapolis had another answer, however, Led by big plays by Watson at running back and Spencer Davidson at tight end, the Lions marched down the field and scored their second touchdown off of a three yard run by Trent Moeckel. They then tacked on a two-point conversion, and the game was tied 16-16 at halftime.
The third quarter was just as wild as the second. Southeast took the opening drive down to the Minneapolis two yard line. However, the drive stalled after the Lions turned away the Trojans on a goal-line stand. Minneapolis got the ball back in the shadows of its own goal post.
That’s when the Lions exploded on offense.
Facing a 3-and-11 play from its own one yard line, Moeckel would make one of the biggest plays of the night, as the quarterback scrambled for 20 yards and a first down. Southeast of Saline also committed a personal foul penalty–one of 14 total penalties on the night by SES–and that tacked on another 15 yards.
Minneapolis continued to drive the ball downfield and eat up clock until they got inside of the five yard line. The Lions had a penalty and three-straight incompletions, before attempting a 27-yard field goal in the waning moments of the third quarter. SES blocked the kick and that was the final time that the Lions truly threatened.
Trojan QB, Jaxson Gebhardt tacked on two touchdown runs to put Southeast of Saline over the top. The Trojans also went 4/4 on 2-point conversion attempts in the game on their way to a season-opening victory.
Southeast of Saline (1-0, 1-0 NCAA) has now won four straight over Minneapolis. SES goes to “Trojan War” next week by hosting Beloit.
Minneapolis (0-1, 0-1 NCAA) is led by a three seniors in the game. Moeckel went 14-25 passing for 204 yards, with a rushing touchdown. Meanwhile, Watson had 103 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown, and Davidson finished with seven catches for 98 yards.
Next, Minneapolis travels to Riley County. The game can be heard on Salina radio station, 92.7 The New Zoo with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The H&R “Block of the Game” goes to Weston Shrader of Minneapolis. The junior backup full back had some big blocks to spark Minneapolis big plays on the perimeter. Meanwhile, the Nex-Tech Wireless “Player of the Game” is Minneapolis’ Jonathan Lowe. The junior finished with six catches for 93 yards.
*Photos by Tanner Colvin*