High School Football: KoMets repeat as Section 1AAAA champions
KASSON — Kasson-Mantorville's victory over Stewartville during the regular season proved to be no fluke. The KoMets prevailed once again on Friday and this time with much more on the line.
K-M (9-1) defended its Section One, Class AAAA title with a convincing 35-7 win over Stewartville (8-2) in the section football finals. The KoMets, ranked No. 9 in the state, were the top section seed and No. 10 Stewartville was the No. 2 seed.
"It feels great," K-M senior lineman Brandon Scott said. "I felt we controlled the ball and were just able to hold it. I'm proud of the guys."
Kasson-Mantorville had used its big and powerful line to control both sides of the line of scrimmage in a 22-0 win during the regular season. K-M used the same formula to win the rematch and earn a second straight state berth.
"Our defensive and offensive line won that game for us," K-M quarterback/safety Brady Berge said. "We knew they were tough, but we came out and worked hard and got the 'W.' "
Berge rushed for 127 yards and passed for another 128 yards and a touchdown to spark the KoMets. K-M scored on its first possession of the game and took a 14-0 lead at the half. The hosts then scored on the first drive of the third quarter, on Berge's 63-yard pass to Sam Rappe, to make the score 21-0.
K-M finished with 315 yards rushing and it had 443 total yards.
"It didn't matter (what we did), we tried to go light and big, but they opened holes up front," Stewartville coach Aaron Meyer said.
Quandt injured early
Stewartville figured K-M would put some points on the board. But the Tigers entered the game averaging more than 35 points and hoped they could outscore the KoMets. In the first meeting Stewartville's strong passing game was ineffective because of the rain.
On Friday, the Tigers were dealt another blow. Junior quarterback Aaron Quandt suffered a shoulder injury early in the game and was unable to throw effectively down field.
"They told me it was a grade one (shoulder) strain," Quandt said. "(It happened) right at the start of the game."
"They banged him up and he wasn't able to make his normal throws," Meyer said.
Quandt finished 9-for-16 for 58 yards. He didn't start the second half, but had to return after senior Alex Sperber injured his non-throwing arm on his first series of the third quarter.
"That was unfortunate, but they still battled us tough," first-year K-M coach Broc Threinen said of Quandt's injury.
"We knew they were going to mix it up," he added. "The (K-M) O- and D-lines are very smart and very seasoned."
Threinen gave credit to the team's defensive coaches: Jeff Benards, Joel Swanson and Matt Nelson.
The KoMets held Stewartville to 258 yards and 28 points below its season average. Cody Stanger did have a strong game at running back and linebacker. He rushed for 122 yards, including a 56-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
"Our defense did a great job," Berge said. "We held one of the best offenses in the state to seven points."
Two fumble recoveries
Scott recovered a pair of fumbles to set up touchdowns in the second half, each time he scooped the ball and ran about eight yards.
"It was unique, I'm not used to carrying the ball like that," Scott said.
Two K-M backs used to running the ball did turn in solid games. With No. 2 rusher Nic Bauer out with an injury, Tanner Dufault rushed for 115 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tanner Minette added 66 yards on 14 attempts and had three short TD runs.
"We tried to keep mixing it up and sneak in a pass or two," Threinen said.
K-M will now face Holy Angels in the state semifinals at 7 p.m. next Friday in Woodbury.
"Hopefully we can go up to Woodbury and take care of business and get to the Dome," Scott said, referring to reaching in state semifinals in the Metrodome. "We've been pursing that for a few years now."