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'Day at a time' Stewartville dismantles rival Byron

Senior running back Owen Sikkink ran up 221 total yards and three touchdowns for Stewartville in a comfortable win against rival Byron, in a rematch of a 2021 Section 1AAAA playoff thriller.

Stewartville vs. Byron Football
Stewartville's Owen Sikkink (3) carries the ball as Byron's Luke Scheuer (11) closes in during a football game Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Stewartville. Stewartville beat Byron 44-0.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
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STEWARTVILLE — Garrett Mueller knows it’s a cliché.

His undefeated Stewartville High School football team throttled rival Byron on Friday at Schaefer Field. Senior running back Owen Sikkink ran up 221 total yards and three touchdowns for the 4-0 Tigers, who waltzed to a comfortable 44-0 victory against the Bears.

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“As soon as you start thinking you’re pretty good, you’re gonna get knocked down real quick,” Mueller said. “So it’s just about getting back to work on Monday and just continuing to find ways to get better, because we’re going to have a lot of tests before this year is over. We just want to make sure we’re prepared and ready for it.

“It’s cliched, but for us, it’s one day at a time, one week at a time.”

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Friday was a particularly good day for the suddenly surging Tigers.

They started fast. Junior quarterback Ayden Helder capped an eight-play scoring drive with a fourth-and-13 conversion, finding a wide open classmate in wide receiver Henry Tschetter, who then galloped into the end zone, untouched, for a 35-yard touchdown.

Stewartville vs. Byron Football
Byron's Adam Glynn (17) is brought down by Stewartville Peyton Byrne (72) and Isaac Larson (14) during a football game Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Stewartville. Stewartville beat Byron 44-0.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

On their next drive, Sikkink housed a sweep for 51 yards.

On their next drive, Sikkink turned a short field — set up by a lengthy punt return from Stewartville junior Carter Miller — into another rushing touchdown, this time from 10 yards out to make it a 21-0 game after 12 minutes.

Stewartville was efficiency personified in the first quarter.

“You just can’t let teams get up 21-0 like that,” Byron coach Ben Halder said. “They’re obviously really good. They’re well coached, so credit to them. We have things to clean up, but our kids will respond quick and go get ready for next week. That’s the beauty of sports, right? Usually there’s another one next week, so our kids will be grateful for that opportunity.

“We have to move on and get ready for Mankato East. That’s the deal.”

The Bears’ first two offensive possessions both ended with a three-and-out and a punt, but their third brought them as close as they’d get to the Stewartville end zone.

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Following Sikkink’s second touchdown run, Byron’s offense then consumed the next 8 minutes, 38 seconds of the game with a lengthy 16-play drive extended by two third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion. In the end, the Bears’ best effort ended with an end-zone interception by Stewartville sophomore Parker Wangen.

From that point on, the Bears’ offense possessed the ball five more times. Two ended in punts. Two ended in turnovers on down. Their final possession ended with a turnover just outside the Stewartville red zone with time dwindling in the fourth quarter.

“It’s nobody’s fault. It’s my fault, if it’s anybody’s fault. For whatever reason we weren’t prepared to play as well as we’re capable of,” Halder said. “So we’ll go back and re-evaluate. We’ll bounce back. We’ll be all right. We have excellent leadership in our program, and we’ve got a good football team.”

“I told the guys in the huddle here after we’re done, I’m so proud of the way they prepared this week and then came out and executed the game plan to a ‘T,’” Mueller said. “We just played with a ton of energy, and it was awesome to watch.”

Stewartville vs. Byron Football
Byron's Adam Glynn (17) is brought down by Stewartville's Drew Anderson (64) during a football game Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Stewartville. Stewartville beat Byron 44-0.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

The Tigers’ intensity never relented in the second half, as all three of their offensive possessions resulted in touchdowns.

The final two of those possessions were particularly notable.

Enter senior running back Braden Nelson.

With Stewartville leading 30-0 late in the third quarter, Nelson handled both of the Tigers’ next two plays, turning two carries into a combined 43 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown. Two plays, two Nelson carries, touchdown.

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Six minutes later, after a Byron turnover on downs, Nelson dominated yet another two-play scoring drive, this time saving his longest gain for the end zone to cap a 54-yard drive, punctuated by a punishing 48-yard TD as the camouflage-laden student section showered him with chants of “MVP!”

Top to bottom, it was a dominant performance by the Tigers, who host Red Wing (1-3) this Friday

“Defensively, number one, to come up with a shutout and to slow down an offense like that with a lot of dangerous weapons. They’re quarterback and running back are outstanding players. That’s huge,” Mueller said. “And then offensively, to be as explosive as we were tonight, to score quickly, was really, really important as well to get that momentum early in the first quarter. And then special teams did a great job, too. We really emphasize all three phases, and I thought all three phases played great tonight.”

NOTES: Junior running back Adam Glynn was Byron’s top producer on offense, racking up a tough 91 yards on a game-high 23 carries. … After Stewartville’s 21-point outburst in the first quarter, the second period was otherwise uneventful in terms of scoring. The only points registered came via sophomore Parker Wangen, who booted a 25-yard field goal as time expired. Wangen also finished 5-of-6 on point-after tries. … Wangen’s field goal was set up by a half-back pass. With less than a minute to play before the break, Sikkink faked an outside rush attempt in favor of a deep pass to Miller, who reeled in a 41-yard reception to put Stewartville on the Byron 8-yard line.

STEWARTVILLE 44, BYRON 0

BYR 0-0-0-0 — 0

STEW 21-3-13-7 — 44

First quarter

S — Henry Tschetter 35 pass from Ayden Helder (Parker Wangen kick), 8:44.

S — Owen Sikkink 51 run (Wangen kick), 6:17.

S — Sikkink 9 run (Wangen kick), 4:19.

Second quarter

S — Wangen 25 field goal, 0:00.

Third quarter

S — Sikkink 3 run (kick failed), 5:15.

S — Braden Nelson 13 run (Wangen kick), 2:51.

Fourth quarter

S — Nelson 47 run (Wangen kick), 6:35.

TEAM STATISTICS

BYR — STEW

First downs 12 — 19

Total net yards 185 — 461

Rushes-yards 39-165 — 22-287

Passing yards 20 — 174

Comp.-att.-int. 4-13-1 — 10-15-0

Fumbles-lost 0-0 — 1-1

Penalties-yds. 1-5 — 6-60

Punts-avg. 4-22.3 — 0-0

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Byron — Adam Glynn 23-91, Luke Scheuer 4-51, Kale Robinson 8-14, Riley Vicker 4-9; Stewartville — Sikkink 12-170, Nelson 6-115, Tschetter 1-9, Team 1-0, Helder 2-minus 7.

PASSING: Byron — Robinson 4-13-1-20; Stewartville — Helder 9-13-0-133, Sikkink 1-1-0-41, Team 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING: Byron — Dominic Cartney 2-11, Matthew Frigaard 1-9, Nicholas Netzke 1-0; Stewartville — Carter Miller 2-52, Sikkink 4-51, Tschetter 1-35, Tegan Malone 2-27, Wangen 1-9.

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