Knights drop opener to perennial football power


CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE William Jahn moves the ball for Kingsland in the season opener at Grand Meadow.
By: 
Chad Smith

The Kingsland football team opened the season on Friday night with a tough first test and dropped a road game at Grand Meadow 47-22.

The Knights are off to a 0-1 start overall and in the District 9 – South (East Sub-District) standings. Kingsland coach Brent Stinson said they knew it was going to be a tough test on the road against a team that he says is “one of the top five programs in the state.”

In spite of the challenge and final outcome, Stinson saw several good things from his Knights. “I saw a lot of grit and toughness,” he said. “The guys competed hard and wanted to make some big plays. Early in the game, we had an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by sophomore James Howard and we were an extra-point away from taking the lead on a Minnesota high school powerhouse.”

The challenge in playing a team like Grand Meadow is you can’t make mistakes. The Superlarks are good enough to turn those mistakes into points quickly.

“There were some mental mistakes and alignment challenges that we will get corrected,” he said. “They capitalized on our mistakes. They also won the field position battle all night. The chances of scoring get much higher when teams don’t have to go as far to the end zone.”

Grand Meadow cranked up the ground game during the win. The Superlarks finished with 363 total yards, including 269 yards rushing and 94 yards passing. Drew Copley led the Larks with 97 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

Kingsland wound up with 182 yards in total offense. The Knights had 146 yards rushing and 36 through the air. Five different Knights took part in the ground game, led by William Jahn’s 12 carries for 29 yards. Devin Carr added five carries for 26 yards and a TD. Lucas Howard carried the ball six times for 22 yards, James Howard added seven carries for 14 yards and a TD, while Noah Watson rushed the ball twice for 14 yards, including a successful two-point conversion run.

The passing game struggled to get off the ground against the Superlark defense. Jahn completed three of 15 passes for 32 yards and was intercepted twice. Nick Ramaker had one catch for 25 yards and Matthew Schwanke added a catch for seven yards.

“One thing I like about our guys is we were back at it on Saturday morning, watching film of the game at eight o’clock in the morning,” Stinson added. “We spent time talking about how we’ll improve and get better going into week two.”

Schedule

The Knights host another sub-district opponent for their home opener this Friday night, Sept. 6. The Houston Hurricanes will be in town after dropping their opener to Southland last week by a 9-8 score. The Hurricanes were 9-2 a year ago, falling to eventual state champion Spring Grove in the Section 1 championship game 28-6.

“They’re going to bring in a big, physical front line,” Stinson said. “They’ll bring in some physical running backs and a quarterback that loves to run the option. You have to be disciplined on defense and pursue to the football. Offensively, we need to be able to throw the ball down the field and open up lanes for our running game.”