Knights fall to Southland in Homecoming game

Logan Funk brings down Southland running back, Josh Hegge, in Kingsland’s Homecoming game. Hunter Lee of the Knights comes in from behind. CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
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The Kingsland football team fell behind early to the Southland Rebels in the Kingsland Homecoming game Friday night and couldn’t recover as the Knights dropped their third game of the season.

Statistical production rose in several categories for the Knights, including a season-high in takeaways (five). The Knights are 0-3 on the season (0-2 district) after the 47-13 loss.

“We were able to attack some areas we thought were mismatches,” said head coach Brent Stinson, “especially with Reid Kruegel (232 yards receiving). Our offensive line did a nice job of protecting so our quarterbacks could get the ball out. They took away our running game, so we have to take some chances to get the ball to the outside and let a very good player create.

“The offensive line did a much better job this week of communicating with each other and figuring out where the defensive rush was coming from,” Stinson added. “That gave our quarterbacks much more time to get the ball out. We’ve got juniors and seniors on the line, with some sophomores rotating in, and it can take time for the unit to gel.”

Kingsland senior Kruegel picked up those 232 yards receiving on only eight catches, scoring two TDs as well. Both touchdowns were big plays, going for 75 and 32 yards. Junior tailback Lucas Howard added one catch for 14 yards.

Jahn and Ramaker alternated at the quarterback position, with Jahn getting the bulk of the throwing opportunities. Jahn, a Knight sophomore, hit 10 of 20 passes for 195 yards, including both TD passes to Kruegel. While Southland doesn’t typically throw a lot, Rebels’ quarterback Dan Boe was efficient when he did let it fly. The sophomore completed five of nine passes for 114 yards and a TD. 

The running game had a tough time getting going, with Noah Watson getting 10 carries for 35 yards (3.5 average) and Nick Ramaker adding six carries for 11 yards. Conversely, the Rebels cranked up their running game, finishing 277 yards on 43 carries.

Defensively, the Knights recovered five Southland fumbles. Stinson said a few big plays really turned momentum in favor of Southland and took away from what was an otherwise good effort by his team.

“If you take away a punt return for a touchdown by Southland and a pick-six (interception returned for TD), we did some good things defensively,” Stinson said. “It was between the tackles where we had some trouble defensively and couldn’t stop their running game. Take away a couple of big plays and we were right there with them.

“However, that’s the game and a credit to Southland,” Stinson added. “They did turn the ball over, but they also stayed true to what they do and were very physical all night long. They did a nice job.”

Howard led the Knights’ defense with seven solo tackles, five assists, and one fumble recovery. Dallas Jones had four solo tackles and two assists.

“We played with some heavy hearts on Friday because of the recent passing of Trenton Merkel in a car accident the previous Saturday,” Stinson said. “That was really heavy on our minds and hearts. The family continues to be in our thoughts and prayers. Reed (Merkel – Trenton’s brother) was able to play and did a nice job.

“We really want to say thank you to the Kingsland Booster Club, the parents, and the community for their help and participation in the wonderful Homecoming festivities.”


The Knights have a tough road contest as they head to Fillmore Central to play the Falcons on Friday night, Sept. 21. Stinson said it’s never easy when you have to face a well-coached team at Fillmore Central.

“They have one of the elite running backs in the conference in Josh Peters, who’s now moved to quarterback for them,” Stinson said. “They’re lining up yet another quick running back behind him. They’re well-coached, well-disciplined, and they’ve had a lot of success over the last few years.

“Chris Mensink and his staff do a great job of getting the most they can out of their players every year,” Stinson added. “They get them to work hard and play hard as a team. One thing you’ll notice is they don’t make many mistakes. They stick to what they do and they’re very good at it.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Harmony.