Saints spurn comeback attempt, pick up first win
Week 8 — I-70 Conference — Missouri Military Academy
A back-and forth start turned into a big lead on the road for the Saint Paul Lutheran High School Saints football team, but Missouri Military Academy gave the Saints a run for their money before ultimately falling 29-22, giving SPLHS their first victory of the season - and of the post-Coach Laubenstein era.
Senior Luke Roepe connected with senior Josiah Kunkel for a 64-yard touchdown pass to kick the scoring off, followed by a successful PAT by senior Trey Beerman to move the score to 7-6 early on.
MMA would take the lead shortly after however, scoring a touchdown and a 2pt conversion to drive back ahead, 8-7.
The Saints would have the last laugh before the halftime intermission, however, with junior Kaden Olson crossing the plane from 12 yards out. A 2pt conversion would move the halftime score to 15-8 Saints.
Another pair of touchdowns from Olson added to the lead, moving the score to 29-8 — good for the Saints largest lead of the year.
A nice drive by the Colonels and a long touchdown pass in the last minute of the game gave them a fighting chance, but ultimately their comeback attempt would fall flat and the Saints would head home with their first win of the 2019 season.
Roepe and Kunkel tag-teamed quarterbacking duties, with Roepe completing five of his 12 attempts for 93 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Kunkel went 4/6 for 39 yards.
Olson was catalytic in the matchup, rushing for three touchdowns and 98 yards on 18 carries. He also caught one pass for 18 yards, but other Saints were able to make a larger dent catching the rock.
Kunkel and sophomore Ethan Kirby tied for the team lead in receptions, with three apiece. Kirby’s catches logged 25 yards, while Kunkel picked up 64 yards on his touchdown catch but only collected one more yard over his next two catches. Beerman also caught two passes for 24 yards.
Kirby (two), Roepe and Olson (one apiece) combined for four interceptions, while Olson forced a fumble and recovered two on defense. Senior Adrian Damrongchai led the team with seven tackles and also recovered a fumble. Kunkel also finished with seven tackles.
The victory was a monumental one for the Saints, as for the first time in nearly 50 years, it was a head coach other than legendary Larry Laubenstein who led the squad to victory. With head coach CJ Gifford’s first career victory with SPLHS, the Saints move to 1-7 (0-6).
Santa Fe HS will host them in Week 9, the regular season finale for all teams The Concordia follows.
MMA falls to 1-7 in defeat, losers of seven straight.