The Kelliher/Northome Mustangs set out for Cromwell Sept. 9 hoping for a win and that is just what they got with a 20-6 win over Cromwell.
"Our team played very well. Mistakes in the first half and third quarter killed several potential scoring drives," said Mustang Head Coach Derrick Gross. "Cromwell is not the team they were last year when they won the state title but they have a traditionally strong program with coaches and kids that know how to play. Beating Cromwell is a big step for us," he said.
Neither team scored until the second quarter when the Mustangs jumped on the board with 6 points. Cromwell came back with 6 of their own in the third quarter however, K/N pulled ahead and stayed there with 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Offensive leaders for the Mustangs were Joe Schuh who has 25 carries for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Travis Olafson had 16 carries for 86 yards and Isaiah Rahier had eight carries for 52 yards.
The Mustangs had 295 total yards rushing but only put up 21 total yards passing.
"I wasn't happy but our passing game was better than in week one but not good enough yet. We dropped some catchable passes and need to make some adjustments to our routes," said Gross.
Leading receivers for K/N were Christian Jourdan, Keith Shaughnessy and Brandon Schmid, who each had one reception.
Gross said his team needs to have more offensive execution outside of their core plays.
"We ran the ball very well. Our line played outstanding down the stretch," he said.
Defensive leaders for the Mustangs were Caleb Schneider with nine tackles (three solo) followed by Joe Schuh with five, Brody Grundmeier had six and Lance Pink had five.
Defensively Coach Gross felt his team played an excellent game.
"We were in the Cromwell backfield all night," he said. "Cromwell moved the ball at times but we held our ground until they made a mistake or we made a big play. We created two or three turnovers. Shaughnessy had two strips."
Grundmeier played well on the defensive line in his first game action of the season, according to Gross.
"Brandon Schmid came off the bench in the second half and did a great job executing blocking assignments that we struggled with in the first half," he said.
Schmid also caught a pass for a key first down in the third quarter.
"We have two other players, Adrian Pink, and Jeff Roosdett, who will their first game action this week against McGregor," said Gross.
The Mustang coach said his team needs to concentrate on blocking from wing and split end positions needs to improve as well as execution of certain offensive plays.
"We will continue to play physically in week three. I expect good play from our line, hard running from our backs, and improvement in the areas we've identified. We need to focus on making it a 60 minute game; ball control will be important again this week. We dominated Cromwell in that area. They ran less than 30 offensive snaps on Friday while we ran close to 60. If we can do that again this week we stand a very good chance against McGregor," said Gross.
"We expect McGregor to be very solid. They have an exceptional running back (Carlson). They do not have a lot of depth however," said Gross. "If we can contain Carlson, control the ball, and eliminate the mistakes that kill drives, we will have a good night."
The Mustangs will hit the road Sept. 16 traveling to McGregor to take on the Mercuries who are 1-1 on the season.