Austin's Gabe Kasak latches on to Rochester Mayo running back Alex Proell on a second-quarter run in their Section 1AAAAA match-up Tuesday night in Rochester. Eric Johnson/

Mayo closes out Austin’s season

Published 1:17am Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Austin Packers let the pace of the game slip away early as they lost to the Mayo Spartans 56-14 Tuesday night during round 1 of the Section 1 AAAAA football tournament at Mayo High School.

While Mayo opened the game with an onside kick that Austin recovered, it was able to take the ball back from the Packers quickly and score on its first possession — a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Alex Proell to make it 7-0 Mayo with 8:02 left in the first. That was just the beginning for Proell, who sat the second half but still finished the game with 192 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns.

The Packers’ defense struggled getting off blocks as it allowed Proell to score his second touchdown on a 60-yard scamper and his third with 3:29 left in the first on a 24-yard run, making it 21-0. Furthermore, the Packers couldn’t seem to get another first down after their first one.

Austin's Jon Gallagher returns a kick-off against Rochester Mayo in the third quarter of their Section 1AAAAA playoff game Tuesday night in Rochester. Eric Johnson/

“Our offense wasn’t moving,” said Packers head coach Brett Vesel.

Austin nearly caught a break as it was backed up against its own endzone. The Packers defense forced Proell to fumble inside the 10 yardline and recovered. However, Austin quarterback Ryan Synoground threw an interception on the next play. Mayo then immediately scored on an 8-yard Proell run to end the first at 28-0.

The Packers finally sparked some offense in the second quarter as they marched within the Spartan red zone after a 23-yard run by freshman running back Nate Conner and 18 yard pass from Ryan Synoground to Marcus Stoulil. Conner was able to find some more room on the ground; however, the Packers turned the ball over on downs. Mayo took over at the 10 yard line and immediately threw for a 90-yard touchdown to make it 35-0 with 8:08 left in the half.

Austin got its first answer on the next possession, however, as Conner and Synoground found more room on the ground. Synoground punched in a 4-yard run for the score; however, Austin failed the 2-point conversion.

Mayo then lit another match as it marched for another Proell touchdown, recovered an Austin fumble by Conner and scored again on a long screen pass to end the half 49-6.

The Packers tried to open the second half with trickery of their own; however, their onside kick only went 2 yards, so they weren’t able to recover it. The Packers later made a red-zone stop with a blocked field goal and took the ball over on downs. Backed up in their own territory, however, quarterback Sean Coffeey, who played the second half, threw an interception that led to an Aaron Van Galder touchdown run for Mayo to keep the rest of the third quarter at 56-6.

Austin running back Nate Conner carries in the second quarter of the Packers' 1AAAAA playoff game against Rochester Mayo Tuesday night in Rochester. Eric Johnson/

The Packers continued to use Conner on the ground, who finished with 116 yards and scored on a 13-yard run with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter.

Still, it was far from the way the Austin players or coaches wanted to go out on the season.

“This team has put in a ton of time and worked really hard, so we thought maybe we could go out and make some things happen,” Vesel said after the game.

But Vesel realizes the struggles the Packers have been through, coupled with adjusting to his coaching style in his first year at the helm.

“They ended up getting lost,” he said, and added he wished he could have been with his group for four years. Vesel finished the year 2-6 (regular season) and will enforce more hard work for next year.

“The obvious thing is we have to get in the weightroom,” he said. “The process just begins for the young kids. We’re going to work hard, starting with those guys.”

While the last game is particularly tough for seniors, players are still offering support for their underclassmen and coaching staff.

“The last game of the season is always a tough one,” said senior Pat Wagner. “I’ve got confidence in the guys for next year.”

Wagner said he can’t wait to come back and watch the team next year. He is confident that coach Vesel will make improvements, too.

“It was an honor to play for him,” Wagner said. “Nobody knows how many hours that guy puts in. He’s going to work these kids until we have a winning record, until Austin Packer football is back where it should be.”

Mayo advanced to the next round and will play the John Marshall Rockets 7 p.m. this Saturday at John Marshall.


Austin 0 6 0 8 — 14

Mayo 28 21 7 0 — 56


Austin: RB Nate Conner RB, 24 rushes, 116 yds, TD, 1 fumble; QB Ryan Synoground, 4 of 15 for 49 yds, INT, 8 rushes, 44 yds, TD; WR Marcus Stoulil, 3 receptions, 34 yds; WR Nik Gasner, 1 reception, 15 yds, 1 rush, 3 yds.

Mayo: RB Alex Proell, 14 rushes, 192 yds, 5 TD, 1 fumble.


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