Packers ground the Falcons in playoff opener

Published 12:43am Wednesday, October 23, 2013

FARIBAULT — The Packer football team opened the postseason with a bang as it toppled Faribault 42-7 in a first round Section 1AAAAA tournament game in Bruce Smith Field Tuesday.

Austin (5-4 overall), which picked up its first postseason win since 2009, unleashed most of its damage in the second quarter as Nate Conner ran a kick-off back 62 yards to set up a 16-yard TD catch by Zach Wessels that made it 14-7 and Ryan Synground hit Bret Lukes on scoring strikes of 65- and 28-yards to put the Packers up 28-7 at the break.

By the time the fourth quarter came, the clock was running due to the mercy rule and the Packers were starting to think about their second round matchup at No. 1 Owatonna Saturday at 7 p.m.

“We got the running clock in our favor and that hasn’t really happened,” said Austin quarterback Ryan Synoground, who was 12-for-17 with 204 yards and three TDs and one interception. “It’s phenomenal and I’m kind of in shock a little bit.”

Austin’s defense figured out how to slow down Faribault’s run-heavy attack as they limited the Falcons (5-4 overall) to 156 rushing yards on 45 carries and Austin’s Ajuda Nywesh picked off two passes, including one at the end of the first half that set up a TD.

“As a corner my responsibility is pass first and every play I was thinking pass first,” Nywesh said. “We went in to practice focused and we did everything 100 percent. Tonight showed it.”

The Falcons tied the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter when Danny Ehlers hit Mitch Nagel on a 6-yard TD pass on fourth and goal, but the Packers had an immediate answer as they posted 21 points in a nine-minute stretch.

Lukes was a big part of that rally and he had a big night for Austin as he racked up 161 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. On his 65-yard score, Lukes caught the ball over the middle and ran it down the right sideline past the Faribault defense and his 28-yard TD also came on a pass over the middle of the field.

“They really couldn’t guard much and Bret did a good job of catching and running the ball and getting yards after the catch,” Synoground said.

Austin racked up 384 yards of offense in the win.

“We’re still not there yet. We’re still improving and we’re getting better every week. Hopefully we can make some big improvements this week,” Austin head coach Brett Vesel said. “I thought the offensive line played better than last week and the defensive line was stellar.”


Rushing: Nate Conner, 13-for-116, 2 TDs; Cory Hepler, 7-for-21, TD; Brandon Edgar, 4-for-21; Bret Lukes, 2-for-20; Ryan Synoground, 11-for-9; Zach Coffey, 1-for-(-7); passing: Synoground, 12-for-17, 204, 3 TDs, INT; receiving: Lukes, 6-for-141, 2 TDs; Wessels, 2-for-28, TD; Nik Gasner, 3-for-17; interceptions: Ajuda Nywesh (2); sacks: Gabe Gerstner (1); Tony Baudler (1); penalties: 6-for-40


Rushing: 156; passing: 38; penalties: 1-for-5


Austin 7 21 7 7 — 42

Faribault 0 7 0 0 — 7

First quarter

(A) Cory Hepler (7 plays, 60 yards) (Wessels kick) 4:36

Second quarter

(F) Mitch Nagel 6 pass from Danny Ehlers (Swanson kick) (9 plays, 51 yards) 11:17

(A) Wessels 16 pass from Ryan Synoground (Wessels kick) (4 plays, 30 yards) 9:35

(A) Bret Lukes 65 pass from Synoground (Wessels kick) (5 plays, 80 yards) 4:05

(A) Lukes 28 pass from Synoground (Wessels kick) (2 plays, 40 yards) 0:22

Third quarter

(A) Nate Conner (Wessels kick) (6 plays, 60 yards) 6:50

Fourth quarter

(A) Conner 5 run (Wessels kick) (6 plays, 39 yards) 11:16

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