Packers can’t hold on

Published 11:52 pm Friday, September 2, 2011

Austin receiver Zach Wessels tries to go over Red Wing's Zach Garner on a pass in the first quarter Friday night at Art Hass Stadium. Garner was called for pass interfernce on the play. - Eric Johnson/

It was their best effort in a year, but it wasn’t enough as the Packers dropped their football opener to Red Wing 19-9 at Art Hass Stadium Friday night.

Austin's Trevor Feuerhak holds on to the ball after a reception as Red Wing's Mike Stegora (26) and Ryan Parr (87) converge on him in the first quarter Friday night at Art Hass Stadium. - Eric Johnson/

Austin led 9-7 going into the fourth quarter, but it couldn’t hold on.

“We moved the ball a little bit better than we did last year. We’ve improved, but we’ve got a tremendous ways to go,” Austin head coach Matt Schmit said. “We’ve got to put some drives together and we’ve got to be on the field a little more. That will help.”

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Red Wing quarterback Joel Newman took advantage of two major breakdowns in the Austin secondary to turn the tide in the Wingers’ favor. In the fourth quarter, he hit Jack Strusz for a 48-yard scoring strike down the left sideline on third and 13 to give his team a 13-9 lead and at the end of the first half, he scooped up a bad snap and threw over the top of an over-aggressive Austin defense for a 16-yard score to Strusz on third down with 11.3 seconds left in the first half.

“We changed up our coverages and some guys didn’t know what they were doing,” Austin senior cornerback/quarterback Andrew Allen said. “We have a lot of young players, but they’re athletes. We need to keep working, but we had too many mistakes and we should’ve won.”

Austin's Will Davenport runs back the opening kick-off against Red Wing Friday night at Art Hass Stadium. - Eric Johnson/

Austin took its first lead in a year when Zach Wessels kicked a 30-yard field goal with 11:55 left in the second quarter. The 35-yard drive was aided by a turnover forced by the defense when Anthony Condit forced a fumble and Allen recovered it at the Red Wing 48-yard line.

After trailing at the half, the Packers took the lead back when quarterback Sean Coffey plunged for a one-yard score to cap a 12 play, 35-yard drive.

The drive saw Austin convert two fourth downs as Coffey hit Wessels for a nine-yard gain on fourth and seven and he found Bret Lukes for an 11-yard gain on fourth and eight.

Coffey threw for 55 yards and Allen threw for 64 yards as Austin rotated its quarterbacks.

“I think the offense will get better,” Allen said. “I need to learn more and everyone needs to learn more. We’re a lot better (than last year); we have way better skill players and the line is better. We just need work and once we start executing better, we will win ball games.”

Austin had the ball twice with a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but the Packers went three-and-out on the first chance and on the second chance Coffey threw an interception on a lob to Wessels with 5:30 left in the game.

The Wingers put the game away when Michael Friedrich got loose on a 17-yard run with 4:08 left in the game.

The game started on a high note for Austin’s defense when Ryan Larson sacked Newman on a fourth down from the Austin six-yard line.

Austin (0-1 overall) will play at Mankato West (1-0 overall) next Friday at 7 p.m.


RW 0 7 0 12 — 19

Austin 0 3 6 0 — 9

First quarter

No scoring

Second quarter

(A) Zach Wessels 30 field goal (5 plays, 35 yards) 11:55

(RW) Jack Strusz 16 pass from Joel Newman (Marcus Dodge kick) (16 plays, 75 yards) :11.3

Third quarter

(A) Sean Coffey 1 run (kick failed) (12 plays, 35 yards) 3:16

(RW) Strusz 46 pass from Newman (run failed) (6 plays, 67 yards) 11:48

(RW) Michael Friedrich 17 run (kick failed) (3 plays, 30 yards) 4:08


Rushing: Andrew Allen, 5-for-14; Anthony Condit, 5-for-12; Marcus Stoulil, 2-for-2; Gabe Gerstner, 2-for-(-2)

Passing: Allen, 5-for-13, 64; Coffey, 7-for-11, 55, INT

Receiving: Trevor Feuerhak, 3-for-35; Zach Wessels, 3-for-30; Marcus Stoulil, 2-for-25; Gabe Kasak, 1-for-15; Bret Lukes, 2-for-11; Condit, 2-for-10; Gerstener, 1-for-4

Penalties: 6-for-70


Rushing: Michael Friedrich, 12-for-46, TD; Mike Stegora, 3-for-16; Alex Harder, 5-for-9; Andre Page, 5-for-3; Joel Newman, 3-for-(-13)

Passing: Newman, 18-for-30, 213, 2 TD

Receiving: Strusz, 5-for-90, 2 TD; Dayton Johnson, 5-for-52; Matthew Petterson, 3-for-38; Page, 4-for-24; Marcus Dodge, 1-for-9

Penalties: 6-for-55

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