Packers snap the streak
Published 10:04 pm Friday, September 21, 2012
MANKATO — The Austin defense had enough and it showed as the Packers dominated from the start in an 18-0 win over Mankato East Friday.
The Packers (1-3 overall, 1-3 Big Nine) snapped their 22-game losing streak and they recorded the team’s first shutout in at least five years as they held the Cougars (0-4 overall, 0-4 Big Nine) to just 109 total yards and allowed East inside the 10-yard line just once all night.
The defensive effort was especially impressive because Austin defensive end Trevor Feuerhak and linebacker Pat Wagner also played as offensive tackles and rarely got a break.
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“I feel like it started to wear on us, but we knew we had to push and play for each other,” Feuerhak said. “ This is a game that everyone wanted. It’s been 22 games and that’s 22 too long since a win. (Winnings) is a one of a kind feeling. I haven’t felt that before on varsity. It’s just something special and you really can’t describe it.”
Feuerhak made an instant impact on the game when he tackled East quarterback Nic Seiler on the first series of the game and Seiler left the game with an injury. Seiler’s replacement Brandon Adema, went just 10-for-22 and completed just one pass for more than 12 yards.
“Sometimes you gotta settle Trevor down, but it was a great play,” said Wagner, who had a fumble recovery and an interception in the win. “We’re not trying to knock people out of the game, but it doesn’t hurt when they’re starting quarterback’s out in the first quarter.”
The Packers committed four turnovers on the night, but they also made some big plays. Marcus Stoulil got the scoring started when he hauled in a 31-yard grab for a TD from Ryan Synoground that made it 6-0 with 6:08 left in the first quarter. The Packers got the ball back and Synoground led them on a nine play, 75 yard drive, where he plunged in from five yards out to make it 12-0 with 1:13 left in the first half.
Austin put the game away when Synoground found Tommy Olmsted for a 39-yard strike for a score on third and 11 with 9:29 left in the game.
Synoground, a junior, who started the season as the back-up quarterback, finished with a career-high 286 passing yards, to go along with his two scores and three interceptions.
“I praise God for the opportunity I’ve been given,” Synoground said. “I’m so thankful for this right now. I remember back in middle school when I used to go out and throw in the summer, now I’ve got a great receiving core and the offensive line did a great job. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for right now.”
East had a chance to get back in the game at the beginning of the second half as they had a third goal from the one-yard line, but a bad snap put them at fourth and goal from the eight and they threw an incomplete pass.
“That was huge,” Austin head coach Brett Vesel said of the stop. “Those guys really played like they should’ve been playing all year. That’s what we did in the summer and we found it back. Hopefully we’ll continue to improve on it.”
Passing: Ryan Synoground, 19-for-28. 286, 2 TD, 3 INT
Receiving: Nik Gasner, 6-for-101; Marcus Stoulil, 5-for-91, TD; Tommy Olmsted, 5-for-59, TD; Jacob Kempen, 2-for-27; Elijah Dahmen, 1-for-8
Rushing: Dahmen, 12-for-45; Synoground, 15-for-23, TD; Brandon Edgar, 8-for-22; Nate Conner, 1-for-5; Penalties: 8-for-50
Austin 0 12 0 6 — 18
East 0 0 0 0 — 0
(A) Stoulil 32 pass from Synoground (kick failed) (5 plays, 48 yards) 6:08
(A) Synoground 5 run (pass failed) (9 plays, 75 yards) 1:13
(A) Olmsted 39 pass from Synoground (kick failed) (5 plays, 54 yards) 9:29
WAGNER HAS A BIG NIGHT
Pat Wagner has a lot to be happy about.
After playing varsity football for two and a half years without seeing a win, Wagner picked off a pass and recovered a fumble as the Packers beat Mankato East 18-0.
It also happened to be Wagner’s birthday and he also played offensive line for the first time.
“This is probably one of the best days of my life,” Wagner said. “This is the best present I could ever ask for. Everyone came in and played a great game tonight.”
Wagner, who had never played on the offensive line before Friday, made his fair share of blocks. He said that pulling as a tackle is his new favorite play in football.
Austin head coach Brett Vesel said Wagner has shown a lot as a blocker.
“Pat was our best offensive lineman this week and he’s about five-foot, two, one-hundred and fifty two,” Vesel said. “He wanted to help the team any way he could, so we put him at tackle.”
Wagner was pleased with defensive effort after Austin allowed 62 points to Faribault last week.
“I was a part of that 72-0 Mankato West game (two years ago) and last week was worse than that in my mind for the defense,” Wagner said. “I don’t think we went one minute of practice this week without full hitting and we knew we had to come out and hit.”
Wagner who is one of three Packers who are in their third year on the varsity squad — the others being Andrew Hagen and Marcus Stoulil — said he doesn’t want to stop at one win.
“We’ve been through the most losing,” he said. “We’ve got to put it aside and we can’t be satisfied with one win and we’ve got to get as many wins as we can.”