Packers can’t hold off Scarlets

Published 11:19 pm Friday, September 7, 2012

Austin quarterback Ryan Synoground runs the ball in the first half on a keeper play against Mankato West at Art Hass Stadium. -- Eric Johnson/

The Packers made an early surge to get back in that game, but they couldn’t stop No. 3 ranked Mankato West’s high powered offense in a 57-23 loss in a football game in Art Hass Stadium Friday.

Austin (0-2 overall, 0-1 Big Nine) pulled to within 23-16 after Ryan Synoground hit Marcus Stoulil on a 58-yard touchdown bomb down the right sideline with 7:56 left in the first half, but the Scarlets (2-0 overall, 1-0 Big Nine) scored four touchdowns over the next seven minutes to go up 50-16 at the half.

The Scarlets, who forced four Austin turnovers, tallied up nine plays of 20 yards or more on the night.

Austin running back Nate Conner turns the corner up field on a first-quarter run against Mankato West Friday night at Art Hass Stadium.

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“We thought we were gonna have some matchup problems (on defense), so went with a little different look in the first half and obviously it didn’t work,” Austin head coach Brett Vesel said. “We played better in the second half with our three-four look, but they also didn’t go vertical as much.”

Synoground came in the game with Austin trailing 16-0 and he led the Packers to a 12 play, 69 yard drive for a score that saw him find Gabe Kasak for a five-yard touchdown pass on fourth down.

“They’re a great team and I was just trying to stay relaxed and execute,” said Synoground, a junior who threw for 226 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. “We all did that for the first two drives. I was pretty nervous because I knew it was my shot, but I just stayed relaxed out there.”

Vesel said he liked what he saw from Synoground in his first lengthy varsity playing time, but whoever plays at quarterback will still have to earn it.

“Ryan sparked us pretty good and Sean (Coffey) did some OK things,” Vesel said. “It’s still a competition and we’re gonna put the best team on the field.”

Austin had some solid play from its receivers as senior Marcus Stoulil had at least 100 yards receiving and a score for the second straight week and sophomore Nik Gasner had 110 yards receiving and one TD.

Gasner said the new offense is coming along.

Austin's Gabe Gerstner, right, and Bret Lukes combine to tackle Mankato West's Connor Watts during the third quarter Friday night at Art Hass Stadium.

“I think we can get a lot better than that,” he said. “If we would’ve played like we did in the second half (in the first half) it could’ve been a close game and we would’ve had a chance at winning it.”

The Packers will now refocus and try and put an end to their 21-game losing streak against Faribault (2-0 overall, 1-0 Big Nine) in Art Hass Stadium next Friday at 7 p.m.

“We’re gonna work hard this week,” Synoground said. “We really want this victory and we really want to break that streak. We’re gonna work hard in practice and we’re gonna come out strong Friday.”

Austin stats

Rushing: Nate Conner, 14-for-62; Ryan Synoground, 16-for-(-5); Sean Coffey 5-for-(-12); Passing: Synoground, 14-for-23, 226, 3 TD, 2 INT; Coffey, 2-for-7, 18, INT; Zach Nelson, 0-for-1, INT; Receiving: Marcus Stoulil, 6-for-115, TD; Nik Gasner, 8-for-110, TD; Gabe Kasak, 2-for-19, TD; Sacks: Tony Baudler (1); Fumble recovery: Tommy Olmsted (1); Penalties: 7-for-62

West stats

Rushing: Derek Frentz, 12-for-73, 3 TD; Trenton Marks, 6-for-47; Josh Athey, 2-for-29, TD; Dalton Doering, 4-for-11; Cory Johnson 4-for-1; Logan Bristol, 1-for-0

Passing: Frentz, 6-for-12, 181, 2 TD; Athey, 2-for-5, 28, TD

Receiving: Alex Knutson, 1-for-57, TD; Dan Wills, 2-for-41, TD; Cory Johnson, 2-for-40, TD; Will Claussen, 1-for-40; Athey, 1-for-26


MW  16 34 7 0 — 57

Austin 0 16 0 6 — 23

First quarter

(M) Frentz 1 run (kick failed) (5 plays, 70 yards) 9:42

(M) Bill Leitch 25 field goal (10 plays, 73 yards) 3:57

(M) Athey 6 run (Leitch kick) (1 play, 6 yards) 10:44

Second quarter

(A) Kasak 5 pass from Synoground (kick failed) (12 plays, 69 yards) 10:44

(M) Knutson 57 pass from Frentz (Leitch kick) (3 plays, 58 yards) 9:38

(A) Stoulil 58 pass from Synoground (Synoground run) (4 plays, 80 yards) 7:56

(M) Frentz 25 run (Leitch kick) 6:57

(M) Doering 23 pass from Athey (Leitch kick) (2 plays, 23 yards) 5:42

(M) Frentz 32 run (Leitch kick) (2 plays, 42 yards) 3:27

(M) Wills 32 pass from Frentz (kick failed)

Third quarter

(M) Marks 15 run (Leitch kick) (1 plays, 15 yards) 10:20

Fourth quarter

(A) Gasner 40 yard from Synoground (Stoulil kick) (7 plays, 66 yards) 1:58


The Packer’s new offense is starting to come together.

Although they lost 57-23 to Mankato West Friday, the Packers had two crucial scoring drives in the first half that made it a 23-16 game.

“We scored early against their number ones so that was nice,” Austin head coach Brett Vesel said. “We did some good things, but there’s a lot of things we need to fix.”

After the early success, Austin had three turnovers and a three-and-out on its next four possessions.

“It’s a new offense and we’re gonna make mistakes,” said Austin receiver Nik Gasner. “After a couple more games we should be looking good out there and hopefully be one of the better offenses in the Big Nine.”

Ryan Synoground, a junior, came off the bench to throw for 226 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He said he likes what he sees in his options when he goes back to throw in Gasner, Marcus Stoulil and Gabe Kasak — who all caught TDs on Friday.

“I think this offense has great potential. We’re getting better and we have the opportunity to become a really good offense,” Synoground said. “We have a really good receiving core and feel comfortable throwing to any of them. Our receivers played great tonight.”

Synoground and Gasner hooked up on a highlight play late in the fourth quarter when Gasner ran an out and up and pulled it in for a 40-yard touchdown grab.

“That was perfect placement. I didn’t think I was going to be able to catch up to it, but it landed right in my hands,” Gasner said. “I wasn’t as nervous (tonight) as I was in the first game and my confidence came after the first couple of catches. I was pretty much demanding the ball after that.”