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Defensive domination: Packers roll past Spartans in opener

The Austin defense wasted very little time showing that it meant business in its football opener against Rochester Mayo in Art Hass Stadium Friday. The Packers got things rolling with two quick defensive touchdowns in the game’s first 10 minutes and it rolled past the Spartans 40-21 to start the season on a high note.

Austin running back Joe Seeman breaks around a block during the second quarter against Rochester Mayo Friday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin’s Eli Marks recovered a fumble in the end zone for a TD on Mayo’s opening possession, Kaden Igou blocked a punt and then ran it back for a TD on the Spartans’ next possession and then the Packers recovered an on-side kick that led to Luke Hawkshead hauling a 19 yard TD pass from Tate Hebrink. In just 23 minutes of real time, the Packers held a commanding 20-0 lead.

After not going out for football last season, junior Joe Seeman made a big impact for Austin. He had six tackles and a sack, while also rushing for 63 yards and a TD.

“It felt great to be back out there. I loved it,” Sieman said. “We got that turnover right away and we were pumped. It set us up for the whole game.”

Austin’s receiver Luke Hawkshead dives across the goal line for Austin’s first offensive touchdown in the first quarter Friday night against Rochester Mayo. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Seeman was one of many players who made big plays for the Austin defense, which forced seven Mayo turnovers. Hunter Guyette picked off a pass and Sam Johnson, Isaac Kenyon and Andrew Chesak all had fumble recoveries.

“We played hard, we did a good job and we got some turnovers. It was one of our best defensive performances in years,” Austin head coach Brett Vesel said. “Seeman, Chesek and [Pete] Conner did some nice things, Kaden had a good game, Hunter and Carlos [Botelllo] played well on the perimeter and up front those guys played tough. It was good all the way around.”

Austin (1-0 overall) led 40-6 before it pulled its starters and the Spartans (0-1 overall) were able to get a couple of scores against the Packer second team defense. Austin’s starting defense had held Mayo to just 43 yards on the ground.

Austin’s Peter Conner wrangles in Rochester Mayo’s Carter Pasternak in the first quarter Friday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“We plugged up the line and made them go outside,” Johnson said. “We stopped them and they decided to stop running. It’s all about momentum and we started strong.”

Austin’s offense had some big plays in the passing game as Hebrink threw for 229 yards and three scores, but the Packers also had a little trouble with their timing early on.

“We had some chances were we dropped a few balls and we missed a few blocks,” Vesel said. “They started blitzing every play when it was 33-0 and they had nothing to lose. We’re not going to start winging it around when it’s 33-0.”

Nate Murphy holds on after the reception as he’s gang tackled against Rochester Mayo Friday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Austin junior Connor Byram had a big game as he hauled in four passes for 105 yards.

The Packers will play at Red Wing Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

SCORING SUMMARY

Mayo 0    0   6  15 —  21

Austin 20  13  0  7     40

First quarter

(A) Eli Marks 0 yard fumble recovery (Andrew Schumacher kick) (1 play, 0 yards) 9:20

(A) Kaden Igou 10 return on blocked punt (kick failed) (1 play, 10 yards) 5:16

(A) Luke Hawkshead 19 pass from Tate Hebrink (Schumacher kick) (3 plays, 32 yards) 4:26

Second quarter

(A) Hawkshead 34 pass from Hebrink (Schumacher kick) (7 plays, 59 yards) 6:00

(A) Joe Seeman 1 run (kick failed) (11 plays, 77 yards) 2:14

Third quarter

(M) Israel Lozoya 2 run (pass failed) (11 plays, 77 yards) 8:06

Fourth quarter

(A) Gavin Owens 37 pass from Hebrink (Schumacher kick) (5 plays, 52 yards) 8:06

(M) Calvin Dixon 57 run (Jake McCabe kick) (5 plays, 70 yards) 2:35

(M) Dixon 13 pass from Connor Klingele (Carter Pasternak from Kingele) (5 plays, 44 yards) 1:30

Austin’s Carlos Botello sticks Rochester Mayo’s Peter Osman after a reception during third quarter Friday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

AUSTIN STATS

Rushing: Joe Seeman, 16-for-63, TD; Sam Hagan, 16-for-45; Tate Hebrink, 11-for-28; Teren Olvera, 3-for-0; Nate Murphy, 2-for-(-7)

Passing: Hebrink, 14-for-31, 229, 3 TDs, INT

Receiving: Connor Byram, 4-for-105; Luke Hawkshead, 5-for-67, 2 TDs; Gavin Owens, 4-for-52, TD; Murphy, 2-for-5

Defense: Sam Johnson, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery; Logan Braaten, 1 sack; Seeman, 1 sack; Eli Marks, 1 fumble recovery; Luke Hawkshead, 1 sack; Hunter Guyette, 1 interception; Isaac Kenyon, 1 fumble recovery; Andrew Chesak, 1 fumble recovery

Penalties: 5-for-30

Austin’s Tate Hebrink passes to Gavin Owens in the first quarter against Rochester Mayo Friday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

MAYO STATS

Rushing: 110

Passing: 175

Penalties: 3-for-25

Austin’s Sam Johnson disrupts a Rochester Mayo play early in the first quarter that resulted in a Elijah Marks fumble recovery and touchdown Friday night at Art Hass Stadium. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com