The Saints opened the 2013 football season at home last Friday with a heartbreaking loss to Pipestone 32-26.
Pipestone scored on a 37 yard touchdown pass with no time on the clock to win the game and deny the Saints the chance to win their first game since the 2010 season.
The Saints built a two touchdown lead on big plays and put up 26 points in the first half. Unfortunately lost because of the biggest play of the game.
When you live by big plays, you can die by even bigger plays. The biggest play of the game was by the other guys.
With the Saints shutout in the second half, the Arrows had two third quarter TDs to tie the score. Pipestone called time out with one second on the clock and the ball on the Saints 37.
The only way for SJA to lose was to get beat deep. That was the instructions by the coaches, that was the mantra the players must have been saying, but the Saints got beat deep. The win ruined a great effort by SJA, but there were encouraging signs on how the Saints played and their effort.
The Saints piled up the two touchdown lead mostly by big plays, but the team could have used a little more consistency to grind out and secure the win.
Senior wide receiver Kody Curry had a breakout game with two long touchdown passes from Walker Forehling. Kody showed an ability to separate himself from the Arrow D backs he was lined up against. On his second touchdown, Kody streaked down the sideline in the clear, but fumbled near the goal line.
Kody recovered the ball in the end zone and after a meeting the officials gave the TD to Curry. For the night he caught 4 balls for 147 yards.
Senior QB Walker Froehling had a great night throwing the ball going 10-19 for 211 yards.
Another one of his key throws was a swing pass to halfback Logan Sykes who took the ball near the Pipestone 20 and plowed his way to the one yard line.
Senior fullback Ryan Menssen punched it in from the one on the next play.
Menssen also had a good night offensively. He rushed for 102 yards on 18 attempts. And made a couple of catches for 31 yards.
Sophomore Brady Halvorson got his first career start for the Saints and returned a kickoff for a TD. Junior Luke Tonsager with his first career start had an interception and set up a long return.
Almost all of this action was in the first half. The Saints had the ball near deep in Pipestone territory, but punted in away with a few seconds on the clock.
In the second half the big plays were not there for SJA. Pipestone scored twice in the third to tie it up.
Page 2 of 2 - It's not that SJA didn't have the opportunities in the fourth quarter to take the lead, but that the Saints couldn't make the play when needed.
The Saints recovered a Pipestone muffed punt. Cole Skow pounced on it at the Pipestone 29. The Saints moved it down to a first and ten from the 18, got it to the 13, but could not convert on a fourth and five and gave the ball up on downs.
Later in the quarter SJA took it over on their 46. A clutch catch by Ryan Menssen at the Pipestone 34 set the Saints up for another opportunity.
First down netted a yard, but the Saints couldn't advance the ball from there and gave the ball back to Pipestone with less than four minutes to go.
That was enough time for Pipestone to pull off the win.
Overall the Saints played well. They didn't give up a sack.
Pipestone platooned more players and the Saints may have been a little tired in the second half.
Pipestone was able to demonstrate an effective ground game rushing for 208 yards. Their QB didn't have a great night throwing the ball going 11-25 with one interception and just 157 yards, but that last completion.....
The Saints host Windom on Friday night. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 pm.
Windom is also experiencing a long losing streak. One team is going to start a winning streak. I'm thinking it's going to be the Saints.