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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Saints enjoy the sweet sunshine of victory

  • The long, dark night of losing is over as the Saints won their first football game since 2010 when they beat Spectrum High School 47-6 last Friday in Elk River.
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  • The long, dark night of losing is over as the Saints won their first football game since 2010 when they beat Spectrum High School 47-6  last Friday in Elk River.
    Before last Friday’s victory, the Saints last won on Friday, October 15, 2010 when they beat  Minneapolis Roosevelt  55-26.
    That means most of this year’s varsity players had never experienced the joy of victory as a SJA varsity football player. Now they have. The win is all the sweeter after the Saints suffered two close losses at the start of this season.
    Spectrum was established in 2006 and Friday was the first time they played on their new football field. The Spectrum Sting are also trying to establish a winning tradition. That has to happen on another Friday, as the Saints got the first win on Spectrum’s new field.
    Sparked by senior fullback Ryan Menssen, who had 217 yards rushing on 20 attempts, the Saints rolled early and often. For the game, SJA ground out 391 yards rushing on 45 rushing attempts on the Sting’s home turf.
    Saints Head Coach Jeff Whitney said Menssen, “Had an unbelievable game.”          
    SJA scored on a 12 yard run by quarterback Walker Froehling in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead and Walker scored another rushing TD in the last minute of the Q1. Froehling’s two PATs gave the Saints a 14-0 going into the second quarter.
    Menssen scored his first of two touchdowns on a nine yard run with 2:10 left in the half. PAT failed so the Saints were up 20-0. The Sting came right back and scored their only TD of the day with 1:11 left in the half.
    The Saints came right back with Froehling connecting with Menssen on a four yard TD pass and a 27-6 halftime lead.
    The Saints added two more TDs in the third and another score early in the fourth quarter while shutting out the Sting.
    Senior receiver Kody Curry snagged an 18 yard TD pass from Froehling with a little over ten minutes to go in the third quarter.  Running back David Bradley scored on a three yard run with three and a half minutes to go in the third quarter to give the Saints a 40-6 cushion.
    Junior Kaleb Mohwinkel reached the end zone on a seven yard run at the 11:42 mark of the fourth quarter to end the Saints scoring.
    Because of the effectiveness of their ground game, the Saints didn’t throw the ball that much. Froehling was 6-9 with one interception for a total of 51 yards passing.
    Menssen had three catches, Curry had two and led the team with 28 receiving yards and Derrick Shupe had one catch for 13 yards.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Saints averaged 8.7 yards per carry. Menssen averaged 10.85 yards per carry and sophomore Brady Halverson averaged 10 YPC when he gained 70 yards on 7 attempts.
    Froehling had 29 yards rushing, Bradley had 47 yards rushing, Mohwinkel had 14 and Josh Stordalen also had 14.
    The Saints had 19 first downs with 18 of them on the ground. The defense held the Sting to just six first downs. 136 total yards, with only 11 yards gained through the air.  
    Coach Whitney praised the Saints defensive effort, “Last week Spectrum had 230 yards rushing so it shows the defense really came to play shutting down their QB and their good running back.  
    ‘We had two interceptions by Luke Tonsager and a blocked punt by Adrian Torres.”
    Summing up the team effort the Head Coach said, “It was an outstanding game by the Saints!  
    “The kids played very hard and it showed.  The offensive line did very well, not very often does a team have 391 yards rushing.  With the combination of the line and backs we dominated the ground game.”
    The Saints do not have a game scheduled this week. They are on the road next week as SJA begins conference play against St. Peter.
    The Saints next home game will be homecoming on Friday Sept. 27, against New Ulm.

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