Big Minnesota Valley Lutheran first quarter sets the tone for a 47-0 win over Saints
Minnesota Valley Lutheran scored four touchdowns in the first eight minutes on Friday night, effectively burying the Saints early en route to a 47-0 win at Schroeder Field.
After forcing a three and out, the Chargers' first play from scrimmage had the guests knocking on the door early. Junior quarterback Luke Thompson scampered in for a six-yard touchdown run put the Chargers on top just 1:53 into the game.
Another Saints three and out had MVL take over at their own 40. Two big chunks of yards set the Chargers up at the Saints 32. From there, junior running back Christian Edwards took a handoff and sprinted 32-yards for an MVL touchdown.
Carter Sexton punched in a one-yard run on the ensuing Chargers possession.
Down 21-0 just seven minutes into the game, Adrian Luna had a big kickoff return and looked to swing some momentum back to the Saints.
On the first play of the drive, Hunter Stevens was picked off, setting up MVL with another short field.
Alexis Ramirez scored from six-yards out to cap the drive and put the Chargers up 28-0.
A St. James turnover on downs once again set the Chargers up in good field position late in the first quarter.
Early in the second, Luke Thompson teamed up with brother Cole Thompson for a 37-yard strike extending the lead to 34-0 after a missed PAT.
St. James forced a stop on 4th and short on the next Chargers possession, but couldn't capitalize in plus territory, and headed into the locker room down 34-0.
On the first play in the second half, Edwards broke free for his second touchdown of the game, a 73-yard run up the near sideline.
Another short St. James drive gave the Chargers good field position. Following a third and long scramble by Luke Thompson, a botched exchange on an option play led to a fumble recovery by Cooper Olson.
The Saints took over at the 41-yard line, and Adrian Luna immediately ripped off a 30 yard gain, setting the Saints up in the red zone.
On the next play, Luna coughed up the ball and the Chargers regained possession and preserved the shutout.
The Luna fumble didn't directly lead to a score for MVL, as the Saints defense forced a punt. Yet another turnover on downs for the Saints led to a six-yard touchdown run by Justin Zierner for the final tally of the night.
St. James did manage to find some success on the ground, with Stevens (54 yards) and Luna (57), each picking up good yardage on the ground. Outside of last week's showing, Luna has been a consistent source of offense for the Saints.
"He's doing great," said head coach Jon Wilson. "We started out with the wing offense but we switched it up to the eye just to get him some extra looks. He's finding the holes and a lot of times his bigger runs are not where the hole is supposed to be so he's been bouncing it outside and he's been progressing nicely."
Stevens found early success in the passing game, connecting with Alex Stresemann. As the game went on, MVL's defense shut down the Saints through the air.
"He's done a nice job," said Wilson of Stevens. "He knows the offense. He knows what everyone is supposed to do, he commands the offense. Alex had some nice routes but once again we have to be able to execute on big plays."
Stresemann finished with three catches for 35 yards.
Jack Westman led the Saints on defense with 15 total tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack. Cooper Olson and Adrian Luna each added six tackles.
Tanner Olson also recorded a tackle for loss.
The Saints close out their regular season against 0-4 Windom on Thursday.