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Saints shut out Minnewaska Area

By MN Football Hub staff, 08/26/11, 11:00PM CDT


St. Peter finds way to win despite turnovers as defense gets job done

St. Peter quarterback Austin Braun (9) is mobbed by Wyatt Davis (58) and Dylan Connor (50), among other teammates, after scoring the lone touchdown in St. Peter's 7-0 victory over Minnewaska. Photo by Helen Nelson

After winning only two of its games last year, St. Peter kicked off the 2011 season on a high note defeating Minnewaska Area, 7-0, in a Zero Week matchup on Friday, August 26.

“It was exciting,” St. Peter coach Brian Odland said. “It wasn't always pretty -- early season miscues and all that -- but it was a good defensive battle.”

After rushing for the game’s only score in the first quarter St. Peter junior quarterback Austin Braun struggled, throwing five interceptions with four of them coming in the second half.

Despite the rough night for Braun, Odland was quick to stand behind his quarterback.

St. Peter quarterback Austin Braun rushed for 28 yards on 13 carries in the Saints' 7-0 victory over Minnewaska. Photo by Helen Nelson

“He's working and coming into his own here,” Odland said. “He worked very hard this offseason throwing balls, working with quarterback coaches and he has the tools to be a runner too. So that's going to come it's just a maturity thing for him.”

Those turnovers may have proved lethal for St. Peter but the Saints’ defense kept Minnewaska Area off the board thanks to an improved gameplan.

“We put the stacked defense in last year and we had some growing pains with it,” Odland said. “We had the chance to evaluate what worked and what didn't. We were able to meet with some other coaches and tweak what we had been doing.

“We have very quick kids up front on our defensive line which is making a world of difference, our linebackers are doing a much better job reading their cues and they just played fast. They're starting to buy into what we were trying to show them last year. For Pat Klubben (St. Peter’s defensive coordinator) that's not a bad way to start -- throwing a shut out on your first game.”

Though the score was low and the turnover ratio was not in their favor, the Saints were happy with the game’s outcome.

“We know we can win now,” St. Peter senior receiver/cornerback Joey Bartlett said. “We know how to put points on the board and what we did right. Our defense is really strong which will help us a lot.”

Still, Odland knows the long road ahead will take a stronger overall team effort.

“Like I told the boys, fortunately we have a reason to practice now because we made more than one mistake,” Odland said. “They found a way to win and that's the key. In a program that hasn't had a lot of success we found a way to win and I think that will be a big momentum builder for the rest of the season.”

The Saints head to Le Sueur-Henderson for a Week One match up on Friday, September 2, at 7 p.m.

Minnewaska Area will look to bounce back as the Lakers will host Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta on Friday, September 2, at 7 p.m.

-- Michael Murakami, MN Football Hub Staff

Bartlett is back in business

It’s not easy watching your team win two games during a season.

Unfortunately for St. Peter wide receiver/cornerback Joey Bartlett, he didn’t have a choice last year.

“He missed all of last season with an ankle injury and never played a down last year so it was nice to have him back,” St. Peter coach Brian Odland said. “He's a big target.”

In his first game since 2009, the 6-foot-4 senior was a noticeable presence on the offensive side of the field during the Saints’ 7-0 Zero Week victory over Minnewaska Area, making 7 receptions for 128 yards.

“It's nice being 6-foot-4,” Bartlett said. “Being a bigger target helps a lot.”

Along with the impressive offensive performance, Bartlett also contributed on the defensive side of the ball breaking up several of the Lakers’ passing attempts.

-- Michael Murakami, MN Football Hub Staff

Watch the game

Watch the entire Zero Week match-up between St. Peter and Minnewaska.

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Game Recap

Junior quarterback Austin Braun scored on a 6-yard run early in the first quarter, then turned the game over to the defense as St. Peter hung on to beat Minnewaska 7-0 on Friday, Aug. 26, in the season opener for both teams in a Zero Week matchup at St. Peter High School.

Braun’s run capped a game-opening 84-yard drive for the Saints, whose offense looked primed to keep the scoreboard buzzing with activity.

Instead, both teams relied on opportunistic defense to shut the other down. Minnewaska intercepted Braun five times, and St. Peter repeatedly snuffed out high-spiraling go-for-broke passes by Minnewaska quarterback Andrew Ostrander.

Minnewaska's offense also was undone by unforced errors. The Lakers were whistled for 10 penalties for 65 yards compared to St. Peter's one penalty for five yards. Most of Minnewaska's penalties were false starts on the offense.

The shining star on offense was St. Peter’s Joey Bartlett, a 6-foot-4, 168-pound senior who caught seven passes for 128 yards. His 58-yard reception in the second half was by far the game’s most exciting offensive play.

Minnewaska had several opportunities to tie the score in the late going but never was able to sustain a drive. A late interception helped clinch the victory for the Saints, who are coming off a 2-7 season in 2010.

-- Loren Nelson, MN Football Hub staff

Three Stars

1. Joey Bartlett, St. Peter
The 6-foot-4, 198-pound senior receiver made seven catches for 128 yards, including a 58-yarder on a bomb down the right sideline in the second half.

2.  Alex Bense, St. Peter
A 5-10, 177-pound senior defensive lineman, Bense was among the Saints’ tackling leader as he routinely wreaked havoc on the Minnewaska running game. The Lakers managed just 110 yards on 30 rushes.

3. Jake Amundson, Minnewaska
A 5-9, 150-pound junior, Amundson had two of the Lakers’ five interceptions of St. Peter quarterback Austin Braun.

-- Loren Nelson, MN Football Hub staff

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