Scarlets eke out win over KoMets
Something had to give when the 4-2 Kasson-Mantorville KoMets went on the road to take on the 4-2 Mankato West Scarlets.
However, after a back-and-forth game, it was the Scarlets who came away with a 37-27 win.
Kasson-Mantorville Interim Head Coach Joel Swanson was proud of how his team played against a tough Mankato West team.
“I thought the players did pretty well. It is the first time our program has ever played them. They are a very good team and we were on the road,” he said.
He thought the K-M defense did a good job holding Mankato West scoreless for most of the final quarter.
“I thought they were probably the top offense we've seen. They have a lot of tools being able to both to both run and pass. I thought getting a stop on the initial drive was huge after they had driven the ball down the field,” he said.
However, after not scoring on their first drive, the Scarlets got the first touchdown of the game in the final minute of the first quarter.
The KoMets’ offense tied the game up in the second quarter thanks to a 65-yard touchdown reception by Easton Knoll.
“Teams lately seem to be geared up for stopping our run. What really sets up our passes is being able to initially sell plays as run. This means our line has to attack even on pass and they have done a good job of that. Then Peyton needs to make a pass that Easton can adjust to and we have a lot of confidence in Easton being able to come down with the ball,” Swanson said.
Mankato West responded with another touchdown, but their two-point conversion was no good so they led 13-7 in the second quarter.
After the Scarlets forced a K-M punt, the KoMets’ defense stepped up by causing a Mankato West fumble.
“That was a screen pass and the receiver was fighting for extra yards and someone pursuing the play knocked the ball out,” he said.
The KoMets’ offense kept the momentum going by coverting the fumble recovery into seven points.
“The big play was probably the one before the TD. We were throwing a pass and it wasn't there and Peyton ran the ball back upfield so it was only a one-yard loss. That meant Mankato West had to respect both the run and the pass,” he said. “We ran counter and Mankato West really reacted to our backfield's initial move that helps create a seam in the defense.”
Up 14-13 at halftime, Swanson told his players to keep battling in the second half.
“We made some adjustments on both sides of the ball, but we emphasized for the players to keep going all out,” he said.
However, it was the Scarlets who received the second-half kick and they used a long touchdown run and two-point conversion to take a 21-14 lead.
“The running back saw a seam and cut back. He's a fast player. You just need to tip your hat to him it was a great run,” he said.
Trailing by seven points, Swanson was happy to see the KoMets’ offense respond with a touchdown of their own on a 16-yard run by quarterback Peyton Wilke.
“This has been great to see all season. When things aren't going are way the players respond. It’s one of the great lessons to learn in life from sports. When something isn't going your way don't quit. Keep battling and doing the best you can,” he said.
The back-and-forth game continued as Mankato West used a seven-yard touchdown and a successful two-point conversion to re-take the lead, 29-21.
He mentioned that K-M’s defense “had a tough time tackling their running backs. They are tough runners.”
The KoMets’ offense responded when Wilke completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jakob Aarsvold, but their two-point was unsuccessful and K-M trailed 27-29.
With three minutes left in the game, the Scarlets got their final touchdown to extend their lead to 37-27.
Mankato West’s defense stopped K-M’s offense from scoring again and held on for the 10-point win.
Despite the loss, Swanson was pleased with how your team played against a tough opponent.
“Great effort by the players. I am proud of the way they kept battling throughout the game,” he said. “Even players who weren't on the field much I think they did a good job of staying mentally into the game and got excited throughout the game.”
He hopes this loss shows his team what they can do better.
“Hopefully we'll learn from some of the things we need to improve on,” he said. “I hope the players realize if they work together as a team we can be pretty good.”
Even though K-M is entering the final week of the regular season, he said the KoMets will “keep trying to get better and play as a team.”
Kasson-Mantorville ends the season with a home game against the Faribault Falcons.