The STMA football team got an important victory on Homecoming Oct. 8 in front of a packed stadium, defeating Champlin Park (0-6) by a score of 44-8.

The Knights came out right away with a successful drive on Friday night, scoring on a short run by Max Keefer to make it a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Knights scored again on a run by Jarrett Bennett later in the quarter and then Keefer scored on a 46-yard run in the closing seconds.

After a Riley Purcell field goal, the Knights led 24-0. The Rebels returned the next kickoff deep into Knights territory, leading to their only scoring drive of the evening. STMA responded with a 15-yard touchdown run by Keefer to make it a 31-8 game, which remained the score at halftime.

With a big lead, the Knights set out to control the game in the second half and burn the clock. The only score of the third quarter was another short touchdown run by Bennett, which made the score 38-8.

In the fourth quarter, the Knights got many of their bench players into the game for some playing time. One of these players was senior Kemry Stich, who scored the game’s final touchdown on an 18-yard run, much to the delight of his teammates. The final score was 44-8 as the Knights won their fourth contest of the season.

STMA did most of its damage on the ground, running for 348 yards. Keefer led the way with 182 yards and three touchdowns. Bennett was next in line with 85 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to his ground game, Bennett also had an interception for the Knights. Logan Jans also picked a pass in the game.

Head coach Jared Essler said that the community came together for Homecoming after not being able to do so last season.

“We love our student section and our community,” he said. “They really rally around us; it’s kind of a special place and you can see it on nights like Homecoming.”

Bennett said that the team really wanted to win this game for the seniors.

“Overall, it was a great team win,” he said. “We played as a team, we fought as a team, and we battled through it.”

The Knights travel to Maple Grove for a showdown with the Crimson on Friday night.

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