The Mayer Lutheran football team brought out a powerful run game Friday night when taking on New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, grinding out 305 yards rushing in a 33-12 win.

“It was nice to get our first win of the season,” said coach Dean Aurich. “We stuck with a running attack most of the game, and had great success in the first half. We got out to a 33-0 lead and played a lot of younger athletes in the second half.”

The Crusaders had four runners combine for the 300-yard performance, as Sam Dennis, Dylan Nelson, Jack Grimsley and Cole Neitzel took 46 carries for 305 yards (6.4 yards per carry). Nelson ran for 101 yards (13 carries, 7.8 avg.), Cole Neitzel neared the century mark with 91 yards (18 carries, 5.1 avg.), Dennis raced out to 74 yards on just five carries (14.8 avg.) and Grimsley pitched in 39 yards (10 carries, 3.9 avg.). Nelson found paydirt twice, while Grimsley and Neitzel also scored touchdowns in the win.

Nelson punched the ball in from 7 and 5 yards out to put the Crusaders up 13-0 after one quarter of play, then Grimsley scored from 7 yards out and Conner Olsen connected with Caleb Olsen for a 1 yard touchdown pass to put Mayer Lutheran up 26-0 at the break. Cole Neitzel then scored the final Crusader touchdown in the third on a 3 yard run.

Connor Olsen was 6/7 on passes for 128 yards and a score. Teigan Martin caught three passes for 106 yards (35.3 avg.), Nelson caught one pass for 12 yards and Caleb Olsen had two catches for 10 yards and a touchdown.

While the offense was clicking for Mayer Lutheran, the Panthers struggled to get a rhythm as the Crusader defense swarmed the quarterback for eight sacks, forcing an interception and 11 incompletions. Tyler Neitzel tallied four sacks, Isaac Hahn had two, Cole Neitzel and Caden Robbins each had one, while Grimsley had the interception.

“Our D was aggressive and pressured the QB all night long,” said Aurich.

Tyler Neitzel led the team in tackles with 11, eight solo. Hahn had six tackles and two tackles for loss.

While the Crusaders look to get several players back this week, they also lost a few to injury.

“Unfortunately we had two injuries at the tailback position,” said Aurich. “Sam Dennis broke a bone in his ankle and will most likely miss 4-6 weeks. This season has presented some very large challenges. We need to keep working on a positive attitude and work ethic and hopefully we can become a stronger team.”

Next up is a very strong 2-0 St Clair/Mankato Loyola team. The road game is set for Saturday at 2 p.m.

“We will need to eliminate mistakes and play as a team to have success,” said Aurich.

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