Vikings football passes up key to the city

The Vikings didn’t claim the key—again.

The Augustana football team fell short, 51-13, on Saturday, Sept. 22 after trying to stop long-time rival University of Sioux Falls’ two-year streak of taking home the Key to the City.

Junior wide receiver Drew Reinschmidt runs the ball down the field. Photo by Marcus Asmus.

Head coach Jerry Olszewski believes that it was the early mistakes that made it tougher for the Vikings in the long run.

“We missed tackles,” Olszewski said after the game. “We had opportunities to score in the first half that we didn’t do. We couldn’t have really played a worse first half.”

Junior wide receiver Drew Reinschmidt believes that the loss is just a temporary setback.

“We just need to finish,” he said. “The scheme was right, the guys were right, I mean, I believe in every single one of the guys out there, we just need to finish better and execute. That’s on us, we’ll get better.”

The Cougars got an early start on the Vikings, coming out with a 17-point lead in the first quarter that consisted of two touchdowns and a 37-yard field goal. Augie fought back in the second quarter working its way to the 28-yard line, where redshirt freshman kicker/punter Luis Guarita sent a three-point kick through the goal post.

But the Cougars took over from there. Immediately after Augie’s point-earning drive, USF hit hard with a touchdown and followed it up another that came from an intercepted pass from sophomore quarterback Kyle Saddler, bringing its score up to 30.

The Vikings stumbled through a two-minute long drive that ended when Saddler sent a three-yard pass to junior wide receiver Brett Shepley in the end zone. Guarita followed with a successful field goal attempt, bringing Augie’s score to 10. Things were looking up for the Vikings at this point until USF defensive back Parker Gregston intercepted a pass from Saddler and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown.

Sophomore quarterback Kyle Saddler looks for an open receiver. Photo by Marcus Asmus.

With 32 seconds left until halftime, Saddler found his groove. He successfully completed a 25-yard pass to Shepley and a 21-yard pass to senior tight end Chet Peerenboom, giving the Vikings enough distance and time to allow Guarita to finish the drive by successfully kicking a field goal. This ended the half 37-13 with the Cougars in the lead.

After a scoreless third quarter for both teams, USF secured its spot as champions with two more touchdowns in the final quarter, bringing the final score to 51-13.

“[The Cougars] play well together, they’re physical and with the right balance stuff they do, they had a good plan and it’s the same plan that we worked all week,” Olszewski said.

Offensively, senior running back Rudolph Sinflorant led the team in rushing yards with a net total of 103 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Nickel Meyers led the team receiving with a total of 131 yards. The Vikings had a total of 121 rushing yards and 378 passing yards for the day.

While the offense could have played better in Olszewski’s eyes, he believes that the team performed well defensively.

“I’m really proud of our defense, how we came back after those first five series with a field goal and a couple three scores,” Olszewski said. “That took really good football.”

Defensively, senior linebacker Kirby Hora led the Vikings with six solo tackles and four assists. Defensive back Michael Kloza followed with five solo tackles and four assists.

Though the key to the city series started in 2012, USF and Augustana have been rivals on and off since 1922. The Cougars have won 20 of the 26 total games, including this one.

Next week Augie will hit the road to take on the University of Minnesota Crookston in Crookston, Minnesota. The game begins at 1 p.m.

Win or lose, Reinschmidt believes that the fans played an important role in the game’s atmosphere.

“It’s electric,” he said. “It’s amazing. We appreciate our fan support so much. The electricity was unbelievable. Keep coming out. We’ll get better, I promise.”

Junior wide receiver Brett Shepley reaches for a pass from Kyle Saddler. Photo by Marcus Asmus.


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