The Augustana Vikings football team came out of Viking days singing the Augustana Fight Song after a defeating the University of Mary Marauders 48-16 at Kirkeby-Over Stadium.
“It was a great team win today,” coach Jerry Olszewski said. “Like our coaches say, we left some meat on the bone in this one, but (I am) really proud of our kids.”
The Vikings started out strong. Sophomore defensive back Luke Fritsch began the first quarter with a huge 39-yard return which was followed by a 42-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Kyle Saddler to senior tight end Chet Peerenboom. Sophomore running back Rudy Sinflorant finished the drive punching into the end zone from the 1-yard line.
With 13:10 left in the first quarter, Viking spirits were high, and from there they only got higher. After being trapped inside the 20, the Marauders tried for a punt, but it was blocked by freshman defensive tackle Sam Roble and senior linebacker Isaac Weber recovered it in the end zone.
It only took one more successful drive to close out the quarter. After the Vikings made it up to the 15-yard line, freshman running back Braiden Petersen took the ball to the end zone ending the quarter with Augustana in a huge 21-0 lead.
The beginning of the second quarter was nearly as exciting as the first for Augustana’s large Viking Days crowd. A trick play involving both Saddler and Sinflorant ended with a pass from Saddler to junior wide receiver Nickel Meyers who ran it in for a 43-yard touchdown. Augie collected 300 total yards in the first half.
Early in the third quarter, Augustana’s defense got a touchdown when junior defensive back Kenneth Griffin intercepted a pass at the 49-yard line. Later in the quarter, however, the Marauders got points on the board with a field goal from the 39-yard line. At this point, the Augustana still had a strong 35-3 lead.
Augustana started the fourth quarter with a drive that ended with a 20-yard pass from Saddler to Meyers for a touchdown. But on the following Augie drive, freshman running back Shahan Ameen fumbled the ball. U-Mary recovered and ran 49-yards for a touchdown.
Augustana still had control of the field. On the 6-yard line, junior quarterback Zach Masoli, after not finding an open receiver, tucked the ball and ran, somersaulting over defenders into the end zone.
At the end of the game, the Marauders decided that they weren’t going out without a fight. After a 9-play drive, they made it to the one-yard line where wide receiver Danny Kittner caught a pass from quarterback Jason Hoekstra in the end zone.
This drive was enough to bring the Marauder’s score up, but by the end of the game, the Vikings remained at the top with a final score of 48-16.
Coach Olszewski said he was proud of not only the team’s offense but also its defense and special teams.
“Defense has been getting better and better and better and they certainly raised the bar today,” he said. “Special teams, especially in those two units, was really good to see, you know, our punt block unit go.”
Defensively, the team played well with three interceptions for a total of 93 yards and four individual sacks. Five players had an individual total of five tackles: junior defensive back Michael Kloza, senior linebacker Isaac Weber, senior linebacker Kirby Hora, sophomore linebacker Chase Balliette and junior linebacker Kyle Theis. This is the first time that has happened all season.
Offensively, Saddler led the team in passing with a total of 277 yards. yards rushing. Meyers led the team in receiving with a total of 93 yards, and Petersen led the team rushing with a total of 46 yards. Overall, the team totaled 86 yards rushing.
Coach Olszewski said that though it had an overall strong team performance, the team definitely has some things that need to be improved, including third-down efficiency.
“Our guys really practice hard and I think all three phases did enough today to highlight what we’re capable of doing and still know that we’ve got to get some betterment in all of those areas too,” he said.
Olszewski is glad that some of the younger team members got a chance to show their abilities on the field.
“[We] got to play just about everybody in this game and that’s a special thing, too, because these kids practice hard every day and play their tails off and for them to get the opportunity to play in front of a homecoming crowd is such a special deal,” he said.
Nickel Meyers believes that overall the game was a good team victory.
“Everybody played well,” Meyers said. “I’m not happy with all of the 3-and-outs, but that’s everybody’s fault, but overall, yeah, it’s a good victory.”
Meyers said that the team’s goal is to go 8-3 for the season.
“Not a lot of programs have gone 8-3 at Augie, so that’s been the message and we’re just going to take it one game at a time,” he said. “We’ve got Concordia next week, so we’re going to be worried about them.”
The Vikings will travel to St. Paul, Minnesota, next Saturday where they will take on Concordia-St. Paul. The game is set to start at 12 p.m.
View the homecoming game photo gallery below. Click to enlarge.