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Paynesville Press - September 3, 2003

Crusaders pound Dogs, 41-6

By Coach Kyle Nehowig

Paynesville at St. John'sThe Paynesville Bulldogs football team started their season on Friday at St. John's University against the St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful setting for a football game, but that was about all that was good for the Bulldogs.

The game opened with the Crusaders driving deep into Bulldogs' territory, but on fourth down, senior defensive end Pat Utsch picked up a Crusader fumble and ran 87 yards for the first score of the game for the Bulldogs. Paynesville did not convert the two-point conversion, so the score stood at 6-0.

The Bulldogs played their first game of the season against St. Cloud Cathedral on Friday afternoon at St. John's University.

After Utsch's score, the Crusader aerial attack took charge, as senior quarterback Adam Koopmeiners threw for 365 yards and five touchdowns for Cathedral.

Cathedral scored on their next possession on a five-yard pass play to take a 7-6 lead.

The Paynesville defense could not find a way to stop Cathedral in the first quarter, as the Dogs' offense was on the field for only three plays in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Crusaders converted another scoring drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to increase their lead to 14-6.

Paynesville then had their best offensive series of the game, driving down inside the Cathedral ten-yard line, but on a fourth-down-and-four play Bulldogs' ninth grade running back Randy Leyendecker was stopped two feet short of the first down on the four-yard line.

stiff arm Three plays later, on third down, Cathedral completed a short pass over the middle, and their receiver sprinted 91 yards for a touchdown, giving Cathedral a 21-6 lead at the half. In four plays, the Bulldogs had gone from a potentially game-tying scoring drive to another Crusader touchdown pass.

Junior fullback Mike Mueller (49) attempts to stiff arm a Cathedral defender during a second half run.

In the third quarter, the Bulldogs coughed up the ball on a fumble, and the Crusaders took advantage of the turnover, scoring again on a 30-yard touchdown pass.

The Bulldogs' offense still could not get on track. Without a long drive, the Dogs' defense had no time to catch their breath.

The Bulldogs' defense just could not put any pressure on the Crusader quarterback, and they also had many blown coverages in the secondary that led to a lot of easy completions for the Crusaders. Cathedral scored again in the third quarter, with senior wide receiver Ryan Sufka catching his second 30-yard touchdown pass of the quarter.

The fourth quarter was much of the same as Cathedral scored once more, this time on a 33-yard touchdown run. That made the final score 41-6.

In all, the Crusaders threw for 365 yards and had 508 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs had yards of total offense: 136 yards rushing and 49 yards passing.

The Bulldogs (0-1) will have to play a lot better defense if they hope to beat New London-Spicer on Friday. The defense did not look good in their preseason scrimmage at Benson and looked even worse against Cathedral on Friday. Hopefully the Bulldogs can rebound from the loss and play a much better game this week.

The Bulldogs will play New London-Spicer on Friday in New London at 7 p.m.

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