By Oscar Hansen
TYLER – On an absolutely beautiful night to watch a High School Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights hosted the Springfield Tigers. Springfield finished last season as Class A runners-up, losing to Minneota in the Championship game. They return several starters from last years team, and they have started this sea- son strong with victories in their first two games. RTR was coming off their first win of the season against the Wabasso Rabbits after a season opening loss to Minneota, and they were hoping to maintain their momentum by springing an upset against a powerful Tiger team. It was a surprisingly close first half, with RTR holding a 16-15 lead, but the Tigers wore them down in the second half and won going away by a final score of 48-22.
RTR received the opening kickoff, but they were unable to move the ball and were forced to punt. On their first play from scrimmage, quarterback Jakob Nachreiner found Carter Olson on a short pass, and he ran it 57 yards for a touchdown. The extra
point was good, and the score read 7-0 just three minutes into the game. RTR took the kickoff, and after a couple of incompletions, Sam Pidde picked off a pass to give the ball back to the Tigers. But consecutive sacks by Colton Appel and Luke Schreurs turned the ball over to RTR on downs. RTR quarterback Blake Christianson hit Drew Werk- man for a 17 yard completion, and that same combination clicked for a 27 yard gain to the two yard line. Christianson then scored on a quarterback keeper, and Luke Schreurs caught the 2-point conversion to give RTR an 8-7 lead.
Springfield received the kickoff, and a couple of good runs by Sam Rummel put the ball on the 45 yard line. Blake Christianson then intercepted a Nachreiner pass and re- turned it to the 45 yard line. Schreurs then hauled in a 26 yard reception, followed by a personal foul, putting the ball on the 14-yard line. Schreurs then made a leaping grab in the end zone for a 19 yard touchdown, and with a Werkman PAT reception, RTR had a surprising 16-7 lead.
Springfield got the ball back but was forced to punt, and the ball rolled to 1-yard line. RTR was not able to get a first down, and a punt put the ball on the 43 yard line. A 20 yard run put the ball at the 23, and Olson scored his second touchdown of the game by weaving through the defense for a 19-yard touchdown reception. Sam Rummel ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion, and that made the score 16- 15, with RTR going into the locker room at halftime with that 16-15 lead.
Springfield received the second half kickoff and was unable to get a first down, so they punted the ball and it was returned to the 30 yard line. On the second play of the drive, Sam Pidde intercepted the ball and ran it back 32 yard for a touchdown. The PAT was no good, but Springfield had the lead back at 21-16, RTR went three and out, and Springfield took the punt to the 47 yard line. Brayden Sturm caught a 42 yard pass, putting the ball on the 5-yard line. He then finished the drive with a five yard touchdown reception, and with the extra point, Springfield now lead 28-16.
The Knights were again forced to punt on their next possession, and the Tigers
took over at the 46 yard line. RTR held them for three downs, but on fourth down, Sturm caught a 33 yard pass for another touchdown. The PAT made the score 35-16. Luke Schreurs took the kick- off 24 yards, but the Tigers defense stiffened and RTR was forced to punt. After a couple of short runs, Carter Olson scored his third touch- down with a 40 yard reception, and with the PAT, it was now 42-16.
Starting the fourth quarter, Isaac Dagel caught an eight yard pass, but RTR was forced to punt, and the Tigers took over at the 45-yard line. After an Ashton Toll 21 yard run, Olson scored his fourth touchdown, making the score 48-16. RTR returned the ball to the 30-yard line, and a penalty put the ball on the 39 yard line. Sophomore Colton Thomsen was a one- man wrecking crew for RTR, and after a series of good gains, he scored from seven yards out to make the score 48-22. The Tigers then ran the clock out to gain a hard-fought victory.
Springfield Head Coach Adam Meyer said after the game, “We started the game a little sluggish, and made some uncharacteristic errors, but I am really proud of the way we came back in the second half. We played really well the second half, Jakob Nachreiner really took over in the second half. He is a Senior and not a lot has to be said to him. He under- stands what need to be done, and he did just that.”
RTR Head Coach Darren Baartman was proud of his team’s efforts, saying “We talked to the kids about competing and playing hard, and we did that. In the first half, we did some really good things, but in the second half, they wore us down and they got some big plays on us. But I am proud of our kids, and the effort that they put in against a really good team.”
For Springfield, Jakob Nachreiner threw for six touchdowns, with Olson getting four of them, and Sturm getting the other two. Sam Rummel ran 14 times for 84 yard in the win.
For the Knights, Blake Christianson ran for one touchdown, Luke Schreurs caught three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown with a two-point conversion, and Colton Thomsen rushed seven times for 51 yards and a touchdown.
RTR is now 1-2 on the season, and travels to Mar- tin County West next Friday night. Springfield in now 3-0.