Football: Stuart lifts Suring over Lena/STAA

Eagles move to 2-0 in conference play
Suring’s Kegyn Lambrecht, left, prepares to make a move as Lena/STAA’s Ethan Russell closes in during a MONLPC-8 contest on Thursday in Lena.

Morgan Rode | NEW MediaLena/STAA’s Logan Shallow throws a pass during a MONLPC-8 clash against Suring on Thursday in Lena.

Morgan Rode | NEW Media
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

LENA — Logan Stuart rushed for three touchdowns and the Suring High School football team overcame a heap of penalties to earn an 18-6 MONLPC-8 road victory over the Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy co-op on Thursday.

The first half saw both teams possessing the ball for long stretches, trying to wear the opposition down. It was a gutsy call by Suring coach Mitch Taylor that changed the complexion of the game.

Up 6-0 and facing a fourth-and-1 from its own 10-yard line late in the first half, Taylor decided to roll the dice and put the ball into the hands of Stuart.

The move paid off in a big way, as the Eagles’ offensive line created a sizable hole for Stuart to run through and past the first down marker. But the senior didn’t stop there, breaking through a couple of tackle attempts before sprinting the remainder of the field for a 90-yard touchdown.

“We gutted one out. I mean, fourth-and-1 on the 10 and we get a 90-yard touchdown. That really was the game right there for us,” said Taylor.

“Yeah (on it being a big decision to go for it), but when I go out there and I go, ‘Let’s punt it’ and I got Logan going, ‘I’ll get it.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, I trust you.’ And that’s the thing, he’s earned it, he’s sacrificed four years — he’s been playing since (he was) a freshman and at a high level. I kind of figured actually it might go because just his determination, he did that last week too.”

The crucial play gave Suring a 12-0 lead, and the Eagles’ defense held up in the final minute-plus to take that lead into halftime.

Suring punted on its first possession of the second half, but got the ball right back when junior Kegyn Lambrecht picked off a pass to set the visitors up at the Lena/STAA 25-yard line.

Just two plays later, senior quarterback Jayden Geniesse scampered into the end zone form 15 yards out, but a holding penalty wiped out the score. The Eagles were eventually able to get into the end zone on a 1-yard run by Stuart.

Penalties hindered Suring all night, so despite moving to 2-0 in conference play, the Eagles know they will need to clean things up if they hope to continue piling up the wins.

“We definitely battled hard in it. We really need to improve on our game a lot from this (game), penalty wise, blocking wise, just round off better as a team. But I mean, we fought hard until the end and that’s what drove us to this win,” said Stuart, who opened the scoring with a 4-yard rushing score in the second quarter.

“I think all of know that we have a lot more in us. It’s still good to know that we can get a W even while playing bad,” said Geniesse.

Suring’s defense rose the challenge on multiple occasions after being put in bad situations.

In addition to their interception, the Eagles halted co-op drives inside the 30-yard line four times, forced three three-and-outs and made two fourth-down stops.

Lena/STAA’s lone touchdown came on the final play of the contest, as senior Simon Gard scrambled into the end zone from six yards out as time expired.

Lena/STAA was flagged after the play, so the officials called the game as the extra point or two-point try would not have determined which team won.

Despite a second straight loss to open the season, Lena/STAA co-coach Dale Lange was pleased with the effort shown against Suring.

“I’m happy with what we’ve improved on but I know we need to get the errors cleaned up,” said Lange. “We need to hit our blocking assignments a little better. On some of our pass routes, we missed some of our open receivers at times. But everything is correctable, but I thought we looked a lot better.”

In week three, the co-op will hit the road to battle Wabeno/Laona on Friday, while Suring hosts Gibraltar on Friday. Both games are slated for 7 p.m. starts.

Suring 0 12 6 0

Lena/STAA 0 0 0 6

Second quarter

S: Logan Stuart 4-yard run (pass failed), 4:15

S: Stuart 90-yard run (run failed), 1:22

Third quarter

S: Stuart 1-yard run (run failed), 8:58

Fourth quarter

L/STAA: Simon Gard 6-yard run, 0:00