Kingsland offense comes alive, but miscues lead to loss


James Howard runs in for a Kingsland touchdown against Wabasha-Kellogg. CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
By : 
CHAD SMITH
SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE

There’s a cliché in sports that says, “There’s a fine line between winning and losing.” That’s something the young Kingsland football team is learning as the season progresses.

The Knights dropped to 0-5 (0-4 sub-district) on the season after losing at home to Wabasha-Kellogg 46-26 on Friday night. Three Kingsland miscues led to 18 quick points for the Falcons (1-4, 1-4 sub-district) on a night when the Knights offense took a big step forward.

“We produced almost 350 yards of total offense against Wabasha-Kellogg,” said Kingsland coach Brent Stinson. “We established the running game as Dallas Jones almost hit 100 yards rushing (finished with 98). A couple other backs did some good things as well. It’s an exciting step forward for the offense.

“There are certainly some things we have to clean up yet,” he added, “including footwork and alignment on both sides of the ball. The good thing is that the mistakes we were making earlier in the season are beginning to get cleaned up. We really see the growth coming and that excites us as a staff.”

Stinson says it is a process for the team, which only plays three seniors, and sometimes not even that many. He said the on-field execution was much better, given the fact that the offensive production took a big jump from the previous four games.

The Knights finished with a season-high 342 yards of total offense (132 passing, 210 running). Junior running back Dallas Jones led the team with those 98 of those 210 rushing yards on 22 carries, including one touchdown run. He had some good help as Nick Ramaker added 55 yards on just seven carries, Lucas Howard added five carries for 10 yards and a TD, with James Howard adding a 22-yard TD run on his only carry of the game.

The Knights passing game had a combination of big plays and miscues, finishing with a combined seven of 23 passing for 132 yards and one touchdown, but included four interceptions. William Jahn completed five of 16 passes for 68 yards and two interceptions. Ramaker was two of seven through the air for 64 yards, one TD, and two interceptions.

“Things are getting better and that only comes with on-field experience,” Stinson said. “That being said, we had four interceptions and one fumble, so that’s five lost opportunities. Two of those interceptions were pick-sixes and they blocked a punt for a touchdown. If you take away those 18 points and we score on a drive in which we stalled out, adding six points to our score, we win the game.

“That’s why I firmly believe we are a climbing program,” he said. “We’re young, but the process is getting better. We are working tirelessly to clean it up and it’s going to get better. For example, we’re playing three-or-four different grade levels up front and it takes time for the line to gel. We lost our starting center to injury and it takes time to recover from that.”

Run blocking up is one of the big keys to improvement for the remainder of the regular season. Stinson said keeping proper blocking technique consistently during running plays and sustaining those blocks to the whistle is key.  

Junior wide receiver Ashton Kohn led the team with two catches for 51 yards and Reid Kruegel added a 41-yard TD catch on his only reception of the game.

Kruegel also led the Kingsland defense with seven solo tackles, one assist, and one interception. Nick Ramaker added four solo tackles and two assists.

Schedule

The Knights have an hour-long bus ride ahead on Friday night as they travel to Winona Cotter They’re also a young team that graduated 13 seniors from last season’s team. Ramblers fullback Austin Hicks is the team’s top rusher, getting 31 carries, 139 yards, and one TD against Rushford-Peterson in a loss to the Trojans last week.

“That’s our first concern, shutting down their senior fullback,” Stinson said. “They bring back a couple of offensive guards and some nice size along the line of scrimmage. They also have a lot of inexperience like we do, starting a freshman quarterback and running back. We have to get off the bus and be ready to go.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on Friday night, Oct. 5. 

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