Austin Big Plays Doom Faribault Football Home Opener
The Austin Packers scored on a long pass and long run in a 19-12 victory over the Faribault Falcons at Bruce Smith Field Friday night. Kickoff time temperature was 68 degrees. Awesome for August 30th. No extra water breaks needed.
The Falcons started the game with the ball on their 31 yard line and could not move due to the tremendous penetration by the Packers. They had no yards in the first series. Faribault punter junior Taylor Day ran to his right and kicked a low line drive that was caught by a Austin player less than 10 yards downfield.
The Packers set up at the 35 yard line of Faribault and did not score. The Falcons were stymied on their second drive also and gave the ball back to Austin at the 36 yard line of Faribault.
Austin senior quarterback Eli Johnson hit tight end junior Ethan Owens for a 16 yard touchdown pass with 4:24 to go in the first quarter. Freshman kicker Joe Ewing split the uprights to give the Packers a 7-0 lead.
Faribault brought junior Nick Ehlers in to play quarterback. The 6'6 201 pounder sparked the offense with a 13 yard run and some nice passes to senior Nick Flom. With 9:47 to go in the half junior Alex Gardner scored on a 9 yard run up the middle. The extra point kick was missed giving the Packers a 7-6 lead.
Faribault's next drive started on their 32 yard line and Ehlers appeared to be getting into a rhythym with some nice run plays mixed in for Gardner. With 3:37 to go in the half Gardner capped the drive with a run up the middle, nifty spin move out of a tackle and powered his way the final few yards for a 12 yard touchdown run. The extra point pass attempt was not successful. Faribault led 12-7.
The lead would not last long. Starting at their 33 yard line with 3:27 to go in the half Austin drove down the field but appeared to be stopped. On a third down and 27 the Packers Eli Johnson connected on an improbable 52 yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Moses Idris. The point after kick was blocked.
The score at halftime Austin 13 Faribault 12.
The Packers got the ball to start the second half and following a nice kickoff return started at the Falcons 45 yard line. The drive consisted of two runs by senior running back Andy Chesak. The second run covered 33 yards, with 11:54 to go in the third quarter Austin had a 19-12 lead.
With 4:38 to go in the game Faribault had a nice drive that started on their 20 yard line and got all the way down to the Austin 21 but they couldn't punch it in.
Faribault had 218 yards on 58 plays while Austin collected 234 yards on 45 plays.
The Packers had 77 yards rushing, 157 passing. The Falcons 126 yards passing, 92 yards rushing.
Faribault finished the game with 12 first downs. Austin had 10. The Packers were 3 of 11 on third down conversions and the Falcons 4 for 18.
Nick Ehlers threw 23 times connecting on 8 for 110 yards. Starter, senior Bryce Nolen was 2 of 6 for 16 yards. Alex Gardner ran 14 times for 56 yards and two scores.
Chesak finished with 80 yards on 15 carries and had a touchdown for Austin.
Nick Flom led the Falcons receiving corps with 4 catches for 52 yards. Owens was the leading receiver in terms of catches for Austin with 4 receptions for 49 yards.
Austin had 10 tackles for loss in the game. Faribault's defense 11 tackles for loss.
Our Faribault State Farm Insurance Agents Falcons players of the game were 6'5 268 pound sophomore Devin Lockerby, 5'10 171 pound sophomore Zach Slinger on defense with 2 sacks each. 5'11 157 pound junior Jake Flom on special teams with a blocked punt. 6'0 207 pound Alex Gardner on offense.
Faribault travels to Winona next Friday with coverage on POWER 96 Radio 95.9 FM beginning 6:45 p.m.