Sartell head coach John Ross said before Friday nights match-up with St. Cloud Tech that the Tigers would be an explosive threat and a great challenge for his football team. Afterwards he was all smiles as his squad defeated Tech 31-21 to avenge a 20-7 loss last year.
It was no secret that Sartell wanted to run the football in the contest and that was the case to start things off as converted running back Luke Sweeter carried it one yard to grab the early 7-0 lead at 9:15 of the first quarter.
After being held scoreless in the first, Tech finally hit stride in the second quarter as senior quarterback Tye Dill made things happen with his legs. After playing last season as a wide receiver, Dill showed his playmaking ability with two long runs to set up a 14 yard touchdown pass to Aaron Fruth in the corner of the end-zone. The pass tied things at seven and jumpstarted an offense that put up 28 points at Brainerd last week. Tech took a 14-7 lead at 1:46 in the second when Tye Dill finished a long drive off with a one yard quarterback sneak.
So Tech held the lead at the half right? Wrong.
Sartell struck with just 22.5 seconds to go in the half on a 31 yard touchdown pass to sophomore Nick Rengel, knotting things up at 14 at the break.
After a relentless effort by Sartell to close out the first half its defense couldnít stop Tech receiver Collin Stinogel as he corralled in a 45 yard catch to give Tech the momentum early in the third quarter. The touchdown put the Tigers up 21-14 and they looked to make it even more before an interception by Sartell halted a Tech drive and turned things over to the Sartell offense.
With offensive production in high demand, Sartell didnít find the end-zone but split the uprights on a 26 yard field goal that narrowed the Tech lead to 21-17 at the end of the third quarter.
Much like last week at River Falls, Sartell played its best football in the fourth quarter. Full-back Dan Weihrauch ran 14 yards to give his squad a 24-21 lead with five minutes to go in the contest.
With Tech looking to regain the lead, Sartell linebacker Rob Gabrielson made what may have been the play of the game as he intercepted a Tye Dill pass and set up a game clinching eight yard run by Nick Rengel for his second touchdown of the game.
Chilly temperatures, a rivalry renewal and for John Rossís squad, a 2-0 start to the 2006 season.