If you’re familiar with the St. Peter football program, you know that the team struggled to find itself last year. Some would say there is nowhere to go but up after a dismal 1-8 2016 campaign. After just two games, the Saints have already equaled their win total from last season and are taking the correct steps to make this program a winning one once again.
St. Peter opened up the season against 3A powerhouse Sibley East. The final result was a Sibley East victory, but St. Peter showed strides that they did not show the previous year. The Saints kept the game close well into the third quarter (15-13) but then lost control in the fourth when turnovers became a major issue and Sibley East pulled away making the final score 29-13. Just one year ago however, things may have been vastly different and the game may have got out of hand and possibly been over by the end of the first half. This game may have given a certain confidence to St. Peter leading into their home opener, a matchup against Albert Lea, who had lost 70-0 against Marshall the same week.
The Saints test against Albert Lea could be described as a defensive coordinator’s dream. There was hard-hitting, turnovers forced and few points scored. In fact, the Saints first four possessions resulted in one fumble and three punts. They finally found the end zone on a five-yard run by Alex Chadwick. Jack Emley, who tied the school record for interceptions in a game with three, forced his first one of the game late in the half to set up a field goal for the Saints just before the break making the score 10-0 heading into the locker rooms.
St. Peter did not let up in the second half. They stopped most of what Albert Lea was trying to accomplish and forced a couple more interceptions. The Saints eventually padded their lead to 17-0 putting the game essentially out of hand only to have hard-running half back Blake Makela deliver the dagger with the score pushing the lead to where it would stay, 23-0. Although Albert Lea is not the toughest opponent the Saints will face all season, learning how to win is key for such a young team.
Going forward, St. Peter is going to try to build off of a nice defensive performance in which they only gave up 83 yards of total offense. The team’s next game is at Belle Plaine High School. The Tigers come into the game with an 0-2 record with losses against Tri-City United (25-3) and Marshall (58-0). The Saints are looking to grab two wins in-a-row.