Section 1AAAA football: Byron wins like a movie script, KM enters section final – Reuters Sports News


STEWARTVILLE – Ben Halder turned to his players immediately after scoring a touchdown in overtime and let them make the decision: do you want to kick the point after the touchdown to tie the score and force a second overtime, or do you want to go for a 2-point conversion and victory?

Trailing by one point to take on Stewartville in a Division One, Class AAAA semi-final football game, the Byron Bears veterans weren’t shy about responding.

“The kids said they wanted to go for two,” Halder said. “I said ‘OK, that’s your program. Let’s go for two.'”

The Bears had just thrown a quarterback sweep to their right. One of their assistant coaches upstairs in the coaches box noticed the Stewartville running back linebacker selling out to chase the ball carrier. So Halder and his assistant coaches had a very quick chat with quarterback Kale Robinson.

“We told him to take a step to his right and then quickly come back to his left,” Halder said.

That’s what Robinson did on the two-point conversion attempt. The Bears quarterback didn’t fool every defender in Stewartville, but he did fool the good guys. Robinson sprinted all the way to his left and stretched for the pylon in the front corner of the end zone at the last second.

The on-site official immediately threw his arms up in the air, signaling a successful try and a 22-21 victory for Byron – a win that included a comeback that even a Hollywood screenwriter might find far-fetched.

Halder doesn’t really remember what happened next, other than his players on the sideline near him sprinting to the end zone in celebration, then sprinting to the student section of the Bears to continue the celebration.

Byron, who started his season 0-5 — a streak that included narrow one-scoring losses to Winona and Stewartville — will now play for the Section 1AAAA Championship at 7 p.m. Friday at Mayo High School. The Bears will face another rival in that one — and another rival they played a solid game against in the regular season. Byron will meet Kasson-Mantorville in the section final; KM beat the Bears 31-21 in the season opener for both teams.

But the Bears (4-6 overall) chose to spend time Saturday thinking back to their stunning victory from behind.

As if the winning play wasn’t amazing enough, consider the following:

• Byron trailed 14-0 with less than 3 minutes remaining in regulation time.

• Robinson threw a touchdown pass to Matt Frigaard with about two and a half minutes left to put the Bears on the board.

• Byron then recovered an open kick to regain possession with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

• The Bears traveled to 1 in Stewartville, where they faced a fourth and a goal. They converted again, Robinson throwing another TD pass to James Durst.

• Byron then needed a two-point conversion, which Robinson completed on Kylan Brakke to level the score 14-14 and force OT.

• Stewartville scored in the first game of overtime and converted the PAT to go up 21-14.

It set the stage for an incredible finish, capped by Robinson’s 2-point conversion, giving the Bears their only lead in the game when it mattered most.

Robinson finished with 181 passing yards and two touchdowns, while Jake Thompson rushed for 63 yards on 19 carries for the Bears. Durst finished with six catches for 79 yards and a score, while Frigaard had two catches for 27 yards and Brakke had two catches for 21 yards.


Byron 0-0-0-14-8 — 22

Stewartville 7-0-0-7-7 — 21

KASSON — The Donovans were all over the field and all over the score box here Saturday afternoon.

Matt Donovan and AJ Donovan contributed to 32 of Kasson-Mantorville’s 45 points as the No. 2-seeded KoMets cruised to a 45-14 victory over third-seeded Winona in a semi-final of the 1AAAA section on Saturday.

The KoMets (6-3 overall) will now face rival Byron at 7 p.m. Friday at Mayo High School in the 1AAAA Division Championship game.

KM quarterback Matt Donovan and the KoMets offense continue to rack up yards and points. Donovan led the KoMets’ optional offense to 501 total yards, including 465 yards rushing.

And what Donovan didn’t, Anthony Moe-Tucker did. The mighty senior rushed 18 times for 197 yards (10.9 yards per carry) and a touchdown for KM. Donovan added 20 carries for 176 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Donovan also passed for 36 yards and a TD.

The KoMets used 10 different running backs — Michael Hoff also scored a rushing TD, while Aidan Smith landed a catch for an 11-yard TD — in the win.

Winona only managed 201 yards of attack.

The score was tied 7-7 after one quarter, but KM beat the Winhawks 17-0 in the second to take a 24-7 halftime lead.

In addition to Matt Donovan’s big day, AJ Donovan threw six extra points and a 30-yard field goal.

The KoMets will now be looking for their second consecutive Section Championship – and their second straight win against rival Byron in the Section Title game. KM beat the Bears 7-0 in the Section 1AAAA Finals last year.

KM 45, Winona 14

Winona 7-0-0-7 — 14

KM 7-17-14-7 — 45


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