Kingsland’s massive season continued with two convincing wins to start the 2023 playoffs. Matt Kolling’s Knights marauded to their first Section title game since 2003. Versus Lanesboro (8-seed, 1-7) in the quarterfinals, #5 in 9-Man Kingsland (1-seed, 8-0) scored twice in each of the first two quarters to led 26-0 at halftime, then built a 46-0 lead through three stanzas. Holding Lanesboro to under 100 yards total offense, Kingsland prevailed by that score. It was their second win over the Burros in less than a week. Kingsland won the season finale between the two teams 57-12. Beau Wiersma matched a season-high with five rushing TDs (18-194 yards rushing). Kaaleem Reiland (6-11, 97 yards passing, 5-16, TD rushing) and Ayden Howard (4-80 receiving) helped on offense. Defensively, Sam Howard had an interception return TD while Parker Johnson chalked up a pair of sacks. The junior upped his total to 12 ½ on the season. Lanesboro finishes at 1-8. The following Saturday afternoon, Houston (4-seed, 5-4) came to town for some snow football. The Hurricanes beat Southland 24-20 in a 1A quarterfinal (See “Football Playoffs – 9-Man Section 1” for stats).
Houston broke slowly early on, as the Knights first two drives each were long. Their first took 12 plays. It canvassed 57 yards and was capped by a Wiersma 3-yard TD run. A 24-yard Lee Klunder run then got Houston in Kingsland’s end, but the series ended on downs. Kingsland then went 71 yards in 10 plays. A Reiland to Sam Snitker 12-yard TD pass (that probably was incomplete) capped the series. Each score was pointed with a conversion, as Kingsland went ahead 16-0. After a Hurricane drive ended by turnover in Kingsland’s end, Houston broke more quickly defensively. A Reiland to Wiersma 81-yard screen pass TD plus conversion made it 24-0. A Hurricane fumble, one of four ‘Cane turnovers, then led to Wiersma 26-yard TD run. At the half, the Knights led 31-0. Their lead was 38-8 after three quarters. Houston had three fourth quarter scores to make the tally more respectable. Team double-K moved on to the section final by 45-28 victory. Wiersma (13-109, 2 TDs rushing, 2-85, TD receiving, 67-yard kick-off return TD) scored three different ways. He is up to 34 total TDs. But he got big help from sophomore QB Reiland, who threw for a season-highs in passing yards and TDs (14 of 22, 257 yards, 3 TDs, INT). A-Howard (5-98, TD receiving, interception) joined Wiersma and Snitker in catching scores. Houston was led the freshman Klunder (12-73, TD rushing; 2-35, TD receiving) and Morgan Rohweder (9 of 14, 108 yards, 3 TDs, INT passing). Zach Olson (3-34 receiving) and Ethan Knutson (10-yard reception) also caught scores, Knutson after he snared an interception. Axel Vix (4-52 receiving) was their top receiver. The Knights scored after three of the four Houston miscues. Kingsland had just one turnover and they were 6 of 6 on conversions. The #5 Knights (10-0) will play 3-seed Spring Grove (8-2), the defending champ, in the 9-Man Section 1 title game. The Lions downed #8 L-O 27-20 in the other semifinal. Houston finishes at 5-5. The Hurricanes will build for next year. Their main skill players all will return.