The Kingsland football program ran its state quarterfinal record to 4-0 all-time with a win over Hills-Beaver Creek at Albert Lea High School. The Section 1 9-Man champion #5 Knights (11-0) used scores on either side of the half to take control versus the Section 3 champion #7 Patriots (10-0). The teams had two common opponents. HBC beat Lanesboro 22-14 in the regular season and Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons 28-0 in the section semis. The Knights whipped both the Burros (57-12, 46-0) and ACGE (55-14) convincingly. And that equation held to form as the teams battled. Kingsland never trailed, scoring the first quarter’s only points on a Beau Wiersma 30-yard run (backwards lateral pass from Kaaleem Reiland). HBC tied it in the second quarter, as 6’5” 215-pound tailback Beau Bakken and 6’5” 205-pound sophomore QB Jamin Metzger were loads to handle for the Knights. Metzgar ran it in from five yards out to cap an eight-play, 52-yard series. The conversion failed, leaving the game tied 6-6. But Kingsland then got a 22-yard kickoff return from Sam Snitker to near midfield. It stoked an eight-play, 55-yard drive as the half waned. Wiersma capped the series with five-yard TD run on 4th and two (0:25). A Reiland to Noah House conversion succeeded and the Knights led 14-6 at intermission.
Kingsland then got a 26-yard kickoff return from Wiersma to start the second half with good field position. A 4th and four Reiland to Acelee Kohn 32-yard pass play was huge in keeping the series alive. Wiersma capped the drive with a 3-yard TD run to make it 20-6. The Knights then got an interception from Reiland. On their ensuing series’ fourth play, Reiland hit first-year-football-guy Snitker, who made a man miss, and trekked 22-yards up the sideline for another score. With 2:27 left in the third, Matt Kolling’s Knights led 26-6. HBC scored (Bakken 1-yard TD run) on its next series early in the fourth quarter to make it 26-14. But their ensuing drive was stopped in the red zone on downs with 4:08 left, essentially cementing the game. By a final of 26-14, Kingsland moved on to the state 9-Man semifinals. The Knight offense was not gangbusters down two starters to injury (Seth Howard, Parker Johnson), but Wiersma (23-88, 3 TDs rushing), Reiland (6 of 10, 101 yards, TD passing, 11-63 rushing) and company got the job done. The defense harvested three interceptions. Ayden Howard grabbed one in the first half, which led to points. Reiland’s second half snipe also led to a touchdown. Caden Reiter’s pick was the last play of the game. HBC was led by Bakken (28-145, TD rushing, 2-44 receiving) and Metzger (18 of 33, 155 yards, 3 INTs passing, TD rushing). The latter had 17 second half carries. Kingsland (12-0) will face #2 Fertile-Beltrami (12-0) in the 9-Man state semifinals.