Kaaleem Reiland rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns while also passing for 135 yards and two more scores as Kingsland sped past Spring Grove, 44-14, in the 9-player football Section One championship game at Austin. The sophomore quarterback also ran and passed conversions. Beau Wiersma (25-130 rushing) scored three TDs – two rushing and one pass reception – plus added a pair of conversion runs. With the section’s top seed, the state-ranked #5 Knights improved to 11-0 after only 11 wins over the previous 10 years combined. In their first season competing in the 9-man playoffs, they return to state for the first time since 2003 (state runner-up). Kingsland won the Class B state crown in 1995 when current head coach Matt Kolling was a senior standout. The Knights added the Class AA title in 2002.
Three-seed Spring Grove was thus denied a repeat trip to state after last year’s state runner-up success. The Lions, who won the state title in 2017 and 2018, finished this season at 8-3, including two convincing losses to Kingsland. The Knights, after averaging 53 points per regular-season game, scored 46, 45 and 44 points in three playoff routs. SG completed 9 of 16 passes for 172 yards and both touchdowns. Zach Brumm had two exceptional receptions in traffic, the first of which a 28-yard TD (followed by a Ben Udstuen PAT kick) put the Lions ahead 7-6 on the first play of the second quarter. Later, Jacob Olerud made an admirable adjustment while snaring a 20-yard scoring pass, but that was long after the outcome had been decided. Jaxon Strinmoen (6-11, 117 yards passing) threw both of those TD aerials and later caught two tosses from Bryce Berns (3-5, 55 yards passing). Despite some passing success, a 61-yard punt by Udstuen and a 64-yard kick return by Braedon Solie, it was tough sledding on the artificial turf as Kingsland limited the Lions to only 37 rushing yards. With success both on the ground and through the air, the Knights outgained SG 398 to 208. KHS did not score on its longest drive of 87 yards but still scored on six of nine possessions. After falling behind, 7-6, Kingsland scored twice before the Lions ran another play. Wiersma, who opened scoring with a five-yard pass reception, capped a 65-yard drive with a 13-yard TD run. Reiland ran in the two points and KHS was back in front, 14-7. A weird-bouncing kickoff ended up in the hands of the Knights’ Michael Johnson. Three plays later, Wiersma carried three yards into the end zone. Reiland passed to Parker Johnson for the conversion, and it was 22-7 on the way to halftime. The lead was never threatened thereafter.
Two plays after intermission, Reiland connected with Sam Snitker for a 45-yard pass and run TD to make it 30-7. Reiland added a 46-yard TD run (38-14) and 1-yard TD sneak (44-14). He efficiently completed 10 of 13 passes. When initially back to pass, he speedily and elusively scrambled for 45 of his 132 rushing yards. KHS was twice stopped on downs but never punted and had no turnovers with 61 offensive plays to only 30 for SG. Ayden Howard (3-56 receiving) was the Knights leading receiver. Fifth-ranked Kingsland (11-0) will play #7 Hills-Beaver Creek (10-0) in the state quarterfinals in Albert Lea.