The Free Press, Mankato, MN


September 12, 2013

Scarlets in unfamiliar position with Something to prove

Last season, Owatonna rolled in state quarterfinals

MANKATO — Mankato West's 2012 football season ended with a thumping by Owatonna in the state tournament.

That means the Scarlets should be the more motivated team in the rematch.

"They have a lot of starters back, and they beat us pretty good," West coach Mark Esch said. "We're the team that has something to prove, and we're not used to being in that situation."

The Scarlets host Owatonna at 7 p.m. Friday at Todnem Field. Both teams are 2-0 and haven't been challenged in either game. West has victories over Albert Lea (64-14) and Austin (57-16). Owatonna defeated Rochester Mayo 41-14 and Winona 49-0.

Last season, the teams didn't play each other during the regular season but did meet in the quarterfinals of the Class AAAAA playoffs. Owatonna dominated that matchup, winning 28-0 and outgaining the Scarlets 401-114 in total yards. Owatonna's Aaron Peterson rushed for 269 yards that night, while West quarterback Ryan Schlichte completed only 9 of 34 passes for 61 yards.

"We allowed them to play tight man coverage, and we couldn't complete anything over the top, which is what we usually do," Esch said. "We were young, we panicked, we couldn't run the ball, we just kind of folded up. The defense couldn't keep us in the game."

This season, the Scarlets have passed for 546 yards and rushed for 423 yards. Schlichte has completed 29 of 45 passes for 468 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. He's also rushed for 112 yards and two scores.

Travon Jones in the top rusher with 152 yards on just seven carries. Will Claussen has 11 catches for 228 yards and three touchdowns, while Connor Watts has five receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Isaac Weber has 19 tackles, two sacks and an interception. Nate Nelson has made 15 tackles.

Owatonna quarterback Ian Langeberg has completed 23 of 34 passes with three touchdowns, while Peterson has rushed for five touchdowns.

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