The Free Press, Mankato, MN

St. Peter news

September 18, 2013

Southern Plains will be newest conference

South Central, Southwest to become Southern Plains


Opsal is perfect

Owatonna's Carter McCauley stole the show last week with booming kickoffs and a 38-yard, game-winning field goal last week, but junior Andrew Opsal has been perfect in his first experience as the Mankato West kicker.

Opsal made 8 of 8 PATs in the season-opening 64-14 victory against Albert Lea, and he was 7 of 7 in a 57-14 victory against Austin. Last week, he was 3 of 3 in the 24-21 loss to Owatonna, with a lot more riding on each kick than the previous two weeks.

"The thing I like about Opsal is that he's laid back, cool and calm," West coach Mark Esch said. "I like that in a kicker. And he's only a junior so he has a chance to keep getting better."

Opsal, who has played in the soccer program as a defender, joined the football team just a couple weeks before the season began. Esch said that he didn't have many options when Opsal decided to be the kicker.

"There really wasn't a Plan B," he said.

Esch said he's been happy with Opsal's kickoffs, which have been high and toward the corner. He has generally gotten the kicks inside the 10.

Esch has estimated that Opsal could probably kick a field goal of up to 40 yards, though he hasn't attempted any in three games.

West has had good luck getting a soccer player to be the kicker recently. Ken Ouren and Bill Leitch both had successful stints with the football team in recent years.

East injuries

The good news for Mankato East (0-3) is that this week's game is at winless Albert Lea. The bad news is that quarterback Nic Seiler and linebacker Nick Brink, who also serves as the punter and kicker, both could miss the game because of concussions.

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