The Rogers Royals took a tumble from their familiar perch in Mississippi 8 football on Friday evening when St. Michael-Albertville came to town.
The Knights beat the Royals at their own game, rushing, and handed the three-time defending champions a 28-14 loss.
Led by Chris Karles with 163 yards on 19 rushes — with three touchdowns (one receiving) — the Knights outran the Royals 220 yards to 93. They permitted no rushing TD’s, a rare occurrence for Rogers.
“They were very physical up front, the most physical team we have seen,” said Rogers coach Marc Franz. “We learned we have to be more physical.”
Rogers, which went 20-2 the last three years in M-8 play with two outright titles and one shared, falls to 2-1 in conference and 3-1 overall.
The lone conference unbeaten is Monticello, which will host Rogers next week. STMA is 3-1, losing to Cambridge-Isanti, which is 3-1, losing to Monticello.
Karles scored on a 10-yard pass from Cole Knutzig and a 29-yard run in the first quarter.
“St. Michael is a good team and we unfortunately did not come out fast, and they jumped on us 14-0,” said Franz. “It’s tough to come back from that. I’m proud of how our kids hung in there.”
Rogers got jump-started via a defensive touchdown provided by defensive end Nate Hajder, who shook lose a fumble from Knutzig, picked up the ball and raced 20 yards to the end zone in the second quarter.
The Royals knotted the score in the third period, going to the air game, as Connor Henderson hit Gunnar Bloom for a five-yard TD after nailing Levi Simpson for a 38-yard gain.
The Knights would resume control, though, with drives of 76 and 60 yards in the fourth quarter, capped by TD runs by Karles (two yards) and Bennie Wilson (five yards). The Royals had four pass interference penalties in the game, two of them on STMA’s clinching drive.
Henderson completed 14 of 27 passes for 126 yards with no interceptions for Rogers. Simpson caught six for 170. Top rusher was Travis Deitl with 39 on eight carries.
Rogers is missing its starting quarterback and two offensive linemen with injuries.
St. Michael-Albertville 28, Rogers 14
STMA …… 14 0 0 14 — 28
Rogers ….. 0 7 7 0 — 14
STMA—Chris Karles 10 pass from Cole Knutzig (Antoine Akundu)
STMA—Karles 29 run (Akundu kick)
Rog—Nathan Hajder 20 fumble recovery return (Isaac Aanerud kick)
Rog—Gunnar Bloom 5 pass from Connor Henderson (Aanerud kick)
STMA—Karles 5 run (Akundu kick)
STMA—Bennie Wilson 2 run (Akundu kick)
First downs — STMA 17, Rogers 13
Rushing — STMA 38-220, Rogers 30-93
Passing (cmp-att-yrd-int) — STMA 10-20-95-0, Rogers 14-27-126-0
Penaltis — STMA 5-40, Rogers 5-63
Rushing — Karles 19-163, Knutzig 11-43, Wilson 5-12, Brendan Poland 2-7, Landon Bridell 1-2
Passing — Knutzig 10-20-95-1
Receiving — Jamey Kolles 4-62, Brian Ferry 2-23, Karles 2-12, Tony Bork 2-(-2)
Punting — Erik Johnson 4-34.0
Rushing — Travis Deitl 8-39, Nate Roehl 4-23, Kent Hoover 6-22, Nate Weber 2-14, Bloom 3-8, Grupa 1-3, Henderson 6-(-16)
Passing — Henderson14-27-126-0
Receiving — Simpson 6-70, Bloom 3-10, Roehl 3-25, Weber 1-8, Parker Veith 1-7, Grupa 1-6
Punting — Hoover 6-28.5