This year’s kraut bowl shaped up to be a closer matchup than in previous showdowns and this year’s tilt followed suit Friday, Sept. 6, at Hornet Stadium.
In a penalty-laden, attitude-filled rivalry game between two 1-0 teams, each squad exchanged leads in the hotly contested first half with Muenster eventually taking an 18-15 lead to halftime.
Muenster landed the first blow of the second half to extend its lead to 24-15 and used its grinding running game to fend off the Knights for the 24-22 victory for the Hornets’ fifth consecutive kraut bowl win.
The Knights had a similar start to their 2018 matchup with the Hornets as they used an 89-yard touchdown catch pass from quarterback Kolt Schuckers to Nash Dieter to quickly take a 7-0 lead just 63 seconds into the game.
Each team sputtered on offense and exchanged punts twice before another score as Muenster’s Reagan Johnson ripped off a 43-yard run to midfield.
Lane Trubenbach rushed to the 16-yard line, but the Hornets had to settle for a 33-yard field goal from Trey McTaggart to trim the lead to 7-3 with 1:47 left in the first quarter.
Tensions and tempers flared in the second quarter as the game began to get bogged down with penalties.
After Lindsay was forced to punt to open the second quarter, Muenster found its groove on offense.
The Hornets used a mixture of run and pass to march down the field.
When they were forced into a 4th-down-and-6 situation, they struck oil when Trubenbach found Jonathan Wheeler on the screen pass for the 27-yard touchdown. Trubenbach’s 2-point conversion gave the Hornets the 11-7 lead with 8:02 left in the half.
After Muenster’s defense held the Knights on their next possession, Muenster converted on a 3rd-and-14 for a 44-yard touchdown from Trubenbach to Trent Anderle to put the Hornets up 18-7 with 5:31 left in the first half.
Lindsay had a clutch response though as they used a 13-play, 75-yard drive to trim the lead down to three points as Seth Foster hauled in the 24-yard touchdown pass from Schuckers. After the successful 2-point conversion, Lindsay trailed 18-15 with 1:49 left in the half.
Trubenbach threw an interception on the Hornets’ next play, but the Knights couldn’t capitalize as they missed a 29-yard field goal at the end of the half.
Back-to-back big plays by the Hornets to open the second half swiftly had the ball down to the Knights’ 9-yard line.
Two plays later Anderle rushed for a 6-yard touchdown to give Muenster the 24-15 lead with 8:31 remaining in the third quarter after the Hornets’ couldn’t punch in the 2-point conversion.
Then came a cascade of turnovers.
Muenster’s defense came up with a crucial takeaway as they hit Schuckers’ arm as he was passing to force an interception into Johnson’s hands at the Lindsay 28-yard line with 6:14 left in the third frame.
However, the Knights’ defense answered with a turnover of their own as they forced a fumble by Trubenbach on a 3rd down run at the Knights’ 26-yard line.
Danny Luttmer returned the favor on the Knights’ next drive as he picked off Schuckers to stunt their momentum.
Lindsay then reclaimed possession on another Trubenbach interception and Muenster looked to have immediately responded with an interception off Schuckers, but a defensive pass interference call negated the turnover late in the third quarter.
Muenster forced a Knights’ punt to open the fourth quarter, but the Hornets fumbled on the return to give Lindsay prime field position at their own 45-yard line.
Lindsay slowly crept to the Hornets’ end zone in the final part of the fourth quarter before Foster scampered up the right sideline on a 24-yard touchdown run to cut the lead down to 24-22 with 4:20 left in the game.
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip