Turnovers Turn Tide for St. John’s Johnnies in 24-7 Win
In a game that the St. John’s Johnnies once trailed 7-0, a pounding ground attack and some big plays by their defense turned the game around and led the visitors to a 24-7 win over the Augsburg Auggies. Two key turnovers created by the Johnnies defense led to 10 points, and St. John’s finished the game with 24 unanswered points.
The first five possessions of the game were proving to be quite the defensive battle as all resulted in three-n-outs and punts. Finally on the Auggies third drive of the game they would break through. A 14-play, 80-yard drive ended with QB Ayrton Scott completing an 18-yard pass to Hunter Friessen for the touchdown and a 7-0 Augsburg lead. Scott was particularly hot on the drive using both his legs and arms to help the team get into position to score.
On the Johnnies next possession, running back Sam Sura fumbled and it was recoverd by Chris DeVet at the St. John’s 36. The Auggies moved 17-yards and the Johnnies did what they do best, which is bend but not break. They forced Augsburg into a field goal, but the 36-yarder was missed to the left keeping the score at 7-0.
The Johnnies took their next possession, and finally started to put together a solid drive. Sura carried the ball six times for 41 yards and QB Nick Martin had two carries for 15 yards more. The team moved the ball to the Augsburg 22, where they were stopped, setting up a fourth and three. The Johnnies decided to go for it, but Martin’s pass to Josh Bungum went incomplete and the ball was back in the Auggies hands.
The defense forced another three-n-out, putting the ball back in the hands of the Johnnies’ offense one more time just before half. After Sura had three carries for 28 yards, the offense was turned over to Josh Bungum who carried the ball on seven of the next eight plays, and finally scored on an 11-yard run to tie the score. Bungum had 34 yards on the drive, and was filling in well for Sura.
On the Auggies first possession of the second half Andrew Rose recovered a fumble at the Augsburg 44. Ten plays later Alexi Johnson hit a 28-yard field goal to make it 10-7 Johnnies. Sura returned to his customary spot and had six carries on the drive.
The score remained 10-7 heading into the fourth quarter, but less than a minute into the final frame Scott’s pass was intercepted by Lucas Glomb and returned 59-yards to the Auggies 17. Three plays later Martin had his only completion of the day, a six-yard pass to Zandy Sundly to increase the lead to 17-7.
With 1:52 left in the game Bungum scored from one yard out to make the score 24-7, and that would be the final. Bungum’s score capped off a seven-play, 54-yard drive that gave St.John’s 282 rushing yards for the day. Sura wound up as the leading ball carrier with 31 carries for 170-yard, sand Bungum added 101 more and two scores on 16 rushes.
For the Auggies, Scott had 19 carries for 84 yards and he also added 131 more through the air. Hunter Friesen had five catches for 65 yards in a losing effort.
Next week the Auggies will host the Hamline Pipers. The St. John’s Johnnies will host the Bethel Royals in a battle that will decide the conference title. That game will be the Minor Leagues Sports Report MIAC Featured Game of the Week.
By Robert Pannier