Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Knights Initiate New Home Field with Victory over Nebraska City

Harrison Hohman | Writer for The Mount - previously published in the Douglas County Post-Gazette

   A new chapter for Mount Michael football began Friday Night, as the Knights christened the new Nate LaFave Memorial Field with a 42-14 victory over Nebraska City. The new stadium, which came as a result of tireless fundraising by the Mount Michael athletic department, is named for the junior who died last year in a car crash. The field’s bleachers, lights and scoreboard were installed only weeks before. “All in all, I was really impressed with how it came together without a hitch. It’s a really exciting time for Mount Michael,” said parent and alumnus David Hohman (83’).

   Following pre-game festivities, the Knights got off to a quick start with a kick return to the Pioneers’ 38 yard line by Senior wide receiver Ashton Legenza. The Mount Michael offense failed to take advantage of the field position and ended up losing the ball on downs. However, two possessions later, Junior running back Alex Miklas scored the first touchdown on the new field with a three yard run to give the knights an early a 7-0 lead. Nebraska City responded with a 52 yard drive of their own, eventually scoring on a four yard run by running back Noah Kasbohm that tied the game shortly before halftime.

   The Knights admitted that nervousness may have played a part in their slow start. “We got our priorities straight at half and figured out how to deal with the adversity. The team just had trouble executing in the first half,” Senior Jacob Mumby said.

   During the break, members of the LaFave family were brought to midfield for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the field’s first game. As Ave Maria resonated through the new speakers, a group of LaFave’s classmates also paid tribute to the deceased teenager with an honorary balloon-release.

   If there were any lingering nerves in the third quarter, they didn’t show as the Knights scored 28 points in an eight minute stretch. Three of those four touchdowns came from senior half-back Jacob Mumby, on runs of 17 and 52 yards, and a reception for 67. “Our offensive line played really well tonight and that helped a lot,” Mumby said. “Coach Borer’s game plan also set us up really well.”

   In the fourth quarter, the teams exchanged touchdowns, as Chris Riddle scored for the Knights on a 16 year reception from Batenhorst, while Logan Riege put points on the board for the Pioneers with a strong 21 yard run. Mount Michael managed to wind down the clock with a series of lengthy drives, and the game ended at 42 - 14. “It was the most surreal experience of my life and I am honored to have played in the first game at Nate LaFave Field.” senior cornerback Eric Sullivan said.

   Senior Quarterback Jake Batenhorst put in another great performance for the Knights, finishing with 131 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mumby led the Mount Michael receiving corps with 3 catches for 81 yards, while Chris Riddle and Ashton Legenza got two catches apiece.

   On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Garrett Rabbe led the Knights with 13 tackles. Cornerback Eric Sullivan caught an interception, while Riddle managed to both force and recover a fumble.

   This is the first time in nearly a decade that Mount Michael has started a season with three straight wins. Following consecutive one-win seasons, the Knights are now looking towards postseason play. “I think we can make it to state,” Senior Mick Steier said. “We just have to stay humble and keep playing well.”

   The Knights will be at home again next Friday against Ralston. The Rams are 1-2 after earning a 14-10 victory over Lincoln Pius X.

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