Knights Football Half-Season Recap


Team Huddle: The Knights storm the field with their traditional waving of the flag. The team is captained by seniors Conor Connealy, Cole Gustafson, Will Brewster, and Jack Huber

As the fall rolls around the corner so does the start of another Mount Michael Knights football season. The team has a fresh start and a different approach to the game under new head coach Allen Burell.
The team’s saying this year is “CODE RED”, which is short for relentless, effort, and determination. Burell commented on his slogan “CODE RED” saying, “We have been improving work ethic and practicing our motto all the time, in every way.” As the team progressed into the start of the season, many people were excited to see what he could accomplish in his first year.
The Knights started their season at home taking on the Crete Cardinals. The first half was a struggle for both teams with four total fumbles, three coming from the Knights. With two goal line rushing touchdowns by seniors Jake Harris ‘23 and Sebastian Duran ‘23, the Knights took a lead into the half.
For the rest of the game, both teams held their own and forced each other to punt. A 32-yard passing touchdown from William Brewster ‘23 to Nick Halpin ‘24 was the only score of the second half. The Knights walked off with a 21-10 win and a 1-0 record. The offense did a good job of moving the ball, but needed to clean things up for week two. The defense had a great showing, with 16 tackles for loss, two sacks, and two interceptions. Conor Connealy ’23 with eight tackles for loss and Andrew Fink ‘23 with five tackles for loss were the key components on defense.
In week two, the Knights traveled away to play the Ralston Rams. The Knights opened up the scoring,with a 26-yard passing touchdown from Brewster ‘23 to Harris ‘23.
For the rest of the first half, the Rams scored most of the points, but with 14 seconds remaining, Brewster ‘23 rushed in for a five yard touchdown. Mount Michael trailed 20-13 at the half.
To start the 3rd quarter, the Knights kicked into a new gear holding the Rams to one touchdown. Mount Michael immediately scored on the next drive ending with a Harris ’23 one-yard touchdown run.
In the fourth quarter, Brewster ‘23 found Halpin ‘24 on a 35-yard touchdown pass taking the lead, 28-27 with a minute and 13 seconds remaining. With the final minute winding down the defense was sent out to stop the Rams, and they did exactly that.
The defense ended with five tackles for loss and two sacks. The Knights improved their record to 2-0 with the win. Key performances were made by Brewster ‘23 who had 13 completions for 271 yards and two passing touchdowns, Harris ‘23 who had 19 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns (one receiving and one passing), Halpin ‘24 with four catches for 90 yards and one receiving touchdown, and John Balch ‘23 who had nine tackles (two TFLs).
In the Knights’ third outing, they took on Waverly at their field hoping to obtain a 3-0 record. The first half started and ended as a defensive standoff with the teams headed to their locker room scoreless.
Going into the second half, the Knights received the ball but were upended when Waverly forced a fumble and scored on their drive to make it 7-0.Waverly used their stifling defense to force a safety and win with a shutout.
The final score was 30-0 handing the Knights their first loss of the season and falling to 2-1. Although it was a loss, the Knights still had some bright spots. On the defensive side of the ball, Cole Gustafson ‘23 and Sebastian Duran ‘23 both had 13 tackles.
In week four, the Knights took on the Plattsmouth Blue Devils at Nate LaFave Memorial Field looking for a 3-2 start to the season. To start the game, Plattsmouth scored on a 33-yard run with 9:05 in the first quarter to make the score 7-0.
The Knights found a way to answer back with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Halpin ‘24 with five minutes remaining in the first quarter, tying the score at seven a piece. Plattsmouth drove down the field and kicked a field goal with one second left in the first quarter.
The score was now 10-7. To start the second quarter, both teams held each other to 3-and-outs with the Knights’ defense having six tackles for loss and two combined sacks by Rocco Zimmerman ‘24 and Jack Roland ‘23.
On offense in the second quarter, the Knights drove down the field and with five minutes and 49 seconds left on the clock, Sebastian Santa-Maria hit a 26 yard field goal to tie it. The score stayed that way until midway through the fourth quarter when Plattsmouth hit a field goal to make it 13-10.
The Knights tried their best to come back, but were held up and fell short. Though it was a heartbreaking loss, Mount Michael still put up some impressive stats. Brewster ‘23 completed 17 passes for 236 yards and 1 touchdown, Halpin ‘24 had seven catches for 145 yards while Roland ‘23 had five catches for 41 yards and Balch’23 had nine tackles.
The Knights hit the half season mark with a split record of 2-2 that include many positives, but also areas to improve.
From what has been seen so far, the Knights look like a stronger, more unified team. They have been executing on both ends of the ball and making big plays.
In the first two games, the Knights had show-out wins against Crete and Ralston with over 100 yards passing and over 50 yards rushing in each. Then against Waverly, they hit a roadblock with only 65 yards passing and 36 rushing yards. They picked it up for the Plattsmouth game with over 200 yards passing, but less than 50 yards rushing.
On the defensive side of things, the Knights have been off and on forcing 16 tackles for loss in one game all the way down to two in another. They have shown they are able to withstand both the run and pass game pretty well and it will be interesting to see how they progress as a whole throughout the rest of the season.
With all that being said, the Knights have a long rest of the season and hope to make their first playoff appearance since 2018.