Auggie Football Overcomes Slow Start to Dominate St. Scholastica
Hayden Audette, sports editor
In the first home game for the Augsburg football program since Nov. 2021, the Auggies put on a show for more than 400 fans.
Early on in the game, it appeared that the visiting St. Scholastica Saints would offer Augsburg more of a challenge than expected. After neither team scored for the first eight minutes of the game, the Saints struck first on a 44-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back Nick Schlender. This put the Auggies in an early 0-7 hole. They would begin to dig their way out before the end of the quarter, as first year kicker Nathan Wangensteen connected on his first field goal of the afternoon from 22 yards out to get Augsburg on the board. Early in the second quarter, Wangensteen would make another field goal from 31 yards that cut the Auggie deficit to 6-7. It was after this point that the game really began to turn around.
St. Scholastica’s drive after the second field goal ended with the Auggie defense forcing a fumble that was recovered at the Saints’ 20-yard line. This set the offense up with great field position, and they would immediately cash in. The sophomore duo of quarterback Cade Sheehan and wide receiver Dominic Smith connected for a 6-yard touchdown pass to give Augsburg its first lead of the day. A trick play on the extra point try gave the Auggies a two-point conversion, making the score 14-7 at the 8:39 mark of the second quarter. The offense would be back on the field exactly one minute of game time later, after the defense forced the Saints to punt. Sheehan finished off this offensive possession by throwing his second touchdown pass of the day. This one was a 13-yard pass to a different sophomore wide receiver, Braden Tretter. This gave the Auggies a 14 point advantage, and another Wangensteen field goal before the end of the quarter made the score 24-7 at halftime.
Just like in the first half, the Saints scored the opening points of the second half on a rushing touchdown from Schlender. This time, the response from the Auggie offense was much faster. On the very first play of the next drive, Sheehan and Tretter connected for another touchdown, this one being an 85-yard pass that would turn out to be the longest play of the game. This made the score 31-13 Auggies, but the offense would not stop there. Augsburg would get into the end zone three more times. One of the remaining scores came on Sheehan’s fourth touchdown pass of the game to sophomore tight end Devin Schelske. The other two were rushing touchdowns, with senior running back Tre Lee and sophomore running back DJ Monroe scoring once each. The Auggie offense finished the game with 50 points and 603 total yards.
This win gave Augsburg a 3-0 record, its best start to a season since 2013. Senior offensive lineman Jordan Huse said that he feels the team’s mentality is different this season than in the past. “In past years, after we would give up a big touchdown to start a game, some of the guys would kind of mope around,” Huse said. “Now, [Auggies head coach Derrin] Lamker just tells us to focus on the next play, and we’ve been doing that really well this year.”
The next Auggies home game will be their biggest test of the season, as they welcome the nationally ranked Saint John’s Johnnies for the homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 8. The Johnnies won easily when they last played in 2021, but with three solid wins to start the year, it will be interesting to see how this year’s Augsburg team responds to the challenge.