Emma Esteb – Staff Writer
This past Saturday the Gusties were victorious against Carleton with a 28-9 win. The Gustie defense had an unbelievable game with three interceptions, and held Carleton to a season low 228 yards of offense. The Gustavus football team now stands 5-3 overall, 4-2 in the MIAC, and 2-1 in the Northwoods Division.
The game started with Carleton’s first drive ending in a three-and-out with Senior wide receiver Matthew Carreon blocking the punt at the Carleton two yard line. “We have been working really hard to get a punt blocked this year and it was pretty funny because right before that play I felt a little different. It was a really good moment, it was the first blocked punt of the year and we have been really close multiple times this year so it was amazing to finally get one,” Carreon said.
Senior Ethan Hufendick was the starting quarterback for the first half of the game, where he contributed to the early lead for the Gusties. “We had our starting quarterback go down, so we had our backups come in, Hufendick and Gotziaman, and the energy never changed. We trust every single one of our players and that couldn’t happen without the chemistry and brotherhood we have and I think that has been a huge contribution to our success,” Carreon said.
Early in the game, Hufendick passed to Junior Jake Breitbach for a three-yard touchdown pass which secured the 6-0 lead. “I think offensively what went well was our run game. We averaged about 4 ½-5 yards in the run game, we just have to finish in the red zone and be a little better there overall,” Senior Zachary Classen said. The Carleton Knights were on the board after making a 42-yard field goal later in the first quarter. Gustie kicker, Senior Andrew Abegglen made a 28-yard field goal, which resulted in a 9-3 lead after the first quarter.
The winning margin increased early in the second quarter as Abegglen secured another field goal, resulting in a 12-3 lead for the Gusties. The score remained 12-3 at the half while the Gusties prepped for the defensive explosion to come in the second half. Early in the third quarter, Junior Isaiah Chambers intercepted a pass on Carleton’s second possession, leading to a Gustavus seven-play touchdown drive to Breitbach from Sophomore Andrew Gotziaman. “I think the defense showed up to play. I think defensively we followed our game plan and stuck to it, which paid off in the end,” Senior Ezekiel Sundberg said. The Gusties led 18-3 halfway through the quarter. The momentum continued as Senior Graham Nistler got the second interception of the game for the Gusties, setting up a 20-yard field goal by Abegglen, giving the Gusties a 21-3 lead.
Sundberg secured the win with a 45-yard pick-six which contributed to his MIAC-leading fifth interception of the season and ending the game with a bang. “I was excited but also in awe because the whole week I visualized it so when it actually happened it was really cool just being in that moment. My favorite part, though, was just celebrating with everybody at the end,” Sundberg said. The Gusties secured another MIAC win as they ended with a score of 28-9.
The strong mentality and brotherhood amongst the team is very prevalent both on and off the field and has been a huge contributing factor to their success this season. “I think the biggest thing is the relationships through the team. Some people have stronger relationships than others but overall I think out of the 129 guys, I don’t think there is one person that wouldn’t do something for any of those guys,” Classen said.
With the season coming to an end, the team really dug into their motto of “getting one.” This mentality embodies the idea of “winning one play at a time, winning one drive at a time, getting one pass, one first down,” Carreon said. The team’s commitment to this motto has helped them stay calm and tackle the season one game at a time. The Gusties have continuously shown that they are a force to be reckoned with as they battle for each game and every play. “I am just really proud of our team this year. I know we had three tough losses, all of which were in our hands, making it that much harder to lose. But, we have held our heads high despite those losses whereas in previous years those may have broken us down. We have continued to push forward and I think our mental focus this year has really stepped up especially after all of our adversity,” Carreon said. The grit, fight, and passion that this team possesses will carry them as they endure their final games of the season. The Gusties will travel to St. Olaf for their final away game of the year.