The Austin Packers football team closed out the regular season versus the Mankato East Cougars at Art Hass Stadium Wednesday evening, and in a game the Packers led 7-0 and 14-7 in the first quarter, Cougars quarterback Ganden Gosch helped to spark a run of 35 unanswered points as he was 13 for 17 passing for 219 yards and five touchdowns, plus he also ran 49 yards for another score as the Cougars won by the score of 69-21.
Austin took a 7-0 lead :20 seconds into the game when on the first play from scrimmage, halfback Noah Dunlap took a handoff from quarterback Dakota Retterath, ran to his left, and then pulled up and threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Peyton Ransom to give the Packers a quick lead. After Gosch threw his first touchdown pass of the game on East’s first drive, a 14-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Hayden Tischler to tie the game at 7, the Packers answered with a seven-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, which was capped off by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Retterath to Ransom to give Austin a 14-7 lead after Ransom’s extra point. The Cougars then took control of the game, though, as starting on their next drive, Gosch’s 49-yard touchdown run tied the game at 14, and Mankato East went on score on three of their next four drives to lead 36-14 at the half.
Cougars running back Rafe Bowman, who ran the ball 10 times for 108 yards for the game capped off the first drive of the second half with an 8-yard touchdown run out of the wildcat formation to give East a 42-14 lead at that point, and Austin’s last score of the game, as it would turn out, took place on the ensuing drive when wide receiver Isaac Osgood hauled in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Retterath to cap off a six-play, 59-yard touchdown drive to cut the Cougar lead to 42-21. The Packers then recovered a perfectly executed onsides kick by Peyton Ransom at the Mankato East 48-yard line to keep momentum going their way, but a high shotgun snap to Retterath on the first play of the enusing drive resulted in a loss of 17 yards, and the Packers wound up turning the ball over on downs. The Cougars then made the score 49-21 with a four-play, 52-yard touchdown after the turnover on downs when Gosch threw his fifth touchdown pass of the game covering 27 yards to top wide receiver Brogan Madson, who wound up with six catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cougars defense also got into the act Wednesday night, as linebacker Calen Leddy took an interception back 59 yards for a pick-6 a short time later, and the Cougars wound up scoring 20 points off of five Austin turnovers.
Austin winds up the regular season with a record of 1-7, and the Packers will travel to Faribault to take on the Falcons in the Section 1AAAA quarterfinals, with kickoff from Bruce Smith Field at 7 p.m. You’ll hear the game live on AM 1480 KAUS, with the pre-game show getting underway at 6:30 p.m. The winner will have to travel to Kasson to take on the top-seeded Kasson-Mantorville Komets on Saturday, October 28th at 7 p.m. that evening. The other semi-final game that evening will pit No. 2 Byron against No. 3 seed Winona in Byron, with the semi-final winners moving on to the Section 1AAAA title game at Rochester Mayo High School on Friday, November 3rd at 7 p.m. that evening.