Mabel-Canton quarterback Collin O'Bieglo hands off the ball to Noah Manning in last week's game against Grand Meadow.  HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS-RECORD
Mabel-Canton quarterback Collin O'Bieglo hands off the ball to Noah Manning in last week's game against Grand Meadow. HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS-RECORD
Despite engineering three drives of over 50 yards, the Mabel-Canton Cougars were only able to score once against undefeated, state-ranked Grand Meadow on Friday Sept. 20. The final score: Grand Meadow 49, Mabel-Canton 8.

Mabel-Canton had three turnovers (two fumbles and one interception) while the defending state runner-up (currently number two in the AP poll) did not lose possession once. The Cougar defense was able to force three punts, but Grand Meadow scored on seven of 10 possessions.

The Superlarks were on the scoreboard quickly in each half. Trenton Bleifus ran the opening kickoff back 41 yards. On the next play, just seven seconds into the game, Landon Jacobson ran 33 yards to the end zone. On the second play of the second half, Blake Olson ran an interception back 32 yards to the Cougar five-yard-line. Freshman Christopher Bain scored from the two and the Superlarks led 42-0.

The Cougars answered with lengthy drives both times but could not score.

"Grand Meadow came out and played well right from the get-go," M-C coach Karl Urbaniak noted. "It seemed like we were on our heels. At times we were able to move the ball but stalled a few drives which would have had a big impact on us."

After the Larks' stunning start, M-C consumed 13 plays while driving 57 yards before running out of downs at the GM 24. After GM scored four plays into the second half, the Cougars ran 11 plays while going 53 yards before running out of downs at the GM 11.

Those drives were the most challenging of the season for the GM starting defense, which remained unscored upon after four games.

M-C trailed 49-0 before crossing the goal line against GM reserves in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Mitch Kuhn scored his first varsity touchdown with a 24-yard run to cap an eight-play, 61-yard drive.

Both teams displayed balanced attacks. M-C rushed for 170 yards and Collin O'Bieglo completed nine of 18 passes for 70 yards to five different receivers.

Kuhn had three receptions for 35 yards. Noah Manning caught two passes for 18 yards including a two-point conversion.

Hunter Johnson rushed 19 times for 73 yards while Manning had 13 carries for 70.

GM (204 yards rushing, 191 passing) out-gained M-C 395 yards to 240.

Bleifus hit five different receivers while completing 11 of 17 passes. On the final play of the first half, he lofted a middle screen pass to Cody Ojulu who ran untouched 50 yards to make it 36-0. The junior tight end finished with 117 receiving yards, catching four passes, three of which went for touchdowns. Ojulu's other scoring receptions covered 21 and 32 yards.

Running back Trent Tangen caught three passes, scoring with a 25-yarder and a two-point conversion.

Bleifus, besides throwing for four touchdowns and an extra-point pass, also scored himself on a nine-yard run. The All-SEC senior did not suffer an interception but was sacked twice - by Alex Mengis and Donnie Lind.

Jacobson had 16 carries for 132 yards, including touchdown runs of 33 and nine yards, plus a two-point conversion.

Unavailable on the Cougar injured list were freshmen Weston Whalen and two-way starter Keyser Wenthold.

The Cougar B-team (2-1) suffered its first loss of the season earlier in the week at Grand Meadow 49-22.

M-C individuals

RUSHING: Hunter Johnson 19-73; Noah Manning 13-70; Mitch Kuhn 5-28, TD; Team 1-(-1).

PASSING: Collin O'Bieglo 9-18-1, 70 yds. PAT.

RECEIVING: Mitch Kuhn 3-35; Noah Manning 2-13, PAT; Donnie Lind 2-16; Mac Nelson 1-6; Hunter Johnson 1-0

Up next

The Cougars travel to LeRoy-Ostrander on Friday, Sept. 27.