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Local Sports Notebook: Rumpza sparks comeback win for Winona State

November 14, 2018

Blooming Prairie’s John Rumpza came off the bench to guide the Winona State football team to a season-ending victory on Saturday.

Rumpza, a junior, came off the bench when starter Owen Burke suffered an injury in the third quarter against Concordia-St. Paul. Host Winona State trailed 17-14 at the time on Senior Day.

Rumpza guided the Warriors to a game-tying field goal. Then with Winona State trailing 20-17, he directed a game-winning touchdown drive in the closing minutes. Rumpza capped the comeback with an 8-yard touchdown pass with just 36 seconds to play, giving the Warriors a 24-20 victory. Rumpza finished with five completions for 44 yards and the TD.

Sophomore linebacker Carter Duxbury of Chatfield set up the game-winning drive when he had a sack on fourth down with 2:49 to play. With the win the Warriors closed the season with an 8-3 record.

Rumpza played in four games in 2018. He finished 9-for-13 passing for 129 yards and two TDs. Duxbury was a key defensive player and finished eighth on the team with 49 tackles. He recovered one fumble.

There were a host of other local players on the team as well. They included Rochester’s Miguel Benjamin (freshman, wide receiver/running back), Lake City’s Elliot Cox (senior, wide receiver), Grand Meadow’s Landon Jacobson (sophomore, running back) and Mike Stejskal (sophomore, wide receiver), Claremont’s Levi Smith (freshman, tight end) and Caledonia’s Tanner Gran (junior, wide receiver), Hunter Hoscheit (sophomore, offensive lineman) and Ben McCabe (freshman, linebacker).

Benjamin rushed for 160 yards on 25 carries (6.0 an attempt) with one touchdown. Gran was second on the team with five TD catches and he averaged 12.7 yards on 19 receptions. Cox averaged 15.0 yards on 10 catches and had one TD. Cox also had a 93-yard kickoff return for a TD and averaged 31.4 yards on five returns. McCabe played in all 11 games and he had 19 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.

Freshmen that were redshirts this season include Rochester’s Jose Benjamin (wide receiver), Caledonia’s Andrew Goergen (wide receiver) and Mason Staggemeyer (linebacker), Bryon’s Sean LaPlante (kicker), Grand Meadow’s Zach Myhre (linebacker) and St. Charles’ Keagan Maloney (wide receiver).

Byron’s Jack Nelson, a former standout quarterback for the Warriors, is an assistant coach/wide receivers coach at Winona State.

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The Minnesota State, Mankato football team concluded its regular season 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division II. The Mavericks are the top seed in the Super Region 4 playoff pairings. This marks the sixth time in the past seven seasons that Minnesota State, Mankato has advanced to postseason play.

Rochester’s Zach Robertson, a Mayo grad, and Chatfield’s Jayme LaPlante have been key defensive players for the Mavericks all season.

Robertson is a junior linebacker who transferred from South Dakota State. He is fourth on the team with 49 tackles, including six for loss, and has three sacks.

LaPlante, a senior defensive end, is second on the team with five sacks. The Chatfield graduate has 19 tackles (six for loss).

forced two fumbles, recovered one fumble (which he returned for a TD), and blocked a kick.

Other area players on the team include Rochester’s Brady Tuckner (sophomore, linebacker), Plainview’s Derrick Cannon Jr. (freshman, wide receiver) and former RCTC defensive end Jake Schaper (sophomore, defensive end) of Osseo.

Tuckner, a John Marshall grad, has played in eight of the team’s 11 games and has 10 tackles, a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery. Schaper has also made a strong impact. He has played in 10 games and has 18 tackles, 4.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.

The Mavericks have a bye in the first round of the playoffs. They will host the winner of the game between Colorado School of Mines and CSU-Pueblo in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at noon on Nov. 24.

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Kasson-Mantorville grad Tyler Schager (senior, offensive lineman) and Triton grads Jax Bryngelson (junior wide receiver) and Garrett Dahms (junior, tight end) are members of the Warburg College football team that has earned a Division III NCAA Tournament berth.

Schager is a starter on the offensive line. Bryngelson has appeared in five games and has averaged 15.0 yards on four receptions.

The Wartburg (8-2) received the automatic bid by winning the American Rivers Conference Championship. The Knights will travel to Minnesota to face No. 11/15 Bethel (9-1) at noon Saturday in a first-round playoff game.

Bethel earned an at-large berth in the playoffs, aiding by a season-ending 21-15 win over St. Thomas, which knocked the Tommies out of playoff contention.

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