By PATRICK SLACK
The cross-county rivalry between Upsala-Swanville Area (USA) and Royalton took a few years off after conference realignment.
It didn’t show as the two teams met back up, Oct. 16, with a new traveling trophy, the Morrison County Milkjug, on the line.
The first three and a half quarters were action-packed, but it was no surprise when the contest was decided in the final minute, as USA engineered a game-winning drive to upend host Royalton 24-21.
Trailing 21-18 and held off the board since the first half, USA took over with the ball at its own 46 with 2:07 to play, then quickly worked the ball deep into Royalton territory.
Rolling to his left, USA junior quarterback found sophomore Kyle Lange with a 10-yard touchdown pass with only 48 seconds to play, then sophomore Carter Loven sealed the win with an interception on Royalton’s ensuing drive.
The game featured a classic battle of workhorse running backs, with USA senior Mitch Lange rushing 35 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns, while Royalton senior Tony Gadacz compiled 149 yards and three scores on 29 attempts.
USA also received 72 passing and 71 rushing yards from Evans, with junior Jordan Sales catching three passes for 47 yards and Kyle Lange grabbing two for 25 yards.
Mitch Lange and Kyle Lange each had nine solo tackles defensively, with Mitch Lange returning an interception 51 yards for a score just 20 seconds before halftime.
Senior Jesse Popp caught two passes for 36 yards and picked off a pass for Royalton.
The game started with the USA defense forcing an early punt, setting up the first of Mitch Lange’s touchdowns.
Gadacz and Mitch Lange then traded touchdowns as USA took a 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, a lead the Patriots were able to add onto with Lange’s defensive score right before the half.
Royalton refused to buckle, turning an 18-7 deficit into a 21-18 lead early in the fourth, before USA’s dramatic late rally.
Full story will appear in print version of this week’s MC Record
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