Yes, Smith Center improved to 3-0 last night. No, it was not easy. Far from it.
The outcome at Hubbard Stadium was in doubt until Brody Frieling called for a fair catch on Gavin Schumacher’s kickoff with 51 seconds remaining, allowing the Redmen to run out the clock and seal a 30-22 victory against the stubborn TMP-Marian Monarchs.
Smith Center scored three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull it out. It scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 3-yard run by L.T. Meitler with 8:11 to go, and scored again 61 seconds later on a 3-yard run by Nick Lehmkuhl which followed a snap over the head of TMP punter Cameron Fouts, which Kody Zabel recovered at the Monarch 3. Smith Center added an insurance touchdown with under three minutes left.
One week after being the beneficiary of seven turnovers in a victory over Oakley, Smith Center turned the ball over three times itself. The Redmen fumbled on their first possession, and the game would remain scoreless until Zabel hit a 35-yard field goal with 5:19 to go in the first half.
Each team would score a touchdown on its next possession. The Monarchs used two long passes to drive to the Redmen 1, and from there, Nick Schmidt punched it in to put the visitors from Hays ahead 7-3. Smith Center came right back and drove 67 yards to a 3-yard score by Nick Lehmkuhl with six seconds to go before halftime, sending the Redmen to the dressing room with a three-point edge.
The Redmen looked like they might gain a more comfortable lead on their first drive of the second half, reaching the Monarch 11, but a fumble ended the march. TMP gleefully accepted the gift, driving 87 yards to another touchdown, taking a 14-10 lead which it held when the period ended.
Smith Center now faces a much stiffer test when it plays undefeated Norton on the road this week.