The Champlin Park and St. Michael-Albertville football teams both held 2-0 records heading into their match-up Sept. 15. While the Knights came back to earn a 31-21 victory to improve to 3-0, players from both sides stood out during the contest. With a few days to reflect, here, in no particular order, are the top five impressive players from the game.
Running back/defensive back Mitchell Kartes– STMA
Kartes made an impact on both sides of the ball for St. Michael-Albertville against Champlin Park. Kartes got off to a slow start to the game, but he came back in a big way by scoring all four of STMA’s touchdowns in the win over the Rebels. Kartes ran for 218 yards and three touchdowns, and his 60-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Knights a fourth-quarter lead they would not relinquish. So far this season, Kartes has shown that NDSU is getting quite the prospect.
Quarterback Joey Faulds– Champlin Park
Faulds, stepping in for the injured Bennett Otto, led the Rebels to a 2-0 record to kick off the season. While Faulds does not have the arm that Otto possesses, Faulds has been effective in the Rebels’ new-look option offense. Faulds passed for 131 yards and converted numerous third downs through the air, while also running for 51 yards and a 9-yard touchdown that gave the Rebels a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. As Faulds gets more comfortable as the Rebels’ quarterback, expect the Champlin Park offense to continue to improve as a whole.
Running back Desean Phillips– STMA
Phillips teamed up with Kartes to tally 305 rushing yards against Champlin Park. While Kartes provided the big scoring plays, Phillips helped STMA move the ball throughout the game, as he totaled 87 yards and showcased his full abilities. As the year continues, teams will not only have to find a way to stop Kartes, but they will have to game plan for Phillips, as well.
Running back Devon Gray– Champlin Park
Gray’s impact on the game was minimal, Gray ran just three times against STMA, but two of his carries went for 1-yard touchdowns to kick off the scoring and pad the Rebels’ lead. Gray has scored two touchdowns in each of of his last two games and, with Ernest Worjloh set up to do most of his damage outside of goal-line situations, Gray could play a big role in helping the Rebels’ offense when it gets close to the end zone.
Linebacker Austin Springer– STMA
Springer, coming off a week in which he recorded 19 total tackles and two sacks, once again made an impact for the Knights against Champlin Park. Springer totaled seven tackles and added a key sack that pinned Champlin Park deep in its own territory late in the second half while the Rebels were attempting a comeback. With a solid offense led by the duo of Kartes and Phillips, Springer and the Knights’ defense will be key as STMA looks to make an impact in Class 6A.