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Southeast Valley sticks to the basics

Jaguars rely heavily on rushing attack

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Southeast Valley's Lathe Muench avoids a Belmond-Klemme defender during the Class 1A playoffs.

GOWRIE — Mike Swieter’s offense is built to feature a running back, and Lathe Muench fits that mold perfectly.

The Jaguar junior, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 176 pounds, has turned into the grinding back that keeps the offense churning for Southeast Valley.

Muench isn’t the only SV weapon on the ground, though, as junior quarterback Kolson Kruse has flashed the ability to turn a neutral play into an advantage.

“I worked with Coach (Mike) Swieter and his son (Aaron Swieter), who got me conditioned and helped me understand the system,” Muench said. “Our team is special. We have a lot of fun and love to take people head-on. We’re going to keep doing that until the season is over.”

Senior Hunter Sorenson makes the Jaguar backfield a triple threat that has racked up 1,714 combined yards and 33 touchdowns. As a team Southeast Valley has 2,123 yards and 36 scores.

In two years, Muench has 1,491 yards and 24 TDs. He needs 118 yards (882 currently) to reach 1,000 yards.

“Our linemen have the biggest hearts to win a game. They will get their job done no matter how banged up they are,” Muench said. “We have a new offensive and defensive line coach in Mark Graves. He is teaching them a ton and it’s showing.”

Muench, Kruse and Sorenson agree on one thing: it all starts up front.

“The line normally gets overshadowed, but not when you’re running behind (junior) Aaron Graves (University of Iowa commit),” Sorenson said. “He’s the best athlete I’ve played with. He never takes a play off.

“Jaxon Carlson, Memphis Simpson, Justin Loseke, Jonah Siebert, and Mark Hughes give everything they have to open up the holes for us, and all the running backs behind them are thankful to have them as a part of this team. We wouldn’t be able to make the plays without all the work they do, and they don’t get enough credit for that. I am thankful to be able to line up every Friday with these guys, because we are family.”

Kruse has turned into an offensive juggernaut, beating teams with his arm and his legs. He has rushed for 706 yards and 12 touchdowns. Through the air, Kruse has thrown for 977 yards and 11 scores.

“Our line doesn’t get enough credit,” Kruse said. “They give a great push for whoever is running the ball, which allows us to hit the second level and make big plays.”

Sorenson, one of nine seniors on the squad, was a part of Southeast Valley’s 2018 state quarterfinal squad.

“It means everything to me and the other seniors (to be in the quarterfinals),” Sorenson said. “We went from not winning a single game our freshman year (in 2017) to 9-0 and playing in the quarterfinals.”

The Jaguar teammates are quick to credit each other rather than focusing on individual accolades.

“Lathe is just an animal with the ball in his hands. He will run over whoever is in his way,” Sorenson said. “He is a hard runner who has great vision.

“Kolson is one of the smartest kids I’ve ever met. He just understands the game of football. He runs hard and can make a play from anything. There have been many broken plays where Kolson just finds a way to pick up the first down scrambling.”

Muench echoed the thoughts on his quarterback.

“I don’t know how to describe Kolson — he just makes plays,” Muench said. “He makes things happen that otherwise wouldn’t happen. He will scramble and gain lots of yards and he will throw passes right where they need to be.

“He can do everything, and he is proving himself one play at a time.”

On Friday night, the fifth-ranked Jaguars (9-0 overall) will put it all on the line in their rematch with No. 7 South Central Calhoun (8-1) in Gowrie. Southeast Vallley’s first-ever trip to the UNI-Dome as a consolidated school is 48 minutes away.

“Being one game away from the Dome is amazing,” Kruse said. “It’s the kind of stuff you dream about growing up, and it’s a blessing to have the opportunity to make it a reality.”

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