Jaguars motivated by first loss heading into playoffs

Photo by Julie Vinsand, The Gowrie News: Kolson Kruse of Southeast Valley (11) runs behind the blocks of Lathe Muench (42) and Aaron Graves during the regular season in Estherville.

GOWRIE — Mike Swieter never wants to lose, but after Southeast Valley suffered its only loss of the season in the regular season finale, Swieter is hoping it reminded his squad to take nothing for granted.

The now sixth-ranked Jaguars (7-1 overall) fell to No. 4 Spirit Lake (6-2) 21-14 on the road last Friday, dropping them from the top spot in Class 2A.

“Honestly I hope it’s a focal point for the rest of the season,” Swieter said. “I don’t care what anybody says: a loss is never a good thing. But if you’re going to lose that’s the one. You can’t afford it during the playoffs.

“They walked off with that frustrated feeling, but now it’s over and we have to focus on Sheldon.”

It was a slugfest for the District 2 championship, with all six schools being ranked at one point. The Jaguars knocked off two-time defending state champion OA-BCIG by double digits, as well Estherville-Lincoln Central.

“After the win over OABCIG, I knew (Spirit Lake) would be our toughest game,” Swieter said. “They had two key injuries against the Falcons and it was raining hard in their game against Estherville-Lincoln Central (the Indians dropped both contests). There were turnovers and it was back and forth.”

The Jaguars had already locked up their second straight district title, and third in the last four seasons. That earned the team a first-round home contest as well.

This is Swieter’s eighth year as Southeast Valley head coach since the consolidation of Prairie Valley and Southeast Webster-Grand. They have won four district crowns, and have made the playoffs six of the eight years, reaching the quarterfinals twice.

Southeast Valley will now face Sheldon (3-5) in the first round of the 2A playoffs on Friday. The Orabs finished fourth in their district.

“Sheldon is by far the biggest line that we have faced,” Swieter said. “They have very big kids and a solid running back who can catch the ball.

“They had three wins in the second best (2A) district in the state.”

The Orabs were packed in a tight district with seventh-ranked West Lyon (6-2) and ninth-ranked Central Lyon (5-3) in District 1.

Sheldon has run for 1,008 yards. Jacob Enger is the groundhog for the Orabs, running for 505 yards and two scores. Jarrett Ross has three TDs on the ground.

Quarterback Blake Radke has thrown for 566 yards and seven scores, with three more on the ground.

Southeast Valley senior Kolson Kruse has been a key cog in the Jaguar offense. Kruse has thrown for 1,477 yards and 16 TDs. He has rushed for 877 and 10 scores.

Senior receiver Tre Fisher and junior Eli Johnson have over 500 yards. Fisher has caught 23 balls (508 yards) for six scores.

Johnson has 19 catches (521) and five scores. Senior Colton Brant has five touchdowns.

Senior Lathe Muench has rushed for 711 yards and 14 touchdowns. Muench (38) is four rushing touchdowns away from passing 2018 graduate and current Iowa Hawkeye Kyler Fisher (41) on the all time career TD list.


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