By Chad Courrier
Free Press Staff Writer
Mankato West senior Nick Kaus has been on a tear, scoring nine touchdowns in the last two weeks, and he’s starting to get within range of some program records for receiving and scoring.
This season, Kaus has 24 receptions for 382 yards and seven touchdowns, and he tied a program record with four touchdown receptions in last week’s victory over Winona.
“He has been on his game,” West coach Mark Esch said. “He has the skills to do that every week. The timing between he and (quarterback Philip Nelson) has been fun to watch.”
Kaus’ career marks are 75 receptions for 1,255 yards and 23 touchdown receptions, and 25 total touchdowns, including two on punt returns earlier this season.
In 2008, Aaron Richter established single-season records with 76 receptions and 20 touchdown catches, while Chuck Wiest set the record with 1,324 yards receiving in 1999. Richter, who played from 2006-08, holds most of the West career receiving records, with 171 catches for 2,640 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Kaus already set a record by scoring five touchdowns in the victory over Faribault two weeks ago. Paul Berndt holds the single-season scoring record with 25 touchdowns in 2008, and Richter has 36 career touchdowns to hold that record.
“There are a lot of records that you never think will be broken, and then they get broken,” Esch said. “That’s why you keep track of these things.”
West (4-0), which moved up to No. 2 in The Associated Press’ Class AAAA poll, plays at Austin (0-4) tonight.
East finds offense
Mankato East defeated Austin 40-0 on Saturday, the largest margin of victory for the Cougars in three years. In 2007, East defeated Albert Lea 48-0.
The 40 points was the most for the Cougars since last season’s 41-34 victory over Rochester John Marshall.
“I’m very happy with the way (quarterback Abe Kolstad) has run the offense,” East coach Dave Frisell said. “We have more weapons than we’ve had, and there’s a bunch of kids working hard. We’re throwing the ball better than I thought we would.”
East (2-2) plays at home against Rochester Mayo tonight.
Cathedral posting zeroes
New Ulm Cathedral opened the season with a loss to third-rated Springfield, but since then, the Greyhounds have not allowed any points.
The Greyhounds have victories over Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s, Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart and Mountain Lake-Butterfield-Odin by a combined score of 138-0.
“Going into the season, we knew we had a lot of first-time starters,” Cathedral coach Denny Lux said. “You can see the progress each week as the players are getting more comfortable and the coaches have a better understanding of the kids, too.”
Lux said that Cathedral’s three returning defensive players — lineman Dan Simon, end Brandon Berg and safety Nick Simon — have been the leaders.
No. 6-ranked Cathedral (3-1) has a game against Red Rock Central (3-1) tonight and Wabasso (3-1) next week.
Nicollet’s first four opponents have a combined record of 2-14, but starting tonight, the Southern Confederacy schedule gets a little tougher.
The second-ranked Raiders host Hills-Beaver Creek (4-0), then play at Westbrook-Walnut Grove (3-1). Nicollet is ranked No. 2 in nine-man, while Hills-Beaver Creek, whose opponents are also 2-14, is rated ninth.
“It will be nice to see where we’re at,” Nicollet coach Tom Murphy said. “You can’t do anything about the schedule you’re given. If you look at our conference, it’s either top-heavy or bottom-heavy.”
Murphy said Hills-Beaver Creek has a solid team, with a balanced offense and good size. He’s hoping that the Raiders have the advantage in team speed.
Games to watch
Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, the top-ranked team in Class AA, plays at New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva in a game featuring the only unbeaten teams in the Gopher Valley 2A Conference. NRHEG is ranked 11th.
Fairmont plays at Waseca, with the winner taking control of the South Central Conference. Waseca (3-1) is 2-0 in league games, while Fairmont (2-2) is 1-0 in SCC games.