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Sura, Johnnies glad to be back

Sam Sura has been rolling this season against the top teams in the MIAC.
Photo by Scott Pierson, d3photography.com 

Don’t be mistaken: Sam Sura and the St. John's football team are thrilled to still be playing.

But if the Johnnies seem to be going about business as usual, it’s because they feel like they’ve been in the playoffs for the last seven games.

Since falling to Concordia-Moorhead to open the MIAC schedule, St. John’s has reeled off seven straight victories. Those wins included a victory over Bethel that knocked the Royals from atop the conference standings and a 26-6 win at St. Olaf, which coupled with another Bethel loss, gave the Johnnies the MIAC title outright, their first conference championship since 2009.

“We lost to Concordia in Week 3, so we knew every game after that was like a playoff game for us,” said SJU head coach Gary Fasching, who is in his second year after replacing John Gagliardi. “If we lost one more game, we probably weren’t going to make the playoffs.”

Sura has been a key component to St. John’s success as the team continues to roll up impressive rushing performances. Sura had 119 yards and two scores in the Johnnies’ win over Bethel and tacked on 132 yards and two more scores last week in the St. Olaf victory.

“It just feels awesome to bring the MIAC championship back to St. John’s,” Sura said.

“I think we all kind of had a special feeling this year,” he added. “We knew that we had a good football team and that we could do this. But being here now and knowing that we did it, it feels great to be able to contribute to the history that has been St. John’s.”

Sura has put his name in the record book multiple times this season. He set the program’s single-game mark with 281 rushing yards in a non-conference win at UW-Eau Claire.

And his 1,605 rushing yards this season established a season record at St. John’s.

“It’s pretty special to be in the record book for this program,” Sura said. “The record is one thing, but being able to win the games and making it to the playoffs is probably the most special thing.”

As a team, the Johnnies have out-rushed opponents 2,345 to 1,382. St. John’s has 24 rushing touchdowns while allowing the opposition to score a mere five TDs on the ground.

“You got to have a good running back, obviously, if you’re going to be a good running team. We have that. Sam is one of the best,” Fasching said. “But realistically, you better have a great offensive line and we think we have a great offensive line.

“And then the other thing you got to have is a good fullback, who’...

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Josh Smith photo

Josh Smith covers high school and Division III athletics for the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, Wis. He has won multiple awards for reporting and photography and contributes to multiple publications in addition to his duties at the Daily Union, including D3football.com beginning in 2012. He graduated from UW-Whitewater with a degree in print journalism.

2011-12 columns: Jason Galleske
2010: Tim Walsh
2003-09: Adam Johnson
1999-2000: Don Stoner 

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