Gaels knock off Newman

MASON CITY – St. Edmond will open up district play just how head coach Dick Tighe envisioned – with an unbeaten 2-0 record.

Able to weather an early storm, the Gaels rallied for a once seemingly improbable 27-20 road victory over No. 10 (Class A) Mason City Newman (0-2) Friday night.

Despite spotting the Knights the first 13 points of the game, SEHS answered with four straight scores of its own and never looked back.

“This was just a great victory, especially after the kind of rough start we had,” said Tighe, who earned his 402nd career win last evening. “I thought we did a much better job of controlling the lines of scrimmage as the game went on. Defensively, we found a way to slow (the Knights) down in the second half after they marched right up and down the field on us in the first quarter.”

Vinnie Harvey, a 225-pound senior fullback, sparked the smash-mouth Gael ground charge with 123 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carriers. Harvey found paydirt from 1, 1 and 7 yards out, respectively. He has now accounted for 30 of St. Edmond’s 41 points this season.

“Vinnie always runs hard and gets you those tough yards,” Tighe said. “When it gets colder outside, he’ll be even better.”

Michael Faiferlick delivered 62 yards on 10 totes for the green and white, while Hank Crimmins ran 12 times for 46 yards.

Junior quarterback Matthew Bocken of St. Edmond also threw for 97 yards, completing all three of his pass attempts to classmate Landon Peed. Bocken actually hit a wide-open Peed on a 62-yard endzone strike, tying the contest at the 9:12 mark of the third quarter.

“All the defenders were up in the box, and we got them to bite on a play-action, which gave us a lot of momentum at the time,” said Tighe. “Every year something like that happens when we’re able to catch teams napping since they’re so focused on our running game.”

Newman jumped in front midway through the first quarter on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Jack Fitzgerald to all-state fullback Joe Burgmeier. Fitzgerald later hooked up with Peter LaPointe on a seam route from 10 yards out to extend the Knights’ lead.

In the opening period, the Gaels ran only three plays from scrimmage compared to 22 for the Knights. Over the final 36 minutes, St. Edmond held a decisive 55-32 advantage.

The Gaels outgained Newman in both total yardage (324-211) and first downs (16-12). Both teams committed one turnover. SEHS also overcame a turnover on downs at the Knights’ 3-yard line.

Peed, Caelan Burbank and Tate O’Tool all posted nine tackles for a Gael defensive unit which was without the services of starting senior middle linebacker Jimmy Averill (broken thumb). Harvey and Burbank each managed sacks, while Peed added an interception to go along with a key 24-yard punt return just one play before his long score.

“Burbank had a heck of a performance for us,” Tighe said. “We had several other guys step up defensively, too, like Peed, O’Tool and Crimmins.”

Burgmeier was limited to 67 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Fitzgerald finished 11-for-18 through the air for 93 yards. He also broke free for a 28-yard scamper late on Newman’s most productive play from scrimmage.

“We still have some room for improvement, but we’re getting better,” said Tighe. “Hopefully, we can keep things rolling next week.”

St. Edmond returns to action Friday, hosting Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto (1-1) in a 1A, District 2 opener. The Rams were drubbed by Westwood Friday, 46-22.