Gaels go for 3-0 start

Week 3 of the prep football season brings the start of district play for St. Edmond here Friday.

The Gaels (2-0 overall, 0-0 in Class 1A, District 2) welcome Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto to Dodger Stadium.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Last week, St. Edmond recovered from a slow start to upend Mason City Newman on the road, 27-20.

Senior Vinnie Harvey ran for 123 yards and scored three touchdowns, while Matthew Bocken was a perfect 3 of 3 passing for 97 yards – all of which went to junior Landon Peed.

“Vinnie has been running the ball with a lot of success, he just needs the weather to cool down so his radiator stops overheating,” St. Edmond head coach Dick Tighe said. “He was our horse again (against the Knights).”

Nothing has been easy for Tighe and the Gaels through two weeks, as the opener saw them scratch and claw their way to a 14-9 victory over No. 10 (Class A) Bishop Garrigan.

“Garrigan and Newman are traditionally strong programs and those are two quality wins we got,” he said. “We haven’t played the greatest, but getting the ‘W’ is what is important.”

On the year, Harvey, the fullback, has ran for 248 yards and scored five times, while Hank Crimmins has 109 yards. Michael Faiferlick has rushed for another 77, but Tighe would like to see even more production out of his tailbacks this evening.

Crimmins, though, will be moved to tight end to replace Robby Burke, who is out with an illness. T.J. O’Tool takes his spot in the backfield.

“We’ve been giving (Faiferlick and O’Tool) a lot of reps in practice and I like what I’ve seen,” Tighe said. “They are both strong, quick runners who can break the big one.”

Typically, St. Edmond’s defense is causing turnovers at a growing rate, but so far this year, they’ve had just three – two fumble recoveries and an interception.

“We haven’t been hitting anybody really hard,” Tighe admitted. “Our tackling has not been up to par with previous years and that’s why we aren’t forcing turnovers.

“We have to get better in that department.”

The Rams (1-1, 0-0) went 3-6 a year ago and return a handful of starters.

Sophomore running back Marvin Gaines, senior Bryce Hatler and classmate Eric Koerner have all went over 170 yards rushing this year.

Gaines leads the way at 197, while both Hatler and Koerner have scored three times each. Koerner is averaging 14.2 yards per carry on 12 attempts.

Another underclassmen, freshman Juan Delgarza, leads the receiving crew with 77 yards on two catches. Junior Shawn Flanigan is 10 of 22 for 154 yards and two TDs through two games.

“(MVAO) runs the pistol and they have some speed, so we have to be on our toes,” Tighe said. “We can’t let them get any momentum, especially early in the game.”

Koerner and Gaines anchor the Ram defense with 37 combined tackles.

Game notes: St. Edmond defeated MV-AO last year, 56-20. … Alex Mericle ran for 191 yards and scored five times in that game. … The Rams topped West Monona to start the season (42-20) before falling to Westwood last week (42-22). … In Week 1, Koerner ran for 142 yards on eight carries, including two touchdowns – one of which was a 78-yarder. Both Gaines and Hatler also went over 100 yards, with Hatler scoring all three of his touchdowns. … Harvey, in his third year, has ran for 1,078 yards and scored 14 touchdowns.