Gaels host Ridge View

It’s Homecoming for the newly-ranked St. Edmond football team.

The ninth-ranked (Class 1A) Gaels will welcome district foe Ridge View to Dodger Stadium this evening.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

St. Edmond (4-0 overall, 2-0 in 1A, District 2) and the Raptors (4-0, 2-0) are tied for the league lead at the moment and are the only two unbeaten squads left standing.

Last week, the Gaels rolled to a 35-0 victory over Pocahontas Area, while Ridge View claimed a 43-20 triumph vs. Sioux Central.

“The winner of this game could really gain an upper-hand in the district race,” said SEHS head coach Dick Tighe, who 404 career wins. “It’s also homecoming for us, which always makes for a bigger game.

“I’m really expect nothing less than a knock-down-drag-out fight.

Vinnie Harvey continues to anchor the offensive attack for St. Edmond, as the senior has 496 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.

Junior Michael Faiferlick (252 yards) and 10th-grader T.J. O’Tool (168) have provided the outside to Harvey’s inside threat in Tighe’s offense.

“We’re going to need to shorten the game and hold on to the ball,” Tighe said. “A few turnovers in our favor wouldn’t hurt, either, and we have to avoid turning the ball over at all costs.”

Matthew Bocken has been effective when he’s needed to be, as the junior is 6 of 14 for 164 yard and two touchdowns. More importantly, he has yet to throw an interception.

All six of his completions, which have gone for over 27 yards per catch, have gone to classmate Landon Peed.

St. Edmond is averaging just under 30 points per game, but have outscored its last two opponents 76-0. The defense is allowing only seven points a game and has forced seven turnovers.

“It really is a complete contrast in styles,” the coach said. “Field position will be important, and we have to limit the number of big plays (Ridge View) makes.”

Senior Ryan Garthoff is completing 64-percent of his passes, throwing for 838 yards and eight touchdowns. He has been picked off six times.

Garthoff, working out of the spread offense, is also Ridge View’s leading rusher with 512 yards and nine touchdowns on a team-high 87 carries.

“Garthoff is a very good athlete and can hurt you with his arm or his legs,” Tighe said. “He got out and made three big throws against Manson Northwest Webster that was the difference.”

Josh Kofmhal (15 catches, 331 yards, 4 TDs) and Logan Richard (15-310-3) are his favorite targets, as both juniors are averaging 20-plus yards per catch.

With the Raptors using a pistol-spread formation and the Gaels remaining true to their I-formation, Tighe was forced to get creative in practice to simulate the style.

“We used Payton Sitzmann as the scout team quarterback. He can run and is tough, and did a great job,” Tighe said. “We worked on containment and preparing for their different formations.”

Matt Wandrey, a senior, leads the defense with 70 total tackles. Sophomores Ryan Cougill and Joe Kenny are second and third with 30-plus stops.

The Raptors have scored at least 30 points in all four games this year, averaging just over 35 per contest. The defense is allowing 11 points a game.

Game notes: Hank Crimmins is 15-for-17 in extra-point attempts this year. … O’Tool is averaging 41.5 yards per punt, eighth-best in 1A. … Ridge View’s defense has forced nine turnovers on the year. … Richard is just 3-for-8 on extra-point attempts. … Garthoff is third in 1A in passing yards and 12th in rushing yards on the year. … The Raptors play at Maple Valley-Anthon Oto next Friday. … A total of 12 teams are still unbeaten in 1A, including both St. Edmond and Ridge View. This game is one of six that matches two unbeatens against one another.