No. 5 Gaels move to 8-0

ALBERT CITY – Fifth-ranked St. Edmond applied the finishing touches to an outright Class 1A, District 2 title here Friday evening.

Despite being tested for most of the game, the Gaels (8-0 overall, 6-0 in the district) stayed unbeaten with a 28-12 comeback triumph over Sioux Central.

Trailing 12-7 early in the second quarter, SEHS eventually sealed the deal by reeling off 21 unanswered points.

“(The Rebels) did the same thing to us last year (in jumping out to an 8-7 lead in the second period), so they did not surprise us,” said Gael head coach Dick Tighe, who earned career win No. 408 last evening. “It was certainly a hard-fought struggle, but it was good for our guys to have to come from behind and protect the lead in the second half.

“Even though we already had at least a share of (the district crown) going in, we wanted (the championship) all to ourselves.”

Workhorse fullback Vinnie Harvey continued his standout senior campaign for St. Edmond by rushing for 142 yards and two scores on 33 carries. Harvey found paydirt from 4 and 5 yards out – both coming in the second half. He has now accounted for 1,009 yards and 21 touchdowns this season.

“Vinnie was able to get his usual tough yards again (Friday),” Tighe said. “Every team in our district has a good running back, but nobody else has another Vinnie.”

Sophomore T.J. O’Tool added 92 yards and a TD – from 18 yards out – on the ground for the Gaels. Quarterback Matthew Bocken, a junior, also hooked up with classmate Landon Peed on a 10-yard endzone strike for the first SEHS points of the contest.

“It took us awhile to get going, but we just kind of wore (Sioux Central) down as the game went on, which we figured we could do,” said Tighe. “After they scored them two early ones, we never really let them get too close the rest of the way.”

Kicker Hank Crimmins, a senior, made all four of his PAT tries for St. Edmond, which overcame a pair of turnovers. The Gaels never punted and went a perfect 3-for-3 on 4th down attempts, as well.

O’Tool notched a team-high 11 tackles, while senior linebacker Jimmy Averill posted eight stops. Tackles Caelan Burbank and Chad Remsburg each combined for a sack.

On Senior Night, the Rebels (4-4, 2-3) received 144 yards rushing and a score from junior Devin Tripp, who entered the game as the third-leading ground-gainer in 1A with 1,246 yards. Nathan Leer chipped in 67 yards and a TD of his own for the home squad, whose two rushing touchdowns were the first ones allowed in district play this year by SEHS.

“At 8-0, we’re right where we want to be at this point in the season,” Tighe said. “Now, we just need to take care of business next week at Eagle Grove and wait until the dust settles.”

St. Edmond has now outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 270-54 on the year. With the victory, the Gaels improved to 26-4 overall since the start of the 2011 campaign.

Looking to wrap up a perfect regular season, SEHS visits the winless Eagles (0-8) in non-district action on Friday. Eagle Grove was hammered by South Hamilton last night, 64-8.