Gael seniors return to Dome

CEDAR FALLS – Seven years ago, senior members of the St. Edmond football team stepped inside the UNI-Dome.

Now, they return.

Only this time, the game carries a little more importance.

The Gaels (12-0 overall) will face Van Meter (12-0) in the second Class 1A state semifinal here Saturday.

Kickoff is set for 1:06 p.m. following Iowa City Regina (12-0) and North Fayette (11-1), which kicks at 10:06 a.m.

Following a quarterfinal round victory over South O’Brien, SEHS senior Hank Crimmins reflected on that fifth grade game played inside the dome.

“It was for the YMCA I think,” said the co-captain and two-way starter. “I don’t remember if we won or not, but I’m sure I will remember (Saturday’s semifinal round) game a little better.”

Crimmins, who shares captain responsibilities with Vinnie Harvey, has experienced state tournament play in several sports – just like Harvey.

This current football season, though, has been one for the ages.

“I’m enjoying this a little more because I’m a starter,” said Crimmins, who has 67 tackles, two interceptions, almost 200 yards rushing and is 51-for-57 on extra-point attempts. “That, and it’s the first time in school history we’ve made it to the semifinals.

“We are going to leave our mark on the history books and we want to add more to it before we are done.”

Harvey, a state placewinner on the wrestling mats, said getting this far in the two sports brings out several similarities.

“The pressure and amount of intensity is about the same,” he said. “It’s just a different feeling, though, between wrestling and football.”

Like Crimmins, his goal now is to give the Gaels their first state football title.

“We have made history with this season,” Harvey stated. “Nobody has done it before; we’ll always be the first to make it to the semis.”

Harvey has shouldered the offensive load this year after sharing it as a junior. He set a new school-record for career rushing touchdowns after scoring four in the state quarterfinals.

On the year, Harvey has 1,458 yards rushing and 32 touchdowns, while also making 66 stops on defense and eight sacks.

“We’ve been called the underdogs all year, but (after the win over South O’Brien), I think people will be taking notice of us now,” Harvey said.

The semifinal round winners meet next Friday for the state title at 11:06 a.m. Regina is a three-time defending champion in both 1A and 2A.