The second-ranked (Class 1A) St. Edmond football team made a statement Friday night inside Dodger Stadium.
Behind 442 yards rushing and a stout defensive effort, the Gaels crushed Pocahontas Area, 48-0.
Alex Mericle, fresh off a 191-yard, five-touchdown performance from a week ago, ran for 190 yards and four more scores for St. Edmond (4-0 overall, 2-0 in 1A, District 2). The senior now has 683 yards and 14 TDs on the year.
Vinnie Harvey added 99 yards, while Matt Stumpf had 73, including a 52-yard touchdown jaunt in the first. Aaron McElroy converted on 6 of 7 extra-point attempts.
"From top-to-bottom, that was as fine of a performance as we've had in years here," said SEHS head coach Dick Tighe, who picked up career victory No. 395. "The offense was clicking, the defense was hitting and our special teams were great.
"Outside of a fumble and a few penalties, there wasn't anything that didn't go our way."
St. Edmond13 14 7 14- 48
Pocahontas Area0 0 0 0-0
St. Edmond - Alex Mericle (2-yard run), 8:46 left in first. Aaron McElroy kick.
St. Edmond - Matt Stumpf (52-yard run), 5:03 left in first. Kick failed.
St. Edmond - Mericle (14-yard run), 11:06 left in second. McElroy kick.
St. Edmond - Mericle (6-yard run), 1:00 left in second. McElroy kick.
St. Edmond - Mericle (60-yard run), 1:49 left in third. McElroy kick.
St. Edmond - Landon Peed (48-yard fumble recovery), McElroy kick.
St. Edmond - Michael Faiferlick (6-yard run), :38 left in fourth. McElroy kick.
Rushing - St. Edmond: Alex Mericle 22-190, Vinnie Harvey 12-99, Matt Stumpf 2-73, Zach Gailey 1-36, Aaron McElroy 3-26, Michael Faiferlick 3-9, David Flattery 1-6, Jimmy Averill 2-3. Pocahontas Area: Jay Brinkman 18-77, Draven Barth 14-27, Tyler Case 2-12, Aaron Youngberg 1-1, Jacob Kopriva 1-0.
Passing - St. Edmond: Flattery 1-2-0-1, Matthew Bocken 0-0-0-0. Pocahontas Area: Youngberg 5-10-2-23.
Receiving - St. Edmond: Landon Peed 1-1. Pocahontas Area: Brandon Hersom 1-10, Barth 1-5, Austin Behrendsen 2-4, Joey Powers 1-4.
McElroy picked off Pocahontas Area (2-2, 0-2) quarterback Aaron Youngberg on the second play from scrimmage, and the Gaels marched 20 yards in six plays, culminating in the first Mericle score.
After forcing a quick three-and-out, St. Edmond went 80 yards in just under two minutes, as Stumpf darted in for his score.
"We were able to jump on them quickly there in the first," Tighe said. "We continued to play the power game, and our backs really took it to (the Indians).
The only thing that stopped the Gaels were themselves, as Mericle was stripped fighting for extra yards on St. Edmond's third offensive possession. Tighe went right back to his workhorse, though, as Mericle carried four times on the next drive, finding paydirt from 14 yards out.
By the time the first 24 minutes were complete, the Gaels had 173 yards on the ground and 27 points, while Pocahontas Area failed to register a first down and compiled just 13 yards of total offense.
"We continued to work hard through the second half, and those (junior varsity) kids that got in even posted a touchdown," Tighe said. "I told the team (after the game) that we will have tougher games down the road, but if we continue to play like this, I like our chances against anybody."
The Gael first team defense allowed just 101 yards of offense, and the Indians didn't get their initial first down of the game until 6:16 left in the third quarter.
Jay Brinkman led Pocahontas Area with 77 yards rushing. Draven Barth, the leading rusher entering the game for the Indians, was limited to just 27 yards on the ground.
St. Edmond's defense, which has forced 14 takeaways, scored another touchdown when Landon Peed scooped up a fumble and took it back 48 yards for a score. Jimmy Averill also intercepted a pass for the Gaels, who have earned three consecutive shutout victories over Pocahontas Area.
Next up for St. Edmond will be a trip to Holstein to face Ridge View (1-3, 1-1), a 20-6 winner over Sioux Central last night. The Indians host Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto next Friday.