HOLSTEIN - Looking to stay in the driver's seat for a potential Class 1A, District 2 title, the St. Edmond football team hits the road tonight to face Ridge View.
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
The second-ranked Gaels (4-0 overall, 2-0 in the district) turned in their most complete performance of the season a week ago, earning a dominant 48-0 home shutout over Pocahontas Area.
Against the Indians, SEHS racked up a whopping 462 yards on the ground. Through four games this year, the Gaels rank fifth in 1A in total rushing yardage (1,414), averaging a productive 7.5 yards per attempt.
"We played just about a perfect game last week. Everything went well," said St. Edmond head coach Dick Tighe, who is seeking career win No. 396 this evening. "We've been pretty efficient (offensively), and continue to cut down on our mistakes, which is encouraging to see."
Workhorse senior tailback Alex Mericle of St. Edmond is also fifth among all 1A rushers in yards (691), while reaching paydirt 14 times on 100 carries. Mericle needs nine more rushing touchdowns to tie the single-season school mark.
Vinnie Harvey, a junior fullback, has compiled 263 yards and found the endzone twice on 47 totes for the ground-driven Gaels.
"Mericle was a good runner last year, but he's really turned a corner and seems to have more breakaway speed now," Tighe said. "With (Harvey) busting up the middle, it really sets us up with a solid combination (in the backfield)."
Aaron McElroy and Matt Stumpf, both senior wingbacks, have combined for 319 yards on the ground, as well, notching 13.3 yards per rush.
Signal-caller David Flattery, another senior, has gone 7-for-18 through the air for 116 yards, including a pair of scores. Sophomore Landon Peed has hauled in a team-high four catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
"Our quarterback's ball-handling has been excellent so far," said Tighe. "We're also really coming along defensively, and showing improvement each time out."
Teddie Harvey, a senior linebacker, anchors the stingy Gael defensive unit with 65 tackles. St. Edmond has forced 14 takeaways - nine interceptions and five fumble recoveries - for a plus-8 turnover margin.
On the season, SEHS has outscored its opponents, 179-34.
The Raptors (1-3, 1-1) are fresh off a 20-6 victory at Sioux Central. Ridge View, which was formerly known as Buffalo Ridge, is in its fifth season as a joined program between Schaller-Crestland and Galva-Holstein.
In the first three weeks of the season, the Raptors fell to Lawton-Bronson, Woodbury Central and Manson Northwest Webster by a combined total of 21 points.
"We need to stop (the Raptors) early, so we can get all the momentum on our side," Tighe said. "Until you get the lead and get things under control, you always kind of worry about (underdog) teams hanging around and making things interesting."
Dru Kenny (75 attempts, 387 yards, 3 TD) and Ryan Garthoff (84-367-4) form a reliable backfield tandem for Ridge View, which accumulates 20.3 points and 346 total yards per game. Garthoff has also completed 49 of 94 passes for 542 yards with three scores and eight picks.
Michael Tiefenthaler has been the go-to receiver for the Raptors, pulling down 13 balls for 145 yards.
"Their quarterback is pretty good (Garthoff ranks 13th in 1A in passing yards), and they run out of the spread (offensive formation) like Maple Valley did (the Gaels pounded MVAO in Week 3 by a 56-20 final)," Tighe said. "We're going to have to be able to defend the whole field both in terms of running and passing."
Defensively, Ridge View has managed four takeaways and is spearheaded by 250-pound lineman Michael Davidson (42 stops).
St. Edmond's Robbie Burke (bruised thigh) and Jimmy Averill (sprained knee) are each listed as questionable for tonight's action after suffering recent injuries.