Gaels come up short at MMC

MARCUS – Turnovers and ill-timed penalties cost the St. Edmond football team their district opener here Friday night against MMCRU.

The Gaels fumbled four times, and two of them led to touchdowns for the Royals, who claimed the Class A, District 2 contest by a final score of 15-8 on their home field.

Last year, MMCRU (1-2 overall, 1-0 in league) won the 8-man title for the second time in four seasons a year ago as Marcus-MMC, added Remsen-Union and bumped back up to 11-man football.

Tyler Brimm scampered for a season-high 183 yards, including 64- and 78-yard touchdown runs.

“Our inexperience and youth showed,” SEHS head coach Dick Tighe said. “We turned the ball over too many times and we couldn’t sustain drives on offense. I thought we played a strong fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late.”

Down by seven, St. Edmond (1-2, 0-1) quarterback Andrew Gibb completed a 32-yard pass to Jake Rossow with under three minutes to go. After getting inside the Royal 20, the Gaels were unable to advance any further, as a desperation fourth-down end zone toss to Will Woodruff was batted away.

“At times, our offense looked pretty good, but we didn’t come out with the kind of energy I thought we would have,” Tighe said. “We had a real good week of practice and the kids seemed prepared, but something changed once we hit the field.”

MMCRU, which went 13-0 last year but graduated nine senior starters from that team, did not have a first down in the second half – finishing the game with just four total. Brimm’s big-play ability, though, more than made up for it.

Brimm, a junior, entered the game with just 52 yards rushing on the season. He eclipsed that total in the first quarter, thanks in large part to a 64-yard scamper, finishing the first half with 163 yards. The Gael defense did limit him to just 20 after that.

“I was really proud of our effort on the defensive side of the ball in that second half,” Tighe said. “The first two weeks, we played great in the first half and let teams push us around in the second. This time, we did well in the second half.

“The key now is getting it all figured out and put together over a complete game.”

Minus senior linebacker Logan Fear and freshman cornerback Charlie Shelly, St. Edmond was forced to rely on Cade Naughton to shoulder the offensive load. Naughton, a 170-pound junior, answered, picking up his second consecutive 100-yard game.

Naughton had the only touchdown of the night for the Gaels, breaking down the sideline in the second quarter for a 61-yard TD jaunt. He finished with a career-high 163 yards on 30 carries, with 109 of those coming in the opening 24 minutes.

“We really missed Logan out there because that would have given us two backs to work with,” Tighe said. “Cade stepped up, but it’s tough to rely on just one kid – especially one that never comes off the field – to carry you on offense.”

Gibb, who started the first two games under center but replaced Elijah Litwiller in this one, completed two passes to Rossow for 40 yards. Litwiller had a 29-yard completion to Will Woodruff in the first quarter.

St. Edmond committed seven penalties for 50 yards and had the four fumbles – two in the first half and two in the second. The teams combined for 20 punts in all.

“Our focus now just has to be on next week and South O’Brien,” Tighe said. “We can’t think any further ahead than that.”

South O’Brien (1-2, 1-0) won its district opener over Hartley-HMS last night, 25-7. MMCRU travels to Sioux Central (1-2, 0-1) next Friday.