Gaels host Cougars
A familiar foe will stand opposite the St. Edmond football team tonight in Manson Northwest Webster.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. inside Dodger Stadium.
This marks the home debut for the Gaels (0-1 overall) and last week before district action begins. St. Edmond fell to Mason City Newman in its opener, 24-13.
The Cougars, meanwhile, won their opener over Sioux Central 24-14 and are feeling rejuvenated against their close rivals after snapping a 13-year losing streak last season.
Following the setback to Newman, SEHS head coach Dick Tighe stated that he was “disappointed” in how his team was out-conditioned by the Knights. Over the past few days, Tighe and his staff have worked hard to change that around.
“We ran out of gas and got out-played,” Tighe said. “(Newman) was more physical and we just didn’t play hard all the way through.
“But this is a rivalry game and a big one. I think the kids have really recognized that in practice this week and are showing more determination.”
Senior running back Logan Fear led the Gael offense, rushing for 65 yards and scoring a touchdown. Freshman Charlie Shelly opened the contest with an 87-yard kickoff return for a score. Other than that, though, St. Edmond was held to just 49 yards of total offense and did not complete a pass.
Fear will split time at fullback with Cade Naughton, opening up the tailback position for Shelly and sophomore Peyton Spangler.
“It gives us more speed, which we need out of those positions,” Tighe said. “Plus, we can give them all a little more time off the field to stay fresh for the second half.”
Newman ran for 230 yards and passed for another 86, scoring all 24 of its points in the second half. Jack Rasmussen made 9.5 stops on defense, while Fear had 8.5 and Charlie Doyle eight.
“The Cougars have a good backfield and were able to get some long runs (against Sioux Central), but they also gave up some yards so hopefully we can take advantage of that.”
Reid Steinberg and Keaton Wood ripped off long touchdown runs to provide Manson NW a home run threat vs. Sioux Central, averaging 9.5 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns. Steinberg finished with 103 yards and two scores, while Wood had 78 and a 63-yard TD run.
“We were just out-manned and out-sized,” MNW head coach Jeff Anliker said of the Week 1 game. “But our kids kept fighting and hanging in there and we were able to get some turnovers. It is very difficult for a high school team to move the ball 60 or 70 yards and not make a mistake, and when Sioux Central did, we capitalized.
“We also had just one penalty and no turnovers, which for the first game of the season, that was very good to see.”
Senior quarterback Ben Wignall was effective when he needed to be, completing 4 of 8 for 65 yards while adding 58 yards on the ground. He is a two-year starter for Anliker and the Cougars. Sioux Central did run for 373 yards on 57 carries.
“We aren’t real big and neither is St. Edmond so that should equal out,” Anliker said. “But this is a rivalry game and has turned into a good one at that. It is a fun game to play and it is a great chance to play at Dodger Stadium. The kids are excited and it should be a good atmosphere.
“For two schools that are 17 miles apart, there really is no reason we shouldn’t play in every sport.”
Riley Peters anchored the defensive effort for MNW with two sacks, Clay Freimuth had 9.5 tackles and Steinberg recovered two fumbles.
The Cougars suffered a huge preseason loss, as returning offensive and defensive starter Cameron Krebsbach tore his ACL in a summer basketball league. Krebsbach, a 235-pound junior, is out for six months.
“That really hurt,” Anliker said. “He was a big one coming back for us, but the kids along the line have really come together and are working hard.”
Manson NW returns home to begin 1A, District 6 play against South Hamilton and Eagle Grove. Seventh-ranked Van Meter comes to Manson on Sept. 30, while the Cougars host No. 6 Madrid on Oct. 14.
Game notes: St. Edmond’s 18-game home win streak was snapped last year with the loss to Manson NW. … Tighe took over for Anliker as SEHS head coach in 2002 and is currently tied with Bill Kibby for most wins at the school with 110. … The Gaels and Cougars were in the same Class 1A district each of the previous two seasons. … Fear now has 802 yards rushing in his career. … Wood has rushed for 1,118 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in his MNW career.