Gaels fall short

Dick Tighe watched from the sidelines Friday night and saw what he could only describe as a vintage Dick Tighe performance.

This one, though, came from the opposing sideline, as North Union picked up a 22-12 victory over St. Edmond inside Dodger Stadium.

The Warriors (3-4 overall, 2-3 in Class A, District 2) ran for 200 yards, controlling the majority of the second half. The Gaels (1-6, 0-5) ran just 18 plays from scrimmage over the final 24 minutes, falling for the fifth straight time.

“After the game, I told (Warrior head coach Matt Ernster) that was a ball-control, grind-it-out game plan that I was impressed with,” Tighe said. “We’ve done that to teams for years and it didn’t feel very good being on the receiving end.”

Trent Pedersen, who played on the line up until two weeks ago when he ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for another 102 and a pair of scores. Isaac Engeman added 97 yards on the ground, as North Union put together a 17-play, 73-yard drive that started late in the third and ended with just 4:30 left in the game.

“We just couldn’t get our defense off the field,” Tighe said. “Credit North Union because they were playing hard and pushing forward. We would bottle them up on first or second (down), and they would convert time and time again on third and fourth.

“It’s tough, especially for the kids, because they are playing their hearts out. But we kept battling and trying to get back in it.”

Sophomore quarterback Andrew Gibb led a quick-strike offense after the second Pedersen score, marching the Gaels down the field and into the end zone when he found Will Woodruff for the second time. Gibb tossed a perfect strike to Woodruff from six yards out, but the two-point conversion failed and the Warriors recovered the ensuing onside kick.

Gibb finished his night 5 of 9 passing for 70 yards and the two TDs, finding Woodruff three times for 38 yards and Charlie Shelly twice covering 32. That included a 25-yard acrobatic catch by Shelly to set up the second score.

“We got our passing game going finally,” Tighe said. “Andrew looked really good. He was poised and settled into the pocket, finding the open receiver. And both Will and Charlie did great jobs running the routes and making the catch.

“The real nice part (about Gibb, Woodruff and Shelly) is that they are part of a large group of players we have for the future.”

Both teams struggled to move the ball early, combining for six punts and lost fumble on the first seven possessions of the night. Pedersen capped off the first sustained drive with a 1-yard TD plunge late in the second.

North Union struck first when Hunter Pierce recovered a fumble in the end zone. That was the lone turnover of the contest.

“We were just out-muscled,” Tighe said. “That, and not stopping them on third-down, were the difference in the game.”

The Warriors converted 7 of 15 third-down attempts, while St. Edmond was just 3-for-10. North Union also held a plus-six advantage in first downs and more than doubled up the Gaels in time of possession.

Jack Rasmussen, who continues to play through an injury, recorded 18 tackles on defense, while Logan Fear had 12. Shelly and Sean Flaherty each made seven stops for SEHS.

St. Edmond hits the road next Friday, traveling to Sioux Rapids to meet Sioux Central (3-4, 2-3), which lost to Hartley-HMS last night, 12-3. North Union battles South O’Brien (4-3, 4-1), a 41-6 winner over MMCRU.