Gaels prevail in overtime

SIOUX RAPIDS – Logan Fear has been around sfor ome of the more memorable wins in St. Edmond football history.

Friday night’s 9-6 overtime victory over Sioux Central might not rank up there in the record books, but for Fear, it will always hold a special place in his heart.

The Gael senior booted a game-winning field goal in overtime, as his team snapped a five-game losing streak in the process.

“We’ve won games in the (UNI) Dome in the semifinals,” reflected Fear, one of just five seniors on the St. Edmond roster. “Getting (head coach Dick) Tighe’s 400th career win was very special.

“After losing five straight, and with the way we made a defensive stand twice, this is one I’ll remember for a long time.”

Sophomore Sean Newell and junior Sean Flaherty brought down Sioux Central’s Brady Rusk on fourth-and-5 in the extra session, setting off a wild celebration for the Gaels (2-6 overall, 1-5 in district). At the end of regulation, it was 10th-grader Peyton Spangler stopping Rusk on fourth-down at the SEHS 11.

“I know we aren’t having the kind of year we’ve become accustom to at St. Edmond,” Fear said. “But we are working just as hard each and every day as we were when we were making those runs.

“For the younger kids, I know they are excited right now to get the ‘W,’ as our the seniors.”

The lone Gael score came courtesy of freshman Jackson Bemrich, as he blocked a Rebel (3-5, 2-4) punt in the second quarter and scooped up the loose ball, returning it 32 yards. He was helped on the return by a huge block from junior Jack Rasmussen, the state’s leading tackler entering the night.

St. Edmond had just 83 yards of total offense, as the special teams accounted for all nine points. Sioux Central, which was playing its fourth different quarterback of the year due to injuries, had 215 yards rushing.

“From a stats perspective, it was an awful night,” Tighe said. “But all that matters is we had more points when it was all over. These kids have been working so hard and I’m so happy for them.

“You can keep talking about gaining confidence and experience for the coming years, but for the seniors, all they wanted was another win.”

Fear more than did his part on the defensive side with Rasmussen, as the two were in on 46 tackles. Rasmussen, though, left the game in the fourth after colliding with a Sioux Central player.

The Rebels relied on converted lineman Carter Beckman in the first half, as the 215-pound junior carried the ball 22 times for 86 yards, including a 3-yard TD run. In the second half, senior Brady Rusk racked up 105 yards on 22 carries.

Rusk had not played in two weeks after rushing for 843 yards and nine scores entering the night.

“We weren’t really sure what to expect out of them due to all the injuries,” Tighe said. “Our kids did a great job of stepping up and making a big play when we needed it.”

After forcing a St. Edmond punt in the fourth, Sioux Central reeled off nine consecutive runs by Rusk to reach the Gael 10. However, a flag backed them up to the 25. Rusk carried it three more times, coming up short as Spangler locked on and didn’t let go.

“What a great play by Peyton there to bring down a determined kid,” Tighe said. “And then in overtime, our interior line stepped up and stopped (Rusk) again on fourth.

“We’re not where we want to be by any means, but we’ll take this win and get back to work Monday for Bishop Garrigan.”

Will Woodruff had two sacks on back-to-back plays for the Gael defense on the night.

St. Edmond will attempt to ruin a perfect season for the fourth-ranked (Class A) Golden Bears, who improved to 8-0 with a 48-6 triumph over Hartley-HMS last night.