Garrigan bound for championship round

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Grant Buscherfeld of Bishop Garrigan reacts to beating St. Alberts 26-20 during class A semifinals on Friday

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Grant Buscherfeld of Bishop Garrigan reacts to beating St. Alberts 26-20 during class A semifinals on Friday

CEDAR FALLS — Brad Capesius had no trouble adjusting to the bright lights and turf inside the UNI-Dome here Friday afternoon.

The Bishop Garrigan sophomore quarterback made several key plays with his arm and legs, helping lead the fourth-ranked Golden Bears to a 26-20 victory over No. 3 Council Bluffs St. Albert in a Class A semifinal.

Bishop Garrigan (12-0 overall) now meets No. 2 and defending state champion Gladbrook-Reinbeck (12-0) on Thursday at 1:36 p.m. The Rebels advanced with a 24-14 victory over top-ranked Saint Ansgar in the first semifinal.

Capesius, who won the starting quarterback job in preseason, passed for 111 yards and ran for another 32. In the second half, he was a perfect 4-for-4 passing for 53 yards.

However, when the lights were focused just on him in the post-game interview room, Capesius shied away from the spotlight.

“Put me out on a field playing sports and there are no nerves,” Capesius admitted. “But this (talking to the media)? It’s not something I’m comfortable doing.”

Veteran Bishop Garrigan head coach Marty Wadle tried to prepare Capesius for the questions, but he knows after all these years, nothing can do that.

“He’s a great kid and he made some big-time plays for us,” said Wadle, who will be coaching in his third championship game after runner-up finishes in 1999 and 2005. “He stepped up for us. He also had some plays that we need to work on, but we talked on the sidelines and he’ll learn from his mistakes.

“You don’t get this far without a little luck going your way.”

Senior Gibson Behr ran for 106 yards, including 77 in the first half, while senior fullback Grant Arndorfer added 67. Late in the fourth with the Golden Bears holding on to a slim lead, they rode Arndorfer during a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended in a Behr TD and chewed up over six minutes of the final quarter.

“They are a great team with great players and a great coaching staff,” St. Albert head coach Kevin Culjat said. “We thought if we could score three touchdowns against this defense, we would have a good shot.

“They are tough up front on both sides of the ball and they have very good skill position players.”

The Falcons, who lost to Bishop Garrigan in the ’05 semifinal before going on to win state titles in ’06, ’07 and ’09, were led by Luke Waters. The junior ran for a game-high 147 yards and passed for another 123, but he finished the second half just 3 of 11 passing for 22 yards.

“St. Albert is a great team and we did a tremendous job of stopping them when we had to,” Wadle said. “This is a special group of kids. They have taken everything we’ve thrown at them and dealt with it.”

The Falcons quickly answered the Golden Bears with a field goal, cutting the deficit to six with just under three minutes to go. Rodrigo Barajas, who had just kicked through a 45-yard field goal, delivered an onside kick that was recovered by St. Albert. The officials huddled to discuss the play before rewarding the Falcons the ball.

St. Albert marched down to the BGHS 22 before a holding flag backed them up. Waters missed a second-down pass, was sacked by junior Drake Buscherfeld on third-down and missed another pass on fourth that ended the game.

Along with his 106 yards rushing and two scores, Behr also caught four passes for 69 yards. Joel Vaske, who hauled in a 15-yard TD pass from Capesius, added several key stops on St. Albert leading receiver Tyler Blaha in the second half.

Capesius also ran in the first score of the contest.

“Joel is a great receiver and he made some big plays,” Capesius said. “Our offense has great talent everywhere.”

Wadle, who has been at Garrigan for 25 years now, admitted that he might have found his “lucky” tie after the victory.

“Twenty-five years ago when I was coaching in the lower levels at (West Des Moines) Dowling, I was given a tie by my fellow coaches when I got the Garrigan job,” he said. “Ever since, I’ve always worn a tie. Maybe this is the right one.”

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing — Bishop Garrigan: Gibson Behr 26-106, Grant Arndorfer 11-67, Brad Capesius 13-32, Grant Busherfeld 1-3, Max Patkins 1-(minus-2), Team 1-(minus-1). Council Bluffs St. Albert: Luke Waters 24-147, Luke Gronstal 6-5, Adam Gubbles 1-1, Eli Finn 2-(minus-2), Kyle Barnes 1-(minus-2), Team 1-(minus-2).

Passing — Bishop Garrigan: Capesius 7-9-0-111. Council Bluffs St. Albert: Waters 7-21-0-123.

Receiving — Bishop Garrigan: Behr 4-69, Joel Vaske 2-33, Zach Muller 1-9. Council Bluffs St. Albert – Tyler Blaha 4-108, Andrew Hanafan 1-7, Joseph Liston 1-4, Finn 1-4.

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