St. Edmond visits fifth-ranked Bishop Garrigan
ALGONA — It’s been nearly three years since Bishop Garrigan lost a district football game.
The fifth-ranked (Class A) Golden Bears look to make it 21 wins in a row when they close out the regular season against St. Edmond Friday night.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Garrigan, which has already clinched its third straight district title and 14th straight playoff berth, was the state runner-up last year. However, veteran head coach Marty Wadle had to replace several key pieces to that unit.
“I think the biggest improvement I have seen from Week 1 to now is the maturity of the kids,” Wadle said. “We still aren’t quite where I’d like us to be in some areas, but we have definitely grown up. We had some adversity thrown at us in an overtime win against Ridge View, and I think the kids did a good job of handling that.”
The last district loss for the Golden Bears (8-0 overall, 6-0 in A, District 2) came on Oct. 24, 2014 vs. West Hancock. They are 37-6 over their last 43 games overall, including 26 straight wins in the regular season.
Drew Bacha has taken over at the running back position, racking up 826 yards and 13 touchdowns this year. Brad Capesius, who started at quarterback last year as a sophomore, is 43 of 97 for 550 yards with eight touchdowns, adding 331 yards on the ground.
“We are going to go out and try to play a good game and take care of business,” Wadle said. “We know (St. Edmond) has had a lot of injuries and you just never want to see that for anybody.”
T.J. Schnurr is the top receiver for the Golden Bears, hauling in 20 passes for 308 yards and six TDs.
Zach Muller, Drake Buscherfeld and Eric Thul anchor the BGHS defense. Muller has 55 tackles, Buscherfeld 44.5 and Thul 32. Cade Winkel has registered four sacks and Jackson Rosenmeyer three.
“When you replace 13 seniors, you are going to have some holes to fill,” Wadle said. “That was a really good class we had last year, but these kids have stepped up to the challenge.”
Injuries have taken a toll on St. Edmond (3-5, 3-3) and first-year head coach Jon Borer, with the latest coming last week in a loss to Sioux Central.
Senior linebacker and leading tackler Jack Rasmussen suffered a broken bone in his shin, and senior offensive lineman Ty Smith went out with an ankle. Both join junior quarterback Andrew Gibb, sophomore running back/safety Charlie Shelly and junior center Mason O’Brien on the sidelines.
Sophomores Ethan Lursen and Bryce Anderson will step in along the offensive line, with senior Sean Flaherty shifting to center after playing guard and tackle this year. Freshman Drew Schaeffer gets the nod at safety on defense with the injuries.
“It’s a good and bad situation,” Borer said. “It’s good to get experience for the younger kids, but you also don’t really want to be playing them in a varsity game if you don’t have to. However, we are at the point where we have to.”
Isaac Lursen, who tied Dave Conell’s single-season receptions mark with two catches last week, is also tied for the most catches in Class A with 38. His 604 yards are third-most in his class and fifth-most at SEHS.
“This is it for our seniors, so I expect them to go out and play hard,” Borer said. “And I feel like the kids stepping in will want to give it everything as well.”
Cade Naughton leads the SEHS ground unit with 479 yards and seven scores, and junior Elijah Litwiller will make his second career start at quarterback in place of Gibb. He is 6 of 13 for 141 yards on the year.
Rasmussen ended his season with 83 tackles, with 222 in his Gael career.
WR — John Meis, 160, jr.; LT — Drake Buscherfeld, 230, sr.; LG — Billy Erpelding, 210, jr.; C — Aiden Koob, 220, jr.; RG — Jackson Rosenmeyer, 215, sr.; RT — John Capesius, 195, jr.; TE — T.J. Schnurr, 230, jr.; QB — Brad Capesius, 175, jr.; FB — Eric Thul, 190, jr.; TB — Drew Bacha, 180, sr.; F — Myles Koob, 160, sr.; K — Rosenmeyer.
DE — Schnurr; DT — Buscherfeld; DT — Rosenmeyer; DE — J. Capesius; LB — Cade Winkel, 215, soph.; LB — Zach Muller, 195, sr.; LB — Thul; CB — Sam Trainer, 160, sr.; SS — Bacha; FS — B. Capesius; CB — Ben Degen, 155, sr.; P — Schnurr.