Lursen finds his niche

Gael senior rediscovers passion for football, becomes an all-stater

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Isaac Lursen of St. Edmond runs for a first down against Sioux Central inside Dodger Stadium during the regular season.

Outside of a few rare instances, running the football has been the norm for years at St. Edmond.

New head coach Jon Borer changed all that this past fall, implementing a more balanced offensive attack for the Gaels.

One player that flourished under the new system was Isaac Lursen, as the senior set several school records.

After not going out for football as a sophomore or junior, Lursen returned to the program and set two new school records on the gridiron as a wide receiver while garnering second team all-state honors from the Iowa Newspaper Association.

In the season opener — which marked his first live action in over three years — Lursen set a single-game record with 177 yards receiving vs. Mason City Newman. Two weeks later, against MMCRU, he had 118 yards receiving.

Lursen’s eight catches vs. South O’Brien are the second-highest total by a Gael player, falling one reception short of Dave Conell’s mark set in 1979.

“This year was a blast,” Lursen said. “I built a lot of solid relationships with people that I barely talked to before, including the coaching staff. I think I kind of surprised a lot of people, including myself, when I started breaking records. But I couldn’t have accomplished anything without my teammates.

“We had some hogs along the offensive line and Gibby (junior quarterback Andrew Gibb) did a great job getting me the ball. I really wish I could stay another year and build off the foundation that we have started because there are big things (coming) in the future.”

One of those special relationships was formed with Borer.

“Playing for Coach Borer was an unforgettable experience,” he said. “You could really tell how much he loved the game and the kids. Every day, he came to practice with a huge smile on his face. His enthusiasm spread to the rest of us and made it a lot easier to get out and practice, even if we had ‘gassers’ that day.

“I’m definitely proud to say that I was able to help build the foundation for his offense and style of play here at St. Edmond. It was definitely a huge change from the past, but I see really big things in the future for the Gaels.”

With 41 receptions on the year, Lursen broke Conell’s single-season record of 38, also set in ’79. He finished with 650 yards, placing him fourth on that list. Lursen’s 41 career catches have him 10th on the school charts, and his 25.3 yards per reception in the Mason City Newman contest are fifth most.

“My proudest moments on the football field were breaking the school record for yards in a game in my first varsity game and seeing the improvement of my teammates from the beginning of summer to the end of the season,” Lursen said. “We had so many people work their tails off in the weight room and it really showed on the field with the success we had.”

Lursen also had two seven-catch games, which are the third-most in a single-game.

One of three seniors on the St. Edmond basketball roster alongside Will Woodruff and Sean Flaherty, Lursen is providing leadership and toughness off the bench for the Gaels.

“I really think we have a chance to visit (Wells Fargo Arena for state) this year if we continue to get better every day,” Lursen said. “We showed some of our flashes in the Des Moines Christian game, we just need to continue playing unselfish basketball.”

Lursen plans to compete for the St. Edmond track program in the spring, along with doing soccer for a fourth season. He played in all 19 games for the Dodgers last year and will be counted on to help lead the team.

“It’s going to be a big adjustment in soccer with so many starters graduating,” Lursen said. “Going from Class A football and 1A basketball to 4A soccer is a massive jump. Most of those kids specialize in only soccer and play year-round on club teams, which isn’t really an option for kids around here right now.

“But I’m looking forward to the season and seeing who steps up.”

Along with football, basketball and soccer, Lursen is also the senior class representative for Student Council and in the honor program at St. Edmond.

Lursen is undecided where he’ll attend college, but plans on continuing his football career.


Vacation destination: Aspen, Colorado.

People I would like to have dinner with: Donald Trump, Billy Currington and Chance the Rapper.

It would surprise people that I’ll: have my Associate of Arts degree when I graduate from high school.

My sports role model: Adam Thielen.

My everyday role model: Sean Flaherty.

I can’t go a day without: brushing my teeth.

Nickname: Deer Slayer.


Team: Minnesota Vikings.

Class: Calculus.

Magazine: Field and Stream.

Phone app: Twitter.