By DANA BECKER
A sense of excitement swept over Dodger Stadium Friday night, as the St. Edmond football team began the Jon Borer era.
The Gaels provided another quick jolt, jumping out to a 10-0 lead over Mason City Newman before the Knights fought back, earning a 28-16 win in the season opener for both teams.
Following a 2-7 campaign a year ago, Borer was hired to guide the St. Edmond (0-1 overall) program. A former Briar Cliff University quarterback, Borer installed a new offense that was on full display here.
Junior quarterback Andrew Gibb surpassed his season passing yardage total from last year, throwing for 196 yards on 12 of 27. He also ran for a team-high 60 yards — both career-highs — and had one passing and one rushing touchdown.
Isaac Lursen, who didn’t even have a catch last year, broke the single-game receiving yards record with 177 on eight receptions. His catch total was one behind Dave Conell’s from 1979, while his yards broke Brent Baedke’s 2005 record.
“I saw a ton of good things and am excited about what we did right,” Borer said. “But there are also areas we can improve upon — and we will.
“I’m proud of the way the kids played and we’ll make our biggest improvement from Week 1 to Week 2.”
The Knights, coming off a 6-3 season that included a 24-13 victory over the Gaels, scored 21 of the final 27 points, including two fourth quarter touchdowns by Josh Fitzgerald.
Ben Jacobs, who takes over at fullback for a Newman team that has received over 11,000 yards rushing from that position from the last three players, rushed for a game-high 118 yards on 26 carries. Fitzgerald added 80 yards and sealed the game with an 82-yard interception return for a score with a minute left.
“I thought we came out and played with a lot of emotion,” Borer said. “But we were lacking energy in the second quarter and some other parts. We didn’t have the ball much and I thought that lack of energy showed on defense.”
After the Gaels scored 10 points and had 144 yards of total offense in the opening 12 minutes, Newman responded with a ball-control offense in the second. The Knights had 106 yards to just 23 by SEHS.
Gibb completed just 14 of 70 passes last year and rushed for only seven yards on 13 carries.
“Overall, Andrew threw the ball really well and put it in positions for our guys to make plays,” Borer said. “Cade (Naughton) and Charlie (Shelly) ran hard, I thought our line blocked really well and Isaac made a lot of big plays for us.
“We ask a lot out of these kids with many of them not only playing both ways, but also special teams, and they really responded for us.”
Naughton ran for 51 yards and Shelly added 37. Elijah Litwiller, Jake Rossow, Naughton and Shelly all caught passes from Gibb as St. Edmond ran plays out of multiple formations all night.
Lursen kicked through a 27-yard field goal for the first points, while Sean Newell had a sack and Jack Rasmussen recorded a fumble recovery on defense.
The Gaels return to action next Friday when they travel to Manson Northwest Webster. The Cougars dropped their season opener to Sioux Central Thursday night, 22-8.
First Downs 15 18
Rushes-Yards 34-137 46-213
Passing 196 90
Comp-Att-Int 12-27-1 10-19-0
Total Offense 333 303
Punts-Avg. 4-38.5 3-32.3
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 7-50 10-90
St. Edmond 10 0 6 0– 16
MC Newman 0 7 6 15–28
St. Edmond — Isaac Lursen (27-yard field goal), 8:25 left in first.
St. Edmond — Lursen (26-yard reception from Andrew Gibb), 2:44 left in first. Lursen kick.
Mason City Newman — Austin Eickenrod (1-yard run), 9:03 left in second. Caden Kratz kick.
Mason City Newman — Ben Jacobs (5-yard run), 5:11 left in third. Kick failed.
St. Edmond — Gibb (2-yard run), 3:19 left in third. Kick failed.
Mason City Newman — Josh Fitzgerald (24-yard run), 4:57 left in fourth. Kratz to Fitzgerald conversion.
Mason City Newman — Fitzgerald (82-yard interception return), 1:05 left in fourth. Kratz kick.
Rushing — St. Edmond: Andrew Gibb 7-60, Cade Naughton 11-51, Charlie Shelly 14-37, Isaac Lursen 1-(minus-2), Team 1-(minus-9). Mason City Newman: Ben Jacobs 26-118, Josh Fitzgerald 13-80, Jace Leininger 2-13, John Fitzsimmons 1-5, Austin Eckenrod 2-4, Team 2-(minus-7).
Passing — St. Edmond: Andrew Gibb 12-27-1-196. Mason City Newman: Austin Eckenrod 8-17-0-71, Merritt McCardle 2-2-0-19.
Receiving — St. Edmond: Isaac Lursen 8-177, Elijah Litwiller 1-10, Jake Rossow 2-8, Cade Naughton 1-4, Charlie Shelly 1-(minus-3). Mason City Newman: Ian Holmgaard 3-37, Josh Fitzgerald 3-18, Ben Jacobs 2-15, Jace Leininger 1-10, Kyle Armour 1-10.