Gaels host Sioux Central

With two games remaining in the season, St. Edmond is still holding out hope of a berth in the postseason.

For that to happen, the Gaels will need to defend their home turf Friday night vs. Sioux Central.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. inside Dodger Stadium.

At the moment, fourth-ranked Bishop Garrigan sits atop Class A, District 2 with a 5-0 record. The Rebels are a game back at 4-1, with St. Edmond (3-4 overall, 3-2 in district), Hartley-HMS and Ridge View all tied for third.

Bishop Garrigan (7-0) heads to Hartley-HMS (4-3) this evening, with Ridge View hosting MMCRU. Next week, the Gaels travel to meet the Golden Bears.

So, to say there is plenty to play for would be an understatement, especially when you factor in this week being Senior Night.

“We’ve talked to the kids and they know this is a big week,” SEHS head coach Jon Borer said. “But we have to worry about what happens with us before we can worry about anybody else. If we don’t come out Friday and take care of our business, nothing else matters.

“I’m a firm believer in taking it one game at a time and this is exactly that kind of situation we need to be in.”

St. Edmond will finish out this year, though, minus starting quarterback Andrew Gibb. The junior suffered a thumb injury last Friday in a 12-0 win over North Union. He finishes his year 65 of 142 for 875 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions.

Replacing Gibb will be classmate Elijah Litwiller, who was in a dead-heat for the starting job this summer. Litwiller is 4 of 7 passing for 132 yards on the year, all of which came last week after Gibb went out with the injury.

“Elijah was a starting wide receiver so he knows all the routes and what we are trying to do on offense,” Borer said. “He has handled the change well and is very open to understanding what he can do to help the team. The kids have rallied around him.”

Gibb is the second key piece to see his season come to an end early, as sophomore running back Charlie Shelly was lost after the Hartley-HMS game. Gibb actually replaced Shelly on defense at safety, a spot where Daniel Dooley will now occupy.

Jack Rasmussen currently ranks fourth in the state in tackles, recording 82 stops. The senior linebacker led all Iowa players last year with 125 tackles, giving him 221 tackles in his SEHS career.

Sean Flaherty, Peyton Spangler, Sean Newell and Jackson Bemrich have all recorded at least 30 tackles, with the Gaels forcing 10 turnovers.

“The effort our defense has goes back to the heart of these kids,” Borer said. “Early in the season, we were trying to figure ourselves out. Once we did that, we’ve really put together great plans and executed well on that side of the ball.”

Sioux Central has won four in a row since a 32-6 loss to Bishop Garrigan in the first week of district play. That includes a 28-21 triumph over Hartley-HMS last Friday and double-digit wins vs. MMCRU, South O’Brien and Ridge View.

Ben Hargens has rushed for 1,199 yards and scored 11 touchdowns, with Jacob Gasperi adding 419 and three scores. Quarterback Jake Hanson has completed 13 of 39 for 142 yards and two scores, adding another 216 and six touchdowns on the ground.

Hargens has surpassed the 100-yard mark in all five Sioux Central wins this year, including a 34-carry, 272-yard performance vs. MMCRU. The junior also ran for 227 vs. Ridge View.

The Rebel defense has forced seven turnovers, with Caden Krager leading the defense with 47.5 tackles. Prestan Samson and Carter Beckman each have over 40 stops.

Last year, St. Edmond picked up a 9-6 win in Sioux Rapids vs. the Rebels despite recording just 83 yards of total offense.

Prior to the start of the game, seniors Isaac Lursen, Rasmussen, Jacob Galles, Cade Naughton, Ty Smith, Gabe Rodenberg, Flaherty and Dooley will all be honored, along with senior members of the cross country and cheerleading teams.

“We’ve got a great group of seniors who have put in a lot of time both over the summer and during the season,” Borer said. “They have been good leaders and I’m really proud of how they have embraced the change we brought to the program.”