Matt Dillon asked to see heart, trust and belief in one another from his St. Edmond football team Friday night.
The Gaels delivered on all three.
Drew Schaeffer found Ethan Lursen for a 21-yard touchdown pass as St. Edmond rallied for an 18-14 victory over North Union here inside Dodger Stadium.
The win set off a wild celebration for the Gaels (1-1 overall), much like last season when Schaeffer hit Kase Baker to complete a victory over Manson Northwest Webster on this very same field.
“We talked at halftime that we had to have some heart, we had to trust in one another and we had to believe in one another,” Dillon said. “The kids never wavered and on that last (game-winning) drive, they showed all of that and more.
“So much of it reminded me of that Manson game last year. The students got to share in the success and that is what it’s all about, that school spirit.”
Schaeffer, who battled through an injury to his hand suffered in the first half, completed all seven of his pass attempts over the final 24 minutes. The junior was 8-for-10 for 135 yards and two touchdowns, adding 20 yards on the ground.
“The emotion was unreal,” Schaeffer said. “Everyone was so excited as we marched down the field for that final drive. There’s nothing better than a full team effort and ending in a stunning win.”
St. Edmond opened the game with a 55-yard touchdown strike from Schaeffer to Baker on the very first play from scrimmage. Shortly there after, Schaeffer was forced out for a play due to the injury.
“It set me back throwing the ball for a while, but my teammates picked me up and had more confidence in me than I had in myself,” he said. “This win goes out to the whole team, a week of preparation and a well fought game by North Union. They are one heck of a team, but we rose to the occasion and luckily had the ball to end the game.
“There is nothing better than a win like that.”
Baker, who helped the Gaels to a pair of state track titles this past spring, showed off his sprinter speed by darting down the sidelines on his first touchdown. Later, he proved his toughness as a running back, bullying through several would-be tacklers for a fourth quarter score that made it 12-0.
“It was a crazy game,” said Baker, who had 128 yards from scrimmage. “(North Union) played a really good game, but at the end of the day, we had more heart. I’m proud of our team and the way we played.
“I thought Drew threw the ball well and everyone played their hearts out.”
North Union, which was coming off a 26-6 victory last week over Central Springs, had four drives stall inside the SEHS 15 in the first half. Ryan Lang ran for 133 yards, but the junior was forced to the sidelines with an injury late in the contest.
Noah Morphew completed 16 of 36 passes for 181 yards, including a pair of TD strikes in the fourth to Brendan Anderson. The second, a 34-yard completion, gave the Warriors a 14-12 lead with 1:19 left on the clock.
“I was happy with our defense stepping up in hard times and putting up multiple stops in the red zone,” said Sean Flattery, who ran for 60 yards and had a sack. “Our offense was able to step up in the last couple of minutes. Drew, Kase and Parker Oswald (who had four key catches late) all had career games.
“I’m just proud of everyone.”
Schaeffer and Baker both picked off passes, with Nick Lawler, John Nemmers and Lursen recording sacks.
St. Edmond returns to the road next Friday, heading to Eagle Grove. North Union welcomes MMCRU to Armstrong.
First Downs 12 20
Rushes-Yards 38-128 35-113
Passing 135 181
Comp-Att-Int 8-11-0 16-36-2
Total Offense 263 294
Punts-Avg. 6-36.7 3-30.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 9-90 6-60
St. Edmond 6 0 0 12– 18
North Union 0 0 0 14–14
St. Edmond — Kase Baker (55-yard pass from Drew Schaeffer), 10:21 left in first. Kick failed.
St. Edmond — Baker (4-yard run), 7:04 left in fourth. Conversion failed.
North Union — Brendan Anderson (15-yard pass from Noah Morphew), 2:05 left in fourth. Conversion failed.
North Union — Anderson (34-yard pass from Morphew), 1:19 left in fourth. Morphew-to-Robert Ortman conversion.
St. Edmond — Ethan Lursen (21-yard pass from Schaeffer), :32 left in fourth. Conversion failed.
Rushing — St. Edmond: Kase Baker 15-63, Sean Flattery 17-60, Drew Schaeffer 4-20, Team 2-(minus-15). North Union: Ryan Lang 27-133, Brendan Anderson 1-5, Noah Morphew 6-(minus-8), Team 1-(minus-17).
Passing — St. Edmond: Drew Schaeffer 8-10-0-135, Devon Wirtz 0-1-0-0. North Union: Noah Morphew 16-36-2-181.
Receiving — St. Edmond: Kase Baker 2-65, Parker Oswald 4-33, Ethan Lursen 1-21, Jackson Bemrich 1-18. North Union: Brendan Anderson 8-110, Robert Ortman 4-43, Braden Pierce 3-17, Jacob Bollinger 1-11.