Gaels take on the defending champs

No. 5 Remsen St. Mary’s visits

The St. Edmond football team has faced several challenges during their first four weeks of eight-player action.

Now, the Gaels face their biggest test to date when they welcome in defending state champion Remsen St. Mary’s.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday night inside Dodger Stadium.

The fifth-ranked Hawks (4-0) stretched their overall win streak to 16 with a 57-26 victory over Kingsley-Pierson last week. They have had no trouble this year, outscoring Harris-Lake Park, River Valley and Siouxland Christian by a combined score of 173-15.

“We know we have a physical, athletic team with a variety of options on offense coming in to play us,” SEHS head coach Matt Dillon said. “They can hang 70 on people without much trouble. And on defense, they fly to the ball and make plays.

“Basically they make you beat them and it hasn’t happened in a long time.”

Remsen St. Mary’s is best remembered for its semifinal round inside the UNI-Dome last November when they scored 72 points in the second half to top Montezuma, 108-94. They went on to down Fremont-Mills, 48-0, for the title.

Several of the key names from that team have graduated including all-staters Blaine Harpenau and Jeremy Koenck. The two were key pieces to an offense that ran for 3,479 yards and scored 57 touchdowns.

Cael Ortmann has replaced Harpenau at quarterback, throwing for 537 yards and eight touchdowns with 223 yards and seven scores on the ground. Brenden Fisch is the new lead back, racking up 274 yards and five TDs.

Alex Schroeder has 224 yards and five rushing TDs, with freshman Keaton Harpenau adding 144.

The defense for the Hawks has forced 11 turnovers, including eight interceptions. They also have four sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

Since a 3-6 campaign in 2015, Remsen St. Mary’s has posted five consecutive winning seasons, going 50-8 during that stretch.

“They have created a culture that everybody has bought into,” Dillon said. “The kids are invested, as are the parents, and just about every boy in the school appears to be out for football.

“They graduated a really good senior class, but I don’t see any drop off in terms of talent comparing last year to this year.”

Making his first start at quarterback last week for the Gaels (1-3), sophomore JT Laufersweiler threw for 241 yards with a pair of touchdowns, adding 56 yards and a score on the ground.

“JT has had a really good week,” Dillon said. “We’ve just got to do a better job of keeping him standing and giving him time in the pocket.”

Isaac Landwehr caught seven passes for 122 and a score, Johnny Dickerson had five receptions for 45 and a TD, and Quinten McCarville had five for 74.

Landwehr leads the receiving group with 347 yards and five touchdowns. McCarville has caught a team-high 19 passes for 253 and three scores, with Dickerson adding 208 and two touchdowns.

Tyler Rossmanith has 251 yards rushing on the ground.

St. Edmond had four turnovers against Harris-Lake Park in a 42-28 loss.

“We can’t turn the ball over,” Dillon said. “This is a team (Remsen St. Mary’s) that you can’t give good field position to. Also, we’ve got to run the ball. We’ve been working hard to get that figured out in practice.”


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